Is Writing & Music & Art Getting Specialized to Death?

nicheartwritingmusicI just watched “Dear Mr. Watterson,” a light-hearted documentary about the impact that Bill Watterson’s ever-famous, ever-persistent comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes, has had on people over the years.

The part that gripped me most was when several prominent cartoonists spoke in extremely gloomy terms about new media.

Berkeley Breathed, the cartoonist behind Opus, Bloom County, and Outland, said that Bill Watterson had created the last great comic strip. He claims that art itself is now “atomized.”

He reasons that there’s a lot of stuff out there, but nothing that could be water-cooler conversation material, a piece of art that people – including Breathed’s mom – all know.

That made me wonder – are artists specializing their work to death? With so few filters to get through, and the freedom to only support the very, very specific, niche work we like, are we guaranteeing that no art can have the same widespread, enduring impact of something like Calvin & Hobbes?

Continue reading “Is Writing & Music & Art Getting Specialized to Death?”

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What All Writers Can Learn from Calvin & Hobbes

It’s widely accepted that Calvin & Hobbes is the best comic strip in the known world.

More than anything else, that’s because of its universal appeal. Kids, college students, and adults have all found something unique to treasure in Bill Watterson’s timeless comic strip.

I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes. As I got older and read them, something strange happened… I started seeing Calvin & Hobbes in more than one dimension.

I could understand the subtle messages of the strips, which made them even better and made me appreciate the strip even more than before.

Besides the genius of the writing and the art, Watterson is the perfect example of someone who accomplished what a lot of writers bemoan as impossible: a balance between the commercial and the artistic.

Continue reading “What All Writers Can Learn from Calvin & Hobbes”