If you’ve been reading “Pearls Before Swine” and found the artwork in this week’s strips strangely familiar looking, stop wondering—it’s true: Bill Watterson of “Calvin and Hobbes” fame has come out of his retirement (and J.D. Salinger-like reclusiveness) to draw portions of several strips for Stephan Pastis’ “Pearls Before Swine.” This has been Watterson’s first newspaper comics work to appear since “Calvin and Hobbes” ended in 1995, though he recently drew a poster for the newspaper comic strip documentary “Stripped.”
Pastis wrote on his blog an extensive look at what the creation of these strips was like, as well as working with Watterson himself.
As for the strips themselves, the set-up plays on (in-universe) Pastis’ constantly being slammed as an awful writer/artist, with a neighbor’s little girl trying her hand at drawing a few “Pearls” strips… which come out looking very Watterson-like.
The entire storyline may be read here: Monday; Tuesday; Wednesday; Thursday; Friday; Saturday. The Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday strips contain Watterson’s work. I recall the “lack of space” punchline as one criticism Watterson had of newspaper comics.