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After high-school football stars were accused of rape, online vigilantes demanded that justice be served. Shortly after Calvin and Hobbes ended, Watterson took up painting, spending time creating landscapes of Ohio woods with his father. He studied a variety of artists, from the expressionist Willem de Kooning to the Italian Renaissance master Titian, according to Nevin Martell’s book Looking for Calvin and Hobbes. It sounded like fun and maybe something people wouldn’t expect, so I decided to give it a try,” Watterson told The Washington Post. “Dave sent me a rough cut of the film, and I dusted the cobwebs off my ink bottle.”
It’s a rare new release for the famously private artist. Watterson has largely kept out of the public eye since ending Calvin and Hobbes’ 10-year run in 1995. Described by The Washington Post as “the J.D. Salinger of the strips,” Watterson gives few interviews, rarely releases new artwork publicly, and made Time ’s list of most reclusive celebrities. Bob is someone who sings all the time,” Senator Robert Menendez’s wife, Nadine, told the Times in 2021. “He sings every morning, every night, and in-between while he smokes his after-dinner cigar.” Menendez, the senior senator from New Jersey, chose to sing “Never Enough,” the anthem from the P. T. Barnum bio-pic “The Greatest Showman,” when he proposed to Nadine in front of the Taj Mahal. A video of the moment is the sole post on the couple’s public YouTube channel. The Senator stands behind his soon-to-be wife, a leg propped on the bench where she sits, one hand holding hers while the other points toward the heavens. “All the stars we steal from the night sky,” he sings, in a sonorous tenor, “will never be enough for me.” The Senator, who sings in both English and Spanish, has performed in a variety of venues. During a 2019 Univision interview at a restaurant in Union City, he launched into “El Son Se Fue de Cuba,” a ballad about music leaving his parents’ birthplace. Two years later, in the Senate chamber, he sang “Happy Birthday” to Maryland’s senior senator, Ben Cardin, before questioning State Department nominees. “Senator Menendez’s Senate career is his second career,” Cardin noted afterward. (Recently, Cardin has advised Menendez’s critics to “allow the legal process to move forward.” In a show of bipartisanship, Congressman George Santos agreed.)Charles Schulz, seen here in 1962, created Charlie Brown, among his Peanuts characters. Getty Images But Watterson declined to publicly exhibit his work, telling Mental Floss: “I don’t paint ambitiously. It’s all catch and release: just tiny fish that aren’t really worth the trouble to clean and cook.” In fact, Martell described a rumor that Watterson was such a perfectionist that he burned his first 500 paintings because he felt they weren’t up to his standards.
Watterson has partnered with caricaturist John Kascht on The Mysteries, which released Tuesday. Described as a “fable for grown-ups” about “what lies beyond human understanding,” it tells the story of a long-ago kingdom afflicted with “unexplainable calamities,” prompting the king to dispatch his knights to investigate. Watterson unveiled one of his paintings to the public for the first time in 2011, and the subject was an unusual one: an oil portrait of Petey Otterloop, an 8-year-old character from the comic strip Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson. Federal prosecutors allege that Menendez, the Democrat who formerly chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and his wife, who has also been indicted, received around half a million dollars in cash, along with some gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, in exchange for acting on behalf of the government of Egypt. Between 2018 and 2022, the Senator reportedly provided “sensitive, non-public” U.S. government information to Egyptian officials; one key player apparently referred to Menendez as “our man.” Prosecutors say that after a visit to Egypt, in 2021, Menendez Googled “How much is one kilo of gold worth?”In June 2014, three strips from the Pearl Before Swine comic featured its artist Stephan Pastis being schooled by a second-grader on how to properly draw. The child’s drawings were a different style than Pastis’ normal work, and it was later revealed that Watterson had been the one behind them.