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Watterson’s ‘Pearls Before Swine’ strips will be on view in Charlotte

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/11/16/54/zeBmS.Em.138.jpeg|222
    C.H. PETE COPELAND - PLAIN DEALER
    Bill Watterson, creator of the syndicated cartoon strip "Calvin & Hobbes" is shown in this 1986 photo at his home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/11/16/54/14ncoP.Em.138.jpeg|120
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    The June 11 “Pearls Before Swine” comic included a panel by Bill Watterson.

“Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson says he made a brief, unannounced return to newspaper cartooning to raise money for a good cause – and because he thought it would be funny.

Watterson collaborated with “Pearls Before Swine” cartoonist Stephan Pastis on three strips that ran last week. The strips made fun of Pastis’ drawing ability, and Watterson drew one panel in each. It was the first time his art has appeared in papers since “Calvin and Hobbes” ended in 1995.

The reclusive Watterson, who lives in Ohio, told The Washington Post he joined with Pastis to raise money for Team Cul de Sac, a charity co-founded by cartoonist Richard Thompson that raises money to fight Parkinson’s disease. Thompson suffers from Parkinson’s.

The three strips will be auctioned, with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The strips will be on view at the HeroesCon June 20-22 at the Charlotte Convention Center. A panel discussion about Bill Watterson and “Cul de Sac” is June 20.

“Several years ago, when Stephan did one of his strips that mocked his own drawing ability and mentioned my strip in comparison, I thought it might be funny for me to ghost ‘Pearls’ sometime, just to flip it all on its head,” Watterson said. “It was just a silly idea, and I didn’t know Stephan, so I never pursued it, and years went by.”

The idea resurfaced, Watterson said, after Pastis visited Cleveland on a book tour and the charity was looking for ways to raise money.

Pastis and Watterson did not disclose their collaboration until after the strips had run, leaving “Calvin and Hobbes” fans to speculate about Watterson’s involvement. Pastis paid tribute to the final “Calvin and Hobbes” strip in Saturday’s panels.

“I thought maybe Stephan and I could do this goofy collaboration and then use the result to raise money for Parkinson’s research in honor of Richard Thompson,” Watterson said. “It just seemed like a perfect convergence.”

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