170: Turn Back

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Turn Back
I hear that these days Bill Watterson is happy just painting in the Ohio woods with his father and doesn't get any mail or talk to anyone.
Title text: I hear that these days Bill Watterson is happy just painting in the Ohio woods with his father and doesn't get any mail or talk to anyone.

[edit] Explanation

Calvin and Hobbes was a daily comic drawn by Bill Watterson, published between 1985 to 1995. It followed the adventures of a young boy named Calvin and his tiger, Hobbes. The frequent themes of spontaneity, beauty, and adventure that characterize many of Calvin's conversations with his friend Hobbes can also be seen in this exchange between Cueball and Megan as they explore a landscape reminiscent of Calvin's daydreams of intergalactic adventure. The cluelessness and simultaneous wonder that Cueball and Megan feel at their surrounding landscape mirror Calvin's inexperience and curiosity that he exhibits in Watterson's comic.

The title text, while unclear if it were actually true or not, reflects Mr. Watterson's reclusive nature. He has never licensed his characters for any use outside of reprints, and he stays out of the public spotlight. Thus, it is very probable that it was true at the time of this comic. The title text also serves to point out the connection between Watterson's work and this comic.

However, in more recent years, Watterson has come out of his shell a bit. He collaborated with Stephan Pastis, creator of "Pearls before Swine," to do a story arc where a second grader was a better artist than an actual cartoonist. Stephan Pastis later wrote of the experience: "I began to wonder if [Bill Watterson] even had electricity, then I remembered we were using e-mail to communicate."

[edit] Transcript

Cueball: Should we keep going?
Megan: I don't know.
Cueball: We can turn back if you want.
Megan: Look--
Megan: Did it ever occur to you that maybe I don't have a plan any more than you? Maybe just having this conversation means we're lost.
[Wide shot of the characters in a Calvin and Hobbes-esque alien landscape.]
Cueball: Kind of scary.
Megan: It's terrifying.
Cueball: This place is beautiful.
Megan: Yeah.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


I'm hoping that the little "x" denotes where Spaceman Spiff left his cloaked spacecraftSquirreltape (talk) 21:00, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

This comic reminds me the canyon in #13. Coincidence? 12:14, 10 December 2015 (UTC) 23:05, 12 October 2017 (UTC)According to his interview with Jenny Robb for the book Calvin and Hobbes: A Retrospective, Watterson has actually lived in Arizona since his hiatus in the early '90s.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?