How Peanuts Creator Charles Schultz Helped Inspire Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson was inspired by Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz because he had once received a letter from a comic hero.

While Calvin & Hobbes ranks among the greatest comic strips of all time, creator Bill Watterson has revealed that he was inspired by another famous cartoonist, Bill Schulz of Peanuts. Watson has made no secret of citing Schulz and his work in his signature collection as one of his main inspirations. However, thanks to a letter written by Schultz himself to the young Watson, the cartoonist was motivated to start a career in comics.

In Bill Watterson's 10th Anniversary Calvin & Hobbes Book, the cartoonist reflects on what inspired him to start drawing. Watson said Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" was one of the first books he ever read, and once he saw the adventure starring Charlie Brown and Snoopy, he knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. As a fourth grader, Watson would write a letter to Schultz, the legendary cartoonist's response to the young man, which would be an important impetus to his later career.

In 1968, Charles Schultz responded to a young Bill Watson who told the creator of the Peanuts comics that he dreamed of being a cartoonist like him. Schultz wrote a letter in an envelope saying Snoopy and Charlie Brown and writing a letter to Watson. In his reply, he thanked Watson for taking the time to write him a letter. He wrote that he was "delighted to know you enjoyed the comic so much" and wished he would keep reading it for years to come. Schultz signed the letter, which resurfaced decades after it was originally sent to the founders of Calvin and Hobbes.

While Schultz was Bill Watson's main inspiration, the legendary Calvin and Hobbes creator revealed two other comic strips that were "very inspiring" to him. He lists George Herriman's Krazy Kat and Walt Kelly's Pogo as two other comic books that taught him how to write and draw comic strips. However, Charles Schultz's Peanuts was the strip that made him want to start his own comics and become a cartoonist.

While Charles Schultz's note may have had prewritten comments, since the Peanuts cartoonist probably receives thousands of letters a year and responds to all of them with the same general response, the message is clearly of interest to young Bill Watson and helped spark his career as a cartoonist. However, it is unlikely that Schultz knew he was writing back to a One day he will produce work as influential as his comic strips with Calvin & Hobbes.

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