Bruce Springsteen as Bill Watterson’s Calvin? And Hobbes as The Big Man Clarence Clemons? What a fantastic idea! That’s exactly the idea Soren Juhl had when he created his now iconic Calvin and Hobbes Born to Play comic featuring the beloved Calvin and Hobbes. Soren, who’s a professional artist in Denmark, uses Bruce and The Big Man as his inspiration for a collection of drawings he’s calling Springsteen Comics.
When Soren was 14, he was given Bruce Springsteen’s Live ’75-’85 Box Set as a Christmas gift. That collection of music and then the album Tunnel of Love was his first introduction to The Boss, and he’s never looked back. Those songs still inspire Soren’s art “I remember listening to Cadillac Ranch for the first time and I heard Bruce’s counting and howling intro to the song! – and I was thinking: “Wow!!!
This is a-w-e-s-o-m-e!”"
Soren’s inspirations are usually Bruce’s lyrics or quotes but sometimes, Soren has an image of Calvin first, and the quote comes second. Then Soren let’s his creativity flow. “I knew how I would draw C & H in The Valentine comic – so the job was the find some Bruce material that would fit. I used the Bruce quote about Elvis and just replaced “king” for “tiger” and it was perfect.”
Why Calvin and Hobbes rather than another cartoon? It’s the love between Calvin and Hobbes, which portrays that love between Bruce and Clarence. And the size is right, Hobbes is bigger than life, just like Clarence Clemons was.
When asked if he was concerned about Bill Watterson sending lawyers his way due to copyright infringement, Soren maintained that, if Bill Watterson asked, he would remove his fan art immediately. Yet, that is exactly what this is, fan art, not copies: “I do not use Wattersonís original artwork. I donít trace his artwork and every comic is created from scratch. If you compare my comics with Wattersonís you can clearly see the difference. The proportions are different, the framing is different and the coloring is also different. Nobody can create C & H exactly as Watterson – and it should be that way.”
In the past year, Soren has been so prolific with his Springsteen Comics that there’s quite a collection of delightful work on his Springsteen Comics facebook page. Much more artwork than we would ever display here, so make sure and take a long look. If you’re a Calvin and Hobbes fan like I am, you’ll enjoy every minute.
Here’s the full interview with Soren Juhl:
What part of the world are you from?
I’m from Denmark Scandinavia, Europe. I donít expect all people to know where this tiny country is located :)
How long have you been a Springsteen fan?
The first time I heard about Bruce was around 1987 when I was 14. A friend of my fatherís was a huge fan (still is) and he told me about Springsteen. He had been at the famous show at Ullevi stadium in Ď85 which was literally rocked to pieces. He showed me the 5 LP live box and later he gave me my first Springsteen cd “Tunnel Of Love”.
What are your Springsteen experiences?
My first Springsteen concert was in 1992 at Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then I have been to all shows in Denmark (except from one in 1993). During the latest tours I have been to a few show in Germany, Cologne (Magic tour and Wrecking Ball tour) and Berlin (Reunion tour)
At the reunion show in Copenhagen I saw Bruce outside his hotel jumping into the car heading out to the soundcheck. Clarence Clemons was looking at us outside his hotel window.
But I still havenít got the Bruce and me-photo or his signature. Thatís on my wish list! I hope I get the chance this time!!!
What is your art background? Are you a professional artist? Is this a hobby? What is your profession?
Yes, I’m a professional artist :). I work at a publishing company. We produce books, mostly children’s books, cooking books, thrillers, graphics novels, and fiction. I do digital arts likes illustrations for apps, online games, websites, etc.
Why are Calvin and Hobbes such a good vehicle to express Bruce Springsteen’s themes?
For several reasons!
It all started by a coincidence when I did the Calvin and Hobbes Born To Run cover. The idea just came to me and I knew I had something good on paper. It was the love between Calvin and Hobbes that equals the love between Clarence and Bruce. It was just a perfect match and the cartoony interpretation of the iconic Eric Meola photo made it even more funny.
Calvin is funny and Bruce is funny. Calvin thinks a lot and has a lot words on his mind – Bruce also thinks a lot and he always have some kind of story to tell us. Calvin really hates school, and Bruce surely hated school. Thatís why I did No Surrender.
And one last thing – Hobbes is so much bigger than Calvin – as Big Man was to Bruce.
Are their any other comics that you’ve considered using?
No, I haven’t had any other characters in my mind. I’ll keep to Calvin.
What is your process when creating one of the Springsteen Comics?
When I get an idea I instantly write it down so I wonít forget it. Sometimes I write the lyrics down, sometimes I do a really rough doodle that makes no sense to others than me :)
Then I create a sketch or two. When I think the sketch is tight and all in place, I ink the art on a new piece of paper using a light board.
Finally I scan the comic and adds the text and itís ready for show time!
What inspires your work?
The lyrics mostly, but sometimes I have an image of Calvin that just need a line, a title or even a quote. I knew how I would draw C & H in The Valentine comic – so the job was the find some Bruce material that would fit. I used the Bruce quote about Elvis and just replaced “king” for “tiger” and it was perfect.
It may be one or two sentences or song titles. But also Bruce’ own stories from the shows – like the one I did of We Are Alive. The Justin Bieber was inspired by my own ticket experience when I was lucky to get a ticket for inner pitch. That comic was very fun to do.
Are you concerned about Bill Watterson’s lawyers breaking down your door and dragging you away in the night?
No, I’m not. But if they would ask me to shut down I’ll do that right away. It has never been my intension to harm Watterson or Bruce.
What I create is fan art. I do not use Wattersonís original artwork. I donít trace his artwork and every comic is created from scratch. If you compare my comics with Wattersonís you can clearly see the difference. The proportions are different, the framing is different and the coloring is also different. Nobody can create C & H exactly as Watterson – and it should be that way.
Where can we find your work on the internet?
Hereís some samples of my other works. These images stand out from the Springsteen comics in the way they are created on the computer using different kinds of software. But all my works are based on sketches….
More artwork by Soren Juhl: