Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Real Life Ending

It's a sad twist in a story of innocently happy art. 

Michael Den Beste, a 33-year-old Calvin + Hobbes enthusiast from Portland, OR developed a gorgeous set of mash-ups that place the iconic and beloved characters of Bill Watterson's famous comic strip in real settings. The results were stunning and made these memorable drawings from my childhood meaningful again. 

The response to Den Beste's work was overwhelmingly positive, however, after this Gizmodo article and other national coverage came out last week Mashable announced yesterday that Den Beste was hit with a violation of copyright and the images were removed from his site.
I understand the right to artistic property, but I feel Watterson should be honored by Den Beste's creations, which have moved so many. Watterson stopped drawing C+H in 1995 and tributes such as Den Beste's make him current and bring his work to new audiences. I think asking Den Beste to cease his project is a mistake and Watterson should be flattered that he's inspiring talented new artists. That said, I am a fan of Watterson and C+H and do not want to cheapen his work in any regard. 

You can read exchanges and a bit of debate in the comments of the Mashable article, where Den Beste expresses his disappointment at how this project ended, but also chooses to explain and honor copyright laws in a very dignified and well-meaning manner.

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