Watterson, 56, won the grand prix at the 41st edition of the festival on Sunday, beating Japan’s Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) and Britain’s Alan Moore (Watchmen).
He was not present to receive his prize, the most prestigious of its kind in the French-speaking world.
Calvin and Hobbes, which catalogues the trials and triumphs of a six-year-old boy and his toy tiger, is the chief work of this cartoonist, who syndicated it from 1985 to 1995. It has sold more than 30 million comic books worldwide and been distributed to 2400 newspapers.
Born William B Watterson on July 5, 1958 in Washington DC, the author grew up in Chagrin Falls, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about drawing since childhood, he worked as a political cartoonist for the Cincinnati Post following studies in political science. Fired from the newspaper, he suffered a series of setbacks and returned to live with his parents.
It was on November 18, 1985 that the Universal Syndicate Press published the first instalment of Calvin and Hobbes. It was the beginning of a great success. Appearing first in 130 newspapers, the series was eventually distributed to newspapers around the world, translated into some 40 languages.
In 1986, Watterson received the Reuben Award of the US National Cartoonist Society. In 1992, he won the prize for best foreign comic book at the Angouleme Festival.