I spent years sending submissions to syndicates in my early 20s and still have the rejection letters somewhere.I eventually realised it was a fool’s dream (also, my work was nowhere near good enough) and decided webcomics was the place to be.The layout was restrictive and the top tier had to be completely disposable because a lot of newspapers would cut it and only run the bottom two tiers in order to save space so they could cram in as many comics (or puzzles, or ads) as they could.Watterson was sick of the format restraints and wanted more space to experiment and push his storytelling ability so he (with his syndicate’s support) gave newspaper editors a ballsy proposition.If I could not control what my own work was about and stood for, then cartooning meant very little to me.” • Luckily Watterson didn’t quit and took a sabbatical instead.
Previously, the Sunday strip was comprised of three tiers of panels and looked like this.
I was hooked, and I remember copying Watterson’s drawings relentlessly as a kid (Calvin’s hair was always the hardest to get right).
To me, is cartooning perfection – that rare strip that has both exquisite writing AND gorgeous artwork.
Despite fearing many cancellations, he was pleasantly surprised that most newspapers supported the change.
Free of the shackles of tiers and panel restrictions, Watterson gave us visually exciting and beautiful strips that hadn’t been since the glory days of newspaper comics in the 1920s and 30s.