Bill Watterson is returning to the publishing world for the first time since the end of Calvin and Hobbes, collaborating with caricature artist John Kascht on The Mysteries, billed as a "fable for grown-ups."
Publisher Simon & Schuster describes the book as a "mysterious and beautifully illustrated fable about what lies beyond human understanding." The story follows what happens after the king of an ancient realm sends his knights to discover the source of the kingdom's "unexplained calamities." Only one knight returns after years of searching.
A handful of preview images show that it's essentially a storybook, with a short bit of narration on one side and a large illustration on the other side of each two-page spread. The publisher says that for these illustrations, Watterson and Kascht "worked together for several years in unusually close collaboration," and "abandoned their past ways of working" in order to create something new. Those illustrations are gorgeous, too - the caricature style applied to fantasy art has a haunting quality that fits the tone of the book.
Kascht's caricature work is widespread, appearing everywhere from billboards to magazine covers, but comic readers are likely more familiar with Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. The beloved comic strip ran for a decade starting in 1985, and after its conclusion, Watterson essentially disappeared from the public eye. He's given only a handful of interviews and published no major work since the final Calvin and Hobbes strip.
Calvin and Hobbes helped inspire the original pitch for Ratchet and Clank through Spaceman Spiff, Calvin's imaginary alter-ego.