Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CalvinBall Club (aka: Sorry my April Fool's joke disappointed so many people)

Okay! So this is my formal apology to everyone who got legit disappointed when they found out that my Calvin and Hobbes job was just an April Fool's prank.

I stayed up, literally all night (until the sun came up) discussing plans with a few close friends for the perfect prank to pull on facebook. I'm far too lazy to come up with an actual prank on someone, but I think of myself as gifted enough with my words to talk up a fake event enough to make it sound real.

Doing my best to avoid all the normal cliches of facebook pranks (ie: I'm pregnant  I'm getting married, I'm moving away, I got a tattoo, etc...), I finally targeted my comics as the center of this rouse. An early version of the prank involved me announcing to my readership that I was abandoning Shootin' Jed and all other current projects to pursue a job for a youth minister organization to create a Christianity based super hero called Bible Man! Much to my chagrin, I discovered that Bible Man already exists! THEN I saw a random facebook post from a friend, putting a picture of Hobbes next to a picture of Tyler Durden (imaginary friend, I get it...) and the idea flourished from there.

I just never imagined it would pick up this much traction...

For the lucky ones who didn't get fooled, here's the post I put up yesterday morning:

"So I didn't wanna say anything too early, because #1. it was a longshot to begin with, and #2. I didn't want to jinx it. But as many of you know, I've been job hunting. Well today, a position I had been vying for seems like it's becoming a reality! :D
I've been in contact with Bill Watterson over this past month and a half, in negotiations for a revival of Calvin and Hobbes. He's in search of an artist who he thought could bridge the gap between Calvin and Hobbes' heyday in the newspapers 18 years ago, and current modern comic culture. Finally, after a lot of deliberation (and ass kissing on my part), I was the artist chosen.
Starting next month, I will be co-writing and co-producing a series of 52 NEW full colour Calvin and Hobbes strips to be released on Bill's new website, currently in the works (http://ww2.billwatterson.net/) with a printed collection due to be released the following year.

Now, naturally, since I'm helping to spearhead this campaign, there will be a few changes made to the strip. We can't just have the same old characters doing the same old stories they were doing 18 years ago, that would be insulting to the reader. I am not at liberty to divulge TOO many details, but I'll say the focus of the strip is changing quite a deal.
It's less about Calvin's relationship with Hobbes, and more about Hobbes' relationship with his own imaginary friend Ozmodiar, who only Hobbes can see.
Ozmodiar really brings out Hobbes' destructive side, and since everyone in Calvin's world believes Hobbes to be a stuffed animal, Calvin is continuously blamed for Hobbes' bad behavior.
I've included a preliminary sketch, as a teaser. Please note, none of this is final work, it will be cleaned up considerably before it debuts on the website.

Hope you guys are as excited as I am! :D"

At the time I was doing it, I didn't want to take the extra time out to create some original C&H art to attach to the post, but I didn't want to use anything instantly recognizable as recycled art, either.
With a quick internet search, I found an awesome page that has collected and compiled a decent handful of rare and unpublished works by Watterson. I made a quick edit to a cartoon he drew in a letter to Berkeley Breathed (author of Bloom County) to add some extra authenticity to my little prank.

I should have known better :P
I figured it was outlandish enough to be totally unbelievable, no matter HOW professional sounding it was. Watterson's been retried and in recluse ever since the strip ended. I've only known of ONE interview post C&H that anyone managed to get from him, and it was very clear by his tone, despite how loyal and desperate the fans are for more, Bill has absolutely NO plans to ever revive the pair in any form.
So the idea that someone of his artistic stature would hire a nobody like me to revive his magnum opus FOR him, let alone fuck around with the character dynamics and story focus seems just absurd enough for my facebook fans to see it, read it and go "pfft, Happy April Fool's Day, Knave".
Granted, some of you did react exactly that way, and good for you :D
However, within minutes of me posting... i got a text from a friend :P
I won't bore you with the details verbatim, but the text consisted of "Is this true? I'm gonna be pissed if it's not!"
That wasn't the first text message, or email, or facebook reply I received that day form peeps whom i somehow managed to legitimately fool.
I even went out and about that night to my favourite goth bar, and the bartender approached me and said "I heard about you landing the Calvin and Hobbes job! Congratulations are in order!" and I had to break the bad news to him that it was a joke, and he looked like I just punched him in the heart. :(

So, in light of these events, I feel an apology is in order.
I am really, really flattered that all you guys just jumped on board, totally believing that I have what it takes to take on one of the most respected (and feared) comics of all time. You guys are the best, and I feel bad for fooling you all so hard.
Please accept this token of my apology. This is probably what would wind up happening if I DID take over Calvin and Hobbes.
Yeah, you think it's cool now, but it would get boring after awhile :P I have literally NO other ideas.

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