Remembering Calvin & Hobbes
One of the most beloved newspaper comics that lived too short.
Okay, if you're a child of the 80's and 90's, and you read the newspaper just to read the comics, then I'm sure you will remember "Calvin & Hobbes". It was one of the funniest and most memorable newspaper comics of all time. The comic was created by Bill Waterson and launched on November 18, 1985.
What's it about? Well, in order to answer that question, I'll have to talk about the characters. So, here are the main characters in the comic.
Calvin is a six-year-old boy. He has a very large imagination and is often selfish. Calvin is named after a theologist named John Calvin. Calvin always demands respect and has this strange imagination. He always seems to imagine himself as the king of the world or something. Calvin has a huge vocabulary for a six-year-old (he uses words that even I don't know how to pronounce), which is ironic, because he always fails miserably in school. Pretty much everything annoys him.
Hobbes is Calvin's stuffed tiger / imaginary friend. Despite the fact that he annoys him a lot, he's still Calvin's best friend. Hobbes is named after Thomas Hobbes. From everyone else's point of view, he's just a stuffed tiger, but from Calvin's point of view, he's real and more blown up making him larger than Calvin. Hobbes has his own attitude; he's sort of a smart allec, and this annoys Calvin a lot causing lots of fights between the two. He also has this habbit of pouncing on Calvin every time he comes home from school, but his parents don't believe this. Hobbes' favorite thing in the world is tuna sandwiches.
Calvin's mom and dad are typical everyday parents. Like the parents in "Dexter's Lab", their names are never revealed (nor is the family's last name). Like most American parents, they are really down to Earth, and most of the stuff that Calvin does infuriates them. Even though they do annoy Calvin at times, Calvin still loves them.
Susie is Calvin's next-door neighbor. Calvin has a tendecy to pick on Susie a lot, but Susie is good at getting revenge. Both Calvin and Susie hate each other, but Calvin probably hates her more. She's a straight A student, which has indeed all come down to making her a rival for Calvin. Even though they have shown some hatred towards each other, stuff like that is typical for kids their age, and I have a feeling that they secretly love each other and may start dating when they get to high school.
Calvin's teacher, Miss Wormwood, is your typical everyday elementary school teacher. She's prompt, strict and always trying to keep her children in control. There's not really much else to say about her, except that she's sent Calvin to the principal quite a bit.
Moe is the school bully. He's big, dumb, ugly and cruel as Watterson has viewed every bully he's ever met. Moe always calls Calvin "Twinky", and in the comic, he always seems to talk in an unusual font. He's been known to shove Calvin against walls, demand lunch money from him, and beat him up, which is what most bullies have been known to do.
Rosalyn is a high school senior and Calvin's babysitter. She always babysits Calvin whenever his parents go out to dinner. Calvin fears her more than anyone else. Whenever he hears that Rosalyn is coming, he and Hobbes always hide. Rosalyn never hesitates to play dirty on Calvin, but Calvin is pretty good at goofing around with her.
Calvin has this really mixed up imagination. He often thinks of himself as other things or experiencing stuff that regular humans wouldn't. Here are some examples of his imagination:
-Spaceman Spiff is a space hero who fights aliens on foreign planets. The people around him like Miss Wormwood, Suzie and his parents usually represent the aliens he battles.
-Stupendous Man is basically like a DC superhero. Calvin actually has a mask and cape he wears to resemble Stupendous Man as his secret identity.
-Tracer Bullet is a film noir detective who Calvin pretends to be whenever he's trying to solve a problem. We don't see Tracer Bullet often in the strip sadly.
-Calvin has also imagined himself as an animal of some kind, but most often dinosaurs.
-Calvin also has these inventions that were made up in his mind. He has this cardboard box which he pretends is his Transmogrophier, which can turn anything into anything at all. He's used that same box as a Duplicator, which was used to make clones. Another one of his made up inventions is a time machine, which obviously was used for time travel.
Calvin has a lot of fun activities that he does with Hobbes. Such include playing Calvinball. Calvinball is a sport that Calvin made up. Basically, in the game, you just wear masks and play with a ball and flags, but you just make up rules all the time as you go. The only real rule of Calvinball is you can't play it the same way twice.
Calvin and Hobbes also have been known to ride down hills on Calvin's wagon. In these strips, Calvin and Hobbes have had long conversations with each other while riding downhill. I personally find that hard to do at such an incredibly fast speed.
Calvin also has this strange tallent with building snowmen. He's an incredible snow sculpter, but I don't see how a six-year-old can do that when a 16-year-old can't!
Most of the stuff in the comic strip were based on real experiences that Bill Waterson had in his life. I find that rather interesting, because a lot of the stuff in the comics reminded me of experiences I had in my life. It's really weird how most people are alike even though, as they say, nobody's perfect.
Every Calvin & Hobbes strip was released in books. Each collection (with the exception of the first one) was titled after a memorable phrase in one of the comics in that particular book. The treasuries were basically compilations of comics. Watterson has published a total of 11 collections and 7 treasuries. I happen to own every Calvin & Hobbes book known to man, and they're always really fun to look at.
Sadly, the very last Calvin & Hobbes srtip was released on Sunday, December 31, 1995. Unlike most of the other strips, the last one didn't have any humor, but it was a fitting way to say "farewell" to the strip. I remember reading the comic in the newspaper it was published. It was basically Calvin and Hobbes out in an open field with all this snow all around, and they're commenting on how beautiful everything looks, and it ends with Calvin saying, "It's a magical world, Hobbes old buddy. Let's go exploring!" and the two of them ride off on their toboggan.
There were a total of 3,160 strips of this comic. Watterson discontinued working on "Calvin & Hobbes" because it was a hard job for him, and he claimed that he's done all that he could do, plus he had other things that he was interested in. Watterson knew exactly how his fans felt about the comic's cancelation, and he felt just as sad about leaving. Currently, I don't know what Watterson is doing right now, but I'm sure he is living a happy life. I'm sure all us fans will never forget this beloved newspaper comic.