?

Log in

Conspiracy Alert - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
April 13th, 2004
09:36 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Conspiracy Alert
Eric Meyer whispered the words to me across a quiet dinner table:

"I'm pretty sure that this comic is secretly drawn by Bill Watterson under a pseudonym," he said, then looked to both sides to check for secret agents. "The main character is a school janitor that looks a lot like a fully-grown Calvin. The humor? Veeery Watterson-like. And the drawing isn't bad, either."

"So you think that Bill's secretly out of retirement?" I asked.

"Keep it down!" Eric shouted, waving me off. "Look, I don't know," he admitted. "But I'm pretty sure it's him. I mean, who else could it be?"

"Well, what's the name of the comic?"

He slid a brown dossier across the table towards me. "It's in there," he said. "The truth is in there."

I've been reading the comic for a month now. It's funny. And I can't quite say that Eric's not wrong.

Current Mood: scaredscared

(58 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:scouseboy
Date:April 13th, 2004 01:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Even the SIGNATURE is reminiscent of Watterson. The artistic style screams it loud.

Jesus Hector Christ, how X-Files.
[User Picture]
From:allah_sulu
Date:April 13th, 2004 01:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
He sells Frazz merchandise -- something Watterson has always refused to do with his characters.
[User Picture]
From:rhapsody_98
Date:April 13th, 2004 01:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
What about all those stickers of Calvin peeing on something?
[User Picture]
From:rhapsody_98
Date:April 13th, 2004 01:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Weird. Eerie. Why hide it I wonder? And surely he could think of a better psudonym.
[User Picture]
From:joxn
Date:April 13th, 2004 01:51 pm (UTC)
(Link)
If you rearrange the letters in the name "Jef Mallett" you get "Bill Watterson".
[User Picture]
From:xforge
Date:April 13th, 2004 01:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
If it isn't him, whoever it is, is in for a massive lawsuit.
[User Picture]
From:allah_sulu
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I've often noted strong resemblances between Committed and Berke Breathed's style as well.
[User Picture]
From:gentlemaitresse
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
And I can't quite say that Eric's not wrong.

Do you realize that you just said, "I can't quite say that Eric's right"?

[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:05 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm an editor. What do you think?
[User Picture]
From:pkthunder
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The relationship between Frazz and Caulfield mirrors Hobbes' and Calvin's. Frazz being Hobbes. They're both the taller half. And are often the voice of reason.
[User Picture]
From:xinamarie
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I wrote an e-mail to Jef Mallett a few years ago to compliment him on a particular strip that day, and got a lovely response back. Whether it's Watterson or not, I couldn't say. But he's a very nice man. AND he's a Bryson fan, too!

Hey, here's a picture.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 15th, 2004 01:45 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Richard Bachmann had a picture, too. The conspiracy is out there.
[User Picture]
From:purplkat
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I've read interviews with this guy, and from the interviews, it's not Watterson. He did note that the similarity between his comic and Calvin and Hobbes has been pointed out to him, but that it's not something he intended (yeah right).

Of course, the interviews WERE done over the internet, so that none of the people in the chat could SEE him. It's entirely possible that he's putting on a huuuuuge charade to hide his true identity, I suppose.
From:katal
Date:April 13th, 2004 03:34 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You beat me to the same response. What's weird, though, is that I've in interviews that Watterson is a huge influence on his work.
[User Picture]
From:mister_wolf
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't think so. The style is similar, but there's a level of mastery that Waterson has that simply isn't in this stip. The anatomy is crude, the backgrounds are non-existant and not very compelling when they are there, the range of expressions on the faces is very limited, even the line quality is weak, nothing at all like Waterson's beautiful brushwork. And keep in mind that I've been lead to understand that Waterson has been pursuing painting since he retired; his work would only have improved.

Sorry, but I don't think this is Waterson. A modestly skilled imitator, at best.
[User Picture]
From:temujin9
Date:April 13th, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Waterson loved using elaborate watercolors for his Sunday pieces, part of what drew me into Calvin and Hobbes. Frazz, while funny, has very bland Sunday strips.

Its more likely a very sincere flattery of Waterson than him in psuedonym.
[User Picture]
From:unwilly
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Lots of Waterson and Breathed conspiracies around.

I often thought that Over the Hedge looked like a W&B collaboration.

Frazz does look like a Calvin/Hobbes morph.
[User Picture]
From:sneakingyoda
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:38 pm (UTC)

A quick comparison

(Link)
Bill


Not Bill


The ink work alone should be enough, on careful inspection, to know two different hands had a making in each of these comics. I could go into it, but if you look long enough you can tell it's two separate artists. Though it should be said, that the second artist is doing nothing wrong with having a style simular to Bill's. If anything, it's flattery.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)

Re: A quick comparison

(Link)
Of course, that assumes that Watterson isn't simply dumbing it down for the masses. Remember, Watterson repeatedly complained about the size of the strip and that he wanted more room to show off his art; if he really was drawing for a different medium, it's entirely possible that he's drawing for the size he expects to see it in, which is to say reduced about 50% from what you show here.

*cue Twilight Zone music*

"Back... And to the left."
[User Picture]
From:chipuni
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC)
(Link)
According to this overview of Bill Watterson, they're not the same person... maybe.

I'm not convinced. Especially after this comic. It's bicycling, instead of jogging, but it's otherwise mixing so many standards from Calvin and Hobbes that it's eerie.
From:lousy_timing
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:58 pm (UTC)

I think I'm with you.

(Link)
There are some striking similarities, and it's fun to wonder about it. Great article for inspiring thought and research!

I will say that there are things in what I found about Watterson that I could not find out about Mallett, such as date of birth. Mallett has a photo of him available, Watterson does not...

My favorite two finds:

Bill Watterson Overview

FAQ's for Jef Mallett
[User Picture]
From:blergeatkitty
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:57 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I think the style is definitely informed by Watterson, but two things have me convinced it's not really him:

1. As mentioned above, you can buy Frazz merchandise. Watterson would never authorize that.

2. The backgrounds on most of these strips are really sparse, whereas Watterson used to go wild with his spacescapes and forest scenes. He'd never leave out those kinds of details if he could find a way to put them in. Something like this strip would have lamps and tables and picture frames and trees and mailboxes all over it if it were a Watterson strip. This is way too minimalist.

Also, the ink is too heavy and the lettering too round, though if I were Watterson I'd probably change-up details like that just to make it interesting. But I wouldn't be able to be that sparse with background detail. I just wouldn't.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 15th, 2004 01:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
All been discussed elsewhere. Especially the difference in art.
[User Picture]
From:jade1026
Date:April 13th, 2004 02:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Wow...

That's a pretty good comic. I believe I shall start reading it more. Thank you for the introduction to it.

All I can say is, he's right. He does look like an adult Calvin.b
[User Picture]
From:crystalrowan
Date:April 13th, 2004 03:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Freaky! But I'm thrilled because I've been going through the archives and he's right! It's Watterson's humor, too!
[User Picture]
From:nuala
Date:April 13th, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thank Eric for the intro to it. That's great!
[User Picture]
From:elf_inside
Date:April 13th, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Watch out Slashdot Effect, here comes The TheFerret Effect!
[User Picture]
From:astute1
Date:April 13th, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC)
(Link)
If that isn't him, it's amazingly similar. The artwork is close to the same, the lettering and signature are close to the same, and even the humor is right on. I think it's pretty great.
[User Picture]
From:donkey_hokey
Date:April 13th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hmm.. If that's not Mr. Watterson with a pseudonym, then the artist is somehow channelling him. The humor and artistic style are very much alike. The style has definitely been simplified from the original, but that makes it easier to read if it's printed small (like it usually is in most newspapers). Besides, if the artist was truly trying to copy the original Calvin and Hobbes, wouldn't the drawings be more complex?

Thanks for posting this; I'm adding it to my morning webfix. It doesn't matter whether or not the artist *is* Bill Watterson; it's still a funny comic strip and worthwhile in its own right.
[User Picture]
From:coyotegoth
Date:April 13th, 2004 08:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Wow- at the very least, he ganked some of Watterson's worldview by osmosis, a la Berke Breathed and Doonesbury.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 16th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)

Link to explanation

(Link)
I was believing the conspiracy theory until I decided to use google.

:-)

Bill Watterson is not Jef Mallet according to this article, and the Calvin stickers are "counterfeit".

http://www.clevescene.com/issues/2003-11-26/feature.html
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:April 16th, 2004 10:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Link to explanation

(Link)
You mean the exact same article that Eric referenced in his post on it, and in fact used it as evidence for the conspiracy?

There's Google, man, and then there's clickin' the link. *G*
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 13th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC)

He's not Bill Watterson...

(Link)
...but he's extremely flattered by the comparisons and conspiracy theories. And if they're getting you to read his comic strip, we're both in favor of them.

I'm married to Jef Mallett. Jef's not an actor hired by United Media to play Bill Watterson. He's a cartoonist, and a pretty good one, although one who wishes now that he had considered putting a different hairstyle on Frazz.

Please keep reading!

Patty Mallett


From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 17th, 2004 03:05 pm (UTC)

Just saw this...

(Link)
http://www.lansingnoise.com/stories/people/040512_Jef_Mallett.html
From:laladien
Date:October 8th, 2004 08:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ok, the first pic is of Bill Watterson. I've added a small pic of Jef Mallet next to him, using the same angle. Looks similar, eh?



I've added a mustache to Mallet this time.



Now seriously... this is the same guy.
The Ferrett's Domain Powered by LiveJournal.com