Cartoonists and when they should quit

“Mistakes were made” from Life in Hell reminded me of how that strip devolved into “All Akbar and Jeff, All the Time” in its final days, to the point that it wasn’t funny anymore. It seems that Groening just phoned it in for its final year or two.

As much as I miss Calvin and Hobbes, perhaps it was best that Watterson wound it up rather then let it go stale.

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Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are the poster children of comics which their creators decided to end at exactly the right time.

On the other hand, the revival of Bloom County has been startlingly fresh, as good as the original and far better than either Outland or Opus & Bill. Maybe sometimes cartoonists just need a long break.


Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, the original run of Bloom County and even Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo (which Watterson & Breathed have cited as a formative influence) all suggest that the best cartoonists frequently have about a decade of greatness at a stretch.

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