Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Calvin and Hobbes

Last night I opened the 'Calvin and Hobbes' book that was gathering dust and laughed out loud very loudly! Today I found this 'Comic' website which features the wee chaps as well as many other cartoon strips! There is something about Calvin that only adults can appreciate. He is not aimed at kids, as they do not understand him, yet adult males and their wives comprehend him easily. The one has been there and the other cleans up the mess, usually complaining her other half is still back there as a six year old.  The character is so real, especially when fantasising as 'Biff' the space hero chased by monsters,usually his teacher or his parents! Children's fears about the monster hiding under the bed are well covered, and we all had such fears, I still do! I am convinced there is something creeping around down there, but I am too scared to look.  Many readers will identify with the behaviour of Calvin's Mum & Dad. I love the scenes where she is angry, and that is often, naturally the blame lies with the father! His explanations to his son regarding life are a lesson to all dad's everywhere.

Calvin, named after John Calvin, and his highly intuitive stuffed tiger Hobbes, named after the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, ran for eleven years and was a comic strip published in hundreds of papers world wide. Millions of the books have been sold, and I only have one 'The Essential Calvin and Hobbes,' and yes that was a hint. One of the attractions was the way the strip uses the mind of a six year old to occasionally explore major political, environmental or philosophical questions. This simplifies things and often gives a clearer understanding than many heavy tomes. 

The creator of the strip,  Bill Watterson, refused to become involved in commercialisation of the strip, declaring that this took away from the art form. He also refused to allow the strip to be animated, being 'scared' to hear Calvin's voice. I must say I agree, 'Dennis the Menace' did not speak with an English accent as he was created in Dundee, yet he does on the animation! The Peanuts characters voices grate, and not just because they are American (Imagine if this had been based in the Ozarks!) but because the voice in your head is better than the animators voice always.  

I love this cartoon, it is witty, satirical, engages the life around us in a simple yet profound manner. 'Calvin and Hobbes' appear to be a cartoon strip to make us laugh, but they manage to make us think also. Such a shame   
Bill Watterson moved on to other things!

Calvin and Hobbes Story

Calvin and Hobbes on Go Comics


1st Lady said...

Big fan of Calvin and Hobbes here too! Used to have a lot of the books back in the USA, and Charlie Brown. I quite like the Farside as well...

Relax Max said...

I loved Calvin and Hobbes. Still do. I have all the book collections and even forked out over $100 for the 4-volume bound set when they issued it a couple years back, which contains every single cartoon. Watterson was/is a purist. Thanks for the memory.