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Book Reviews

Calvin and Hobbes

I’ve never been much of a fan of comic books of any kind.  I just have never been able to get into them.  I’ve tried on occasion, but I just don’t take to them.  However, there’s one comic through the years that I could read all day, every day and have enjoyed since I was a child:  Calvin and Hobbes.

Bill Watterson created two of my favorite characters in all of literature .  Calvin, a brilliant yet hyper and troublesome 6-year old and Hobbes, a calm, reasonable, and rational tiger are complete opposites and make for humorous and in-depth story-telling.

What separates Calvin and Hobbes from other comic strips is Watterson’s willingness to tell stories in a medium primarily filled with cheap, one-liner jokes with no substance.  The strips are mirthful, emotional, educational, philosophical, and often a commentary of society today.  Occasionally, it was all of those things combined.

Bill Watterson's social commentary is still relevant even after all these years.

I was introduced to Calvin and Hobbes as a young teenager by either Revis Edgewater or my dad, I can’t remember whom.  Over the years I have collected all of the Calvin and Hobbes Collections and I normally read the entire collection once a year on average.  It’s amazing how spot on Watterson’s views on society in general still apply to society today even though nearly 30 years have passed since the strip initially launched in 1985.

This is one of but many commentaries on society that still apply today.

Calvin and Hobbes was engaging to me because Watterson would tell stories using his strip, something most other artists did not do.  Stories would sometimes span days or even weeks.  The stories would keep you captivated and leave you wanting to read more, just as any novel worth its salt would do.

The first story he featured in the strip was of Calvin finding a badly injured raccoon.  Calvin left Hobbes there to guard the raccoon while he went to get his mom for help.  He and his mom return and take the raccoon home.  They put it in a box, keep the raccoon warm, and provide it with food.  Unfortunately, the raccoon died overnight, succumbing to its injuries.  Naturally, Calvin was devastated and struggled with the concept of life and death.  This story is a prime example of why Calvin and Hobbes was so great.  Life lessons with humor mixed in to lighten things up, wrapped in the existential wonderings of life.

A great example of Watterson's humorous philosophical meanderings.

Later in the strip’s run, Watterson would poke fun at psychology, artists, the state of society in general, and academics.  He would disparage psychology for convincing people they were victims and shifting blame for their problems elsewhere.  He mocked artists for selling out and commercializing their work.  He opined on many aspects of society that are problematic, including society’s love of celebrities, being ruled by technology, and mass media in general.

Social commentary that still applies today.

I doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of Calvin and Hobbes, but if you’ve never read the strip I would highly recommend it.  This strip hilariously points out the overabundance of flaws in today’s society.

A shot at academics.

Have you ever read Calvin and Hobbes?  If so, what did you think?

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Discussion

30 thoughts on “Calvin and Hobbes

  1. I’ve always enjoyed reading it, but I never got as into it as you did. It’s just been one of those staples of the comics page that I always check out before turning to another section of the paper.

    My favorite comic strip which never made it into a local paper around here was Sam & Max: Freelance Police. Talk about hysterical. That’s the only comic I ever bought a collection of, although I did buy a collection of comics for Pearls Before Swine for my dad, who loves that one.

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    Posted by beefybooyawn | February 10, 2012, 4:32 pm
    • Pearls Before Swine is okay. It has it’s moments, but most of the time it’s cheap one-liners. Although I will say that Rat is someone who I see eye to eye with on a lot of things.

      I’ve never heard of Sam & Max. Is that online anywhere?

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      Posted by twindaddy | February 10, 2012, 5:17 pm
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_%26_Max That is the only thing I could find that would be worth looking at. They were comics back in the 80s and then a Saturday morning cartoon on Fox in the 90s, which was absolutely hysterical. The comic of course is a lot more adult but the cartoon had its moments, often. Now the only thing I think they are is a series of games on the PC. They have a new one coming out now actually. I’m still waiting for the cartoon to be released on DVD, if it should ever happen.

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        Posted by beefybooyawn | February 10, 2012, 8:25 pm
  2. I LOVE Calvin and Hobbes! What are the odds?

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    Posted by The Hook | February 12, 2012, 8:29 am
  3. Never. Just the Farside.

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    Posted by lorrelee1970 | February 12, 2012, 10:44 am
  4. this is great, I had [almost] forgotten my love for Calvin and Hobbes. Like you said I never had before or after been interested in comics much. But my heart definitely holds a place for Calvin and Hobbes. It might be time to take a trip home and see if I can un-bury my books. Thanks for the reminder!

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    Posted by Pete | April 22, 2012, 11:27 pm
  5. Yeah, one of my favorites, along with the Far Side. They both ended around the same time, kinda sad. Commentary aside they were the few strips that actually would make you laugh out loud.

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    Posted by sixpuns | June 6, 2012, 12:45 pm
  6. Great post! Love Calvin & Hobbes, Watterson was a genius.

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    Posted by whitel3g | June 10, 2012, 4:52 am
  7. I cried the day Calvin and Hobbes ended, then had to use the newspaper to blow my nose with…then got ink all over my nose. It was a sad day indeed.

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    Posted by Christopher De Voss | September 19, 2012, 3:36 pm
  8. Calvin and Hobbes..all time favorite. I also have every book. I loved how he poked fun at society, but I also loved the antics such as putting Crisco in his hair for his school picture…and his demented snowmen. Classic!

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    Posted by leah | November 22, 2012, 1:45 am
  9. My morning starts with this comic strip . Sometimes its very very funny.

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    Posted by Indira | December 7, 2012, 11:01 am
  10. My son read “Calvin and Hobbes” at age 7, began writing his own comics around the same time. He still has every “Calvin and Hobbes” book ever written. Timeless.

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    Posted by honeydidyouseethat? | December 13, 2012, 2:09 am
  11. Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and Bloom County. Classics.
    And all available unabridged now.

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    Posted by El Guapo | December 13, 2012, 11:18 pm
  12. Calvin and Hobbes is one of my favorite comic strips!! I also loved Foxtrot…haha!

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    Posted by vyvacious | January 6, 2013, 6:29 pm
  13. My favorite comic of all time!! His humor is legendary.

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    Posted by Polysyllabic Profundities | February 19, 2013, 1:18 pm

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