Recently released on video-on-demand, "Dear Mr. Watterson" is director Joel Allen Schroeder's love letter to "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoonist Bill Watterson's comic strip about a mischievous 6-year-old boy and his best friend, a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Far from juvenile, fans of the comic know how funny, moving, and wise Watterson's work could be. Despite having ended in 1995, the strip still has millions of devoted fans and its collected volumes are popular sellers to this day. Watterson himself remains a somewhat enigmatic figure, staying almost completely out of the public eye and adamantly refusing to license the rights to his characters. But as Schroeder himself states, he isn't interested so much in the man himself, but why his simple comic strip could have so much meaning and have such a personal impact on so many people all over the world.
Schroeder interviews academics, publishers, fellow cartoonists, and dozens of fans about what made "Calvin and Hobbes" so special. Full disclosure: I've been a lifelong fan of the strip, so I was pretty much guaranteed to like this film no matter what. Sure, Schroeder could have probed a little deeper to make a meatier film, but he has such obvious affection for his subject that its charm more than makes up for it. He's made a heartfelt, fitting tribute to one of the great works of art in modern pop culture.