It’s been 28 years since the last Calvin and Hobbes panels appeared in newspapers, but interest in the comic strip by Bill Watterson remains high. Proof: Two original dailies by Watterson just went for astonishing sums at auction.
Heritage Auctions held a comics art sale June 26 featuring a variety of original works by comic strip and comic book artists. The highlight for Watterson fans was undoubtedly two Calvin and Hobbes originals. One, which ran March 28, 1986, and features hyperactive Calvin going for a new look with sunglasses, fetched $174,000.
A second strip, this one from December 30, 1987, features Calvin engaging in what would become a signature: using snow to antagonize his father. It sold for $156,000.
Both works are inscribed with “best wishes,” indicating they were likely gifts from Watterson to their recipients. And while both secured impressive sums, a Watterson-colored Sunday strip remains the most coveted: One sold for $480,000 in 2022.
The priciest sale at the auction was Dark Kingdom, by renowned fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. That painted work closed at $6 million, a new record for comic or fantasy art.
Watterson appears to be getting into the fantasy field himself. His first new major work since Calvin and Hobbes ended in 1995 is The Mysteries, a 72-page collaboration with artist John Kascht that’s due for release in October and is being described as “an illustrated fable for grown-ups.”