Calvin & Hobbes, the collection.

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The Complete Calvin & Hobbes…
On Oct 4The Complete Calvin and Hobbes will be released. This will be a 3-book collection of the whole of Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes published work. I can’t tell you how excited I am by this, but I’ll try!

Back in 1985 when Calvin & Hobbes hit the newspapers, I was just starting to get into drawing and comic books. Reading comic books led me to start drawing comic books. It really was Calvin & Hobbes that got me interested not only in comic strips as an art form, but also got me interested in the history of comic strips. Investigating the history led me to two other favorites – Walt Kelly’s Pogo and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat.

Back in 1985, C&H was ground breaking. I made it a habit to read the comics in the newspaper everyday. I insisted that the family GET the newspaper just for that reason, (although I’m sure I used the “Im interested in current events” line to help the argument!) After awhile the only reason to read the comics in the first place was to get my daily fix of C&H. The rest of the comics in the paper were rather useless and dull. The only ones that attracted me at all besides C&H were Bloom County and For Better or For Worse.

There was something more to C&H than just a clever 4 panel strip. C&H was ingenious, it was creative, inventive, clever, witty, and most of all it was drawn well. I remember first seeing Dilbert and thinking what the HELL is this doing as a syndicated comic strip? The art was horrible, and the characters were ugly and plain, (this will eventually become another post someday – the importance of story… something Dilbert had in spades, and what really makes Dilbert such a great comic.) I became something of a comic ART elitist. All thanks to C&H.

What really made C&H so endearing to me was Calvin’s imagination. His snowman creations are still my favorite, but the best was how Calvin’s stuffed toy tiger was so alive to him and yet not to anyone else. A distinctly remember talking about C&H to my to-be-wife oh so many years ago, way back when we first met. I was the comic strip artist on the College newspaper and she was one of the editors. I telling her some of my influences and how C&H was my #1 fave. She said that she had read it but didn’t get it most of the time. She said that what confused her was that whomever drew it did a bad job drawing the tiger once in awhile. She said sometimes the tiger looked good and other times the tiger looked completely different. Once I straightened her out about Calvin’s imagination world vs. the real world she grew to love the strip.

I’d like to think everyone has a fantasy world like Calvin’s. One where you are the hero, the champion, the one. Calvin had many, Spaceman Spiff, Calvin the Genius, Calvin the Timetraveler, Calvin as Stupendous man… The list goes on and on. Calvin created G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Silmy Girls), the club that he and Hobbes belong to and the club that’s sole purpose always seemed to be giving medals to the two chief officers!

I think the heart of the strip came from the character of Hobbes. Hobbes was Calvin’s constant sidekick. He was always up for fun and never had a mean thing to say. He may have questioned some of Calvin’s ideas, but always (mostly) ended up joining in on the adventure. Above all, they were best friends.

The best thing I can say about Calving and Hobbes is that I still miss it so much. While there aren’t new strips to enjoy, this collection will certainly make me feel like I am discovering the world of Calvin & Hobbes all over again.

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