Immense kudos to filmmakers Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder, whose new documentary Stripped was apparently so awesome that it coaxed the famously elusive Bill Watterson to come out of retirement and create his first cartoon (that the public has seen, anyway) since concluding his work on Calvin & Hobbes nearly 20 years ago. The piece will serve as the poster for the film, which profiles the endangered art form of newspaper comic strips in the current economic and media climates.

 

 

"In the right hands, a comic strip attains a beauty and elegance that, really, I would put against any other art," says Watterson, appearing as a disembodied voice in in the Stripped trailer, which sets up what's sure to be a fascinating discussion -- perhaps even a debate -- about the state of comic strips. There are more than enough points of view to be heard, as the film features over 90 interviews with cartoonists of all stripes -- from the world of print and the Web -- including Chris Hastings (Dr. McNinja), Anthony Clark (Nedroid), Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots), Dylan Meconis (Family Man), Kate Beaton (Hark, a Vagrant!), Greg Evans (Luann), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Jeff Smith (Bone), Jim Davis (Garfield), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (Penny Arcade), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy) and Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey).

Most auspiciously, Stripped features a new interview with Watterson himself.

Stripped is available to pre-order now on iTunes and will be available April 1 digitally and on DVD.