Dear Mr. Watterson

Dear Mr. Watterson is a 2013 American documentary film directed by Joel Allen Schroeder, produced by Christopher Browne and Matt McUsic, with Andrew P. Waruszewski as the cinematographer.[2] The film follows the career of Bill Watterson, the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, and the influence of both the author and the comic strip on the world.

Dear Mr. Watterson
Dear Mr. Watterson.jpg
The poster for Dear Mr. Watterson
Directed byJoel Allen Schroeder
Produced byChris Browne
Matt McUsic
StarringSeth Green
Berkeley Breathed
Stephan Pastis
Music byMike Boggs
CinematographyAndrew Waruszewski
Edited byJoel Allen Schroeder
Release date
November 15, 2013
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$23,899[1]

Watterson ended the strip on December 31, 1995,[3] and since then has avoided the public eye.


The origin of Dear Mr. Watterson came from Schroeder wanting to understand the cultural impact of Bill Watterson's decade-long comic strip, so he began with a series of fan interviews in December 2007.[4]

Dear Mr. Watterson launched its first Kickstarter campaign on December 15, 2009, ending March 15, 2010. The Kickstarter raised more than 200% of the goal of $12,000. After the first fundraising campaign, the filmmakers interviewed Berkeley Breathed, Lee Salem, Stephan Pastis, Jef Mallett, Dave Kellett, Charles Solomon, Seth Green, Keith Knight, Jenny Robb, Tony Cochran, Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum), Joe Wos (Toonseum), Jean Schulz, Jan Eliot, Bill Amend, and more. In addition, a second Kickstarter campaign was launched[5] in order to fund the finishing of the project. The campaign was successfully funded July 14, 2012.

On November 21, 2012, Schroeder reported to the Kickstarter backers that they had completed the Martini Shot, which is the last take you shoot while in production on a film. In late December 2012, the crew shipped nearly 200 posters[6] to backers of their Kickstarter all over the world. The filmmakers submitted their documentary to festivals around the world, and on March 1, 2013 they announced that Dear Mr. Watterson had been accepted into the 37th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival.[7]


Dear Mr. Watterson had its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival on April 9, 2013.[8] The film had a limited release and a video on demand release on November 15, 2013.[8][9]

Influences and impactEdit

The director Joel Schroeder recalls:

At the time, I don't think we realized what it was going to become. We definitely wanted to document the impact of the strip, but then it grew into trying to answer the question of how on earth it had such impact. By digging deeper, it has become a better film.

The film began with Schroeder interviewing fans of the strip to better understand the cultural impact it had. The filmmaker did not seek to interview Watterson knowing his reclusiveness (the artist was invited to the premiere, but watched the DVD instead).[10]

In an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition, Schroeder explained that Watterson's final cartoon exemplified the strip's enduring appeal.[11] Said Schroeder, describing the panel: "It's a fresh layer of snow and Calvin and Hobbes are out with the toboggan, and Calvin looks to Hobbes and says, 'It's a magical world, old buddy ... let's go exploring.' And those last words are just, I think, a challenge to all of us to make sure that we have that curiosity. And words, I think words to live by."

The film was later parodied in an episode of Documentary Now! as "Searching for Mr. Larson", where Fred Armisen portrays a narcissistic filmmaker attempting to find The Far Side creator Gary Larson.[12]


  1. ^ "Dear Mr. Watterson (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Dear Mr. Watterson". Archived from the original on 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  3. ^ Final Calvin and Hobbes- Last Comic - by Bill Watterson for December 31, 1995-GoComics
  4. ^ Makice, Kevin (2012-07-02). "Dear Mr. Watterson Explains Why Geeks Love Calvin and Hobbes | GeekDad". Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  5. ^ Joel Schroeder (2009-12-15). "Dear Mr. Watterson - a cinematic exploration of Calvin & Hobbes by Joel Schroeder". Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  6. ^ "Poster". Archived from the original on 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  7. ^ "Dear Mr. Watterson - A Calvin & Hobbes Documentary by Joel Schroeder » Updates". Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  8. ^ a b 6. "Dear Mr. Watterson FAQ Archived 2013-09-25 at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved 2013-31-07.
  9. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (12 November 2013). ""Dear Mr. Watterson": Remembering the last great newspaper comic". Salon. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  10. ^ 'Calvin and Hobbes' Documentary and E-Books|
  11. ^ "On The Timeless Appeal Of 'Calvin & Hobbes'". NPR. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  12. ^ Upadhyaya, Kayla Kumari (13 March 2019). "Documentary Now! paints a detailed picture of an egotistical, deranged filmmaker with "Searching for Mr. Larson"". AV Club. G/O Media Inc. Retrieved 31 May 2020.

External linksEdit