I remember when I started following Calvin & Hobbes in the Arizona Daily Star back when they first picked the strip up around 1986 or so.

Calvin-hobbes-32-uppwyd2ye8-1024x768 I was amazed at the humor, the characters, the ideas and the beautiful art. I remember thinking that Watterson was obviously a serious player, an artist who certainly knew not only the rich history of newspaper comics but also underground work as well. Watterson's writing was hilarious, succinct, spot-on… never lazy, never sub-par. In an era where strips like Mother Goose & Grimm were being supplemented by gag writers and drawn by assistants, Watterson retained a hands-on, old school control of his work. While every decade has had its standouts… Pogo, Peanuts, Doonesbury, Bloom County, The Far Side… none of this other work is so consistently funny, imaginative or well-executed. Also, to Watterson's immense credit, he resisted all attempts of the syndicate to capitalize on his strip by refusing to license anything other than books. In a world where actual value usually takes a  very distant second place to monetary profit, this attitude is more than refreshing: it's inspirational. Would it were that artists everywhere have such integrity.