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THIS JUST IN: First new art from ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ creator in 16 years, syndicate says

Original art by Bill Watterson for Team Cul de Sac (for Richard Thompson of "Cul de Sac"). 6" x 8" oil on board. (Bill Watterson)

This painting — by “Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson — is the first new art from him that his syndicate has seen in the 16 subsequent years, say executives with Universal Uclick and its parent company, Andrews McMeel. The artwork is of the character Petey Otterloop from Richard Thompson’s comic strip “Cul de Sac.”

“The strip depicts all sorts of moments that ring true with regard to childhood,” the long-reclusive Watterson tells Comic Riffs, “but I’d say Petey is a truly original insight.”

The artwork — 6”-by-8” oil on board — is Watterson’s contribution to the Team Cul de Sac fundraising project for Parkinson’s research.

“Let’s just say I got a package from a William Watterson ... ,” says Andrews McMeel editor Caty Neis, who is helping lead the Team Cul de Sac effort. “I have been carrying it around and showing everyone. I didn’t get my hopes up that [Watterson] would contribute. ...

“Just the fact that this is first art that we have seen from him in 16 years is just so exciting, and what a great cause.”

Team Cul de Sac — which is working with Team Fox of the Michael J. Fox Foundation — is the brainchild of North Carolina-based web and print designer Chris Sparks. The project hopes to raise $250,000 for Parkinson’s research through such efforts as an Andrews McMeel-published book of “Cul de Sac”-inspired art created by dozens of Thompson’s professional colleagues, including Watterson.

Thompson — who is a finalist for the National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben Award in May — announced in the summer of 2009 that he had received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

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