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Creator of a wildly popular comic strip returns to comic pages

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Almost 20 years ago, Bill Watterson walked away from “Calvin & Hobbes” — the wildly popular comic strip he created and illustrated from 1985 until 1995.

Fans of the mischievous 6-year-old boy and his sardonic stuffed tiger have been left wanting more ever since.

For the time being, they can at least take comfort in some cameo work released this week.

Stephan Pastis writes “Pearls Before Swine,” which chronicles the lives of its main characters — Pig, Rat, Zebra and Goat, and the dreaded Crocs.

He’s also a big Watterson fan. Last spring he attempted to reach the notoriously reclusive comics legend via e-mail, to no avail.

The series of strips ran nationally this week with the premise that a small girl named ‘Libby’ (or ‘Lib’) would stand in for Pastis.