Cotton Factory rips off Bill Watterson

Being one of many who grew up obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, I immediately recognized this image of a bird from a Calvin and Hobbes strip. I rifled through my book collection and found the Sunday comic in “There’s Treasure Everywhere”. There is no mention of Watterson or Calvin and Hobbes on the webpage. The anonymous designer has simply lifted a drawing, rotated it and added an “edgy” spray paint thing. Here’s a close up of the T-Shirt:


and here’s the original Calvin and Hobbes strip:


An ideal situation would be to contact Watterson himself and notify him of this. The last thing I would want to see is the Universal Press Syndicate taking legal action leaving Watterson with nothing. I’m not sure how copyright and licensing works with syndicated comics. Apparently in some cases, the syndication acts like owner of the work and licenses it out for various profiting purposes that have little to do with the artist. I would hope that Watterson ratains the rights to his own work and has it all properly copyrighted.

Posted by drip.feed  |  11 Comments  |  in Fashions


  1. becca 10/08/2011 3:03 pm

    Poor Watterson. IIRC because he didn’t purchase merchandising rights for his characters (he didn’t want to make merchandise so he felt no need for it) EVERYONE could and got away with ripping off his art. I still see those decals of Calvin praying in front of a cross for no reason.

  2. Haha 04/14/2011 6:17 pm

    Haha He made you write a serious letter using “buttface” hilarious.

  3. buttface fan 12/08/2009 3:32 pm

    After spending all day reading through this site I couldn’t agree more with Mr Buttface. Most of these ‘rip off’s’ are total crap, as is most of the work of those complaining.

  4. drip.feed 07/05/2009 12:04 am

    Dear Buttface,

    Your passive aggressive comments are misguided and don’t make any sense. Mainly because we’re not here to debate the artistic integrity of t-shirts. You seem to think that Calvin and Hobbes ripped the image from the T-shirt. It’s the other way around with fourteen years in between.

    Clearly you are not an illustrator, graphic designer, photographer, writer or anyone else who produces visual or written content for a living. Illustration is a business. Photography is a business. Syndicated comics is a business. People rely on selling their own work, whether to syndicates, publications, or customers to make a living. Watterson could potentially sue Cotton Factory for punitive damages and collect thousands of dollars (depending on if he has properly copyrighted his work. And yes, there is a specific method of doing that through the US Government).

    Your lack of grammar and punctuation really gives you a credible authority on your arguments for aesthetics. In your opinion, what is a “genuine artist”, Buttface? You don’t seem to think a graphic designer or illustrator is one. But what the hell. Go look up Stefan Sagmeister or Sam Weber (who are both “commercial artists” and get back to me since you seem to be an expert in taste.

    You seem to think that commercial art is just clip art, stock imagery, comic sans, and lens flares. Anything outside of that is just obnoxious Bohemia. I really don’t know where you got that whole “you’re only a (pubic) hairs breadth away from the ‘corporate monsters’ you so valiantly crusade against” part from. This site is meant to expose plagiarism whether the theft is from a corporation or an unpaid intern who’s just lazy.

    As I’ve said before, it’s a business whether you think it is or not. This is why it’s such a big deal when intellectual property is stolen. Commercial art isn’t a hobby that someone does when they get home from their day job. It IS their job. If you were a shoe seller, you wouldn’t just give your shoes to someone else for them to sell and walk away without getting compensated, would you?

    Life would be fantastic if you didn’t actually need money. Then artists could focus their energy on their creations without worrying that they might not make rent this month. Even fine artists need to deal with the business side of their careers eventually. Someone has to buy their work for them to get paid and purchase soy lattes. In some cases they might even sell their work to a (gasp) corporation to hang in the office.

    If you still have trouble understanding the issue at hand, feel free to peruse another blog.

  5. rob 07/03/2009 5:10 pm

    hey, what’s a soy latte? it sounds terrible!

  6. Buttface 07/03/2009 3:59 am

    …ok and i checked out some of you guys’s websites – you have some of the most derivative and mind-numbingly unoriginal artwork i have ever seen in my life.

    It pretty much looks as if you wouldnt even be IN this business if it wasnt for the internet your work is so generic.

    Fuckouttahere with that bullshit.

    Beyond a joke.

  7. Buttface 07/03/2009 3:41 am

    Pardon my lack of artistic soul here, but how exactly is this ‘fraud’?

    I think theres a fair amount of people with an over-inflated sense of their own artistic integrity trying to “embarrass people who rip off other artists work” around here.

    Esp. the people who act as if making a t-shirt print is some kind of revolutionary act of selfless artistic passion and constitutes genuine art in any way shape or form.

    Its a t-shirt print.

    You need to get a job.

    Sorry if that cuts into your soy-latte-drinking freelance graphic design ‘business’, but slapping a sketch on a t-shirt or a stencil on a wall – and lets be honest here, most of the images used by the ‘original’ ‘artists’ came straight from google image search- does not an artwork make.

    Dont get me wrong, im all for exposing those who rip off the work of GENUINE artists, those that sacrifice years and years of their lives working outside the realms of mainstream acceptabillity to create genuinely affecting and original fine art…

    But you graphic design guys and commercial artists need to get down off the high horse for a quick sec and realise that you’re only a (pubic) hairs breadth away from the ‘corporate monsters’ you so valiantly crusade against.

    I respect the work of the person who makes the t-shirt print that the corporate copies as much as i do the corporate who copies it. ie: not a hell of a lot.

    Real art is done outside the motivation for money.

    Anything else is fair game.

    Except the Calvin and Hobbs guy of course, that guys like Van Gogh crossed with Ian Mckaye and anyone who samples even a fragment out of one of his millions of published (and multi-million dollar revenue generating) cartoon strips deserves a public flogging.

    Keep on fighting the power guys, and ease up on those soy lattes.


  8. Jet 06/30/2009 11:48 am

    Yup. He fought his own syndicate to make sure they never ever did merchandising on Calvin & Hobbes. Has somebody notified him already?

  9. Neil 06/26/2009 6:09 pm

    Yes Watterson is no stranger to his IP being ripped off. Im sure everyone has seen the notorious “Calvin look-alike pees on a chevy/ford/etc logo.” sicker on the back of the truck in front of you

    He never made a single toy, cartoon, shirt or poster with his characters on it.

  10. Alex 06/26/2009 3:21 pm

    If I remember right, Watterson kept all the rights for everything and was notorious for not churning merch out…kudos to him. Hope this fraud gets exposed for taking a dump on a cherished comic!

  11. Cat Rocketship 06/26/2009 1:59 am

    Maybe contacting and requesting images be removed isn’t always the best choice– I like YTWWN because it’s embarrasssing to the people who rip off other artists’ work. I’m all for just raising the embarrassment level.

Post a Comment

  • What is this place?

    YTWWN is a blog where users have taken notice to a blatant rip off of a creative work, and shared it with us. Sharing and discussing the observations and casualties of improper use of creative property is what we're all about here.

    This is an open blog, so please, add to and join the discussion, but keep in mind that there is a fine line between a rip-off and similarity of ideas. Please read the 'About' page before posting.

    Please use some discretion before posting to help us keep this blog legitimate.

    We look forward to seeing what you have to share.