Conspiracy Alert - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
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: scared
Even the SIGNATURE is reminiscent of Watterson. The artistic style screams it loud.
Jesus Hector Christ, how X-Files.
He sells Frazz merchandise
-- something Watterson has always refused to do with his characters.
What about all those stickers of Calvin peeing on something?
Weird. Eerie. Why hide it I wonder? And surely he could think of a better psudonym.
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 01:51 pm (UTC)|| |
If you rearrange the letters in the name "Jef Mallett" you get "Bill Watterson".
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 01:58 pm (UTC)|| |
If it isn't him, whoever it is, is in for a massive lawsuit.
I've often noted strong resemblances between Committed and Berke Breathed's style as well.
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"?
I'm an editor. What do you think?
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.
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
Richard Bachmann had a picture, too. The conspiracy is out there.
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.
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 03:34 pm (UTC)|| |
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.
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.
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.
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)|| |
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.
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.
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: A quick comparison
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."
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC)|| |
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.
I think I'm with you.
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 OverviewFAQ's for Jef Mallett
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.
All been discussed elsewhere. Especially the difference in art.
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
Freaky! But I'm thrilled because I've been going through the archives and he's right! It's Watterson's humor, too!
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC)|| |
Thank Eric for the intro to it. That's great!
Watch out Slashdot Effect, here comes The TheFerret Effect!
|Date:||April 13th, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC)|| |
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.
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.
Wow- at the very least, he ganked some of Watterson's worldview by osmosis, a la Berke Breathed and Doonesbury.
|Date:||April 16th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)|| |
Link to explanation
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".
|Date:||April 16th, 2004 10:26 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Link to explanation
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*
|Date:||May 13th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC)|| |
He's not Bill Watterson...
...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!
|Date:||May 17th, 2004 03:05 pm (UTC)|| |
Just saw this...
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.