The San Francisco Book Review published this review last March 2010. It’s no longer available on their website so I’m adding it here for my archival purposes.
Nevin Martell’s Looking for Calvin and Hobbes is made of equal parts of solid research and obsessive fanboyism, akin to an unauthorized biography of the “J.D. Salinger of cartoonists.”
Publicity-shy Bill Watterson is a difficult yet sympathetic subject. The first chapters make for slow reading, but the rest of the book provides insight into the artistic challenges of cartoonists. The behind-the-scenes look at syndication and licensing sheds light on Watterson’s decision to end his award-winning series.
What’s missing most from the book, however, are Calvin and Hobbes. The lack of illustrations seems absurd. It would have been nice to see the development of Watterson’s work for oneself, and not just have it merely described.
This is essential reading for die-hard Calvin and Hobbes fans who want to stalk Watterson. Martell will give you all the reasons why you will never find the man. So instead of attempting something both discourteous and criminal, read this book instead.