October 17, 2013

Mental Floss Editor-in-Chief Mangesh Hattikudur says he has “no idea” why the cartoonist Bill Watterson, a Pynchon-esque recluse, chose to give an interview to Jake Rossen for the magazine’s December issue. Rossen somehow got Watterson’s email address, Hattikudur tells Poynter in an email.

We have a few theories: It might be because we have ties to Ohio, and a town near where he grew up (we used to operate our little shop out of Chagrin Falls; his signed comics often show up in a book store around there). Or it might be because of how Jake approached him– in a very journalistic over a fawning fan way. We weren’t totally sure it was him– even though we put two fact-checkers on the case– until his syndicate had to go to him for approval to use Calvin and Hobbes as the main art on our cover (he’s very protective about licensing). He gave us permission immediately.

The magazine has “put other writers on the case before,” but none had Rossen’s luck, Hattikudur wrote. “It really stunned us when he pulled the interview.”

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
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