My Favourite Strip

I’m not sure how I’ve gone this long without discussing my love for Bill Watterson’s icon comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. For those who are not familiar with the strip, it chronicles the ongoing adventures of Calvin, a wildly imaginative, thoughtful and sometimes deeply philosophical little boy and his stuffed Tiger, who in his eyes, is the real living, breathing deal. Hobbes is Calvin’s muse, his foil and quite often his conscience. Bill Watterson is both a talented artist, as the detail of some strips was previously unequalled, and a wonderfully insightful storyteller. He often used the strip, as many artists do, to provide his commentary on the state of the human condition and our relationship in and with the planet. For example, one of my favourite quotes from Calvin shows up in a strip from November 8, 1989 where he and Hobbes are found on one of their many walks in the woods. "I was reading about how countless species are being pushed toward extinction by man’s destruction of forests. Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."

Calvin is very much a stereotypical little boy. He and Hobbes are often drawn running, jumping and playing in fields or forests. Calvin spends an inordinate amount of time tormenting a little classmate named Suzy, though he has an underlying affection for her. Calvin's imagination often sends him traveling back and forth through time to battle aliens or fight off dinosaurs, who turn out to be his mind's representation of his parents, teachers or babysitter.

I am, in fact, so much in love with these two characters,I’ve had one of their classic poses permanently etched on the bicep of my left arm.

This particular pose has them sneering and jeering with obvious indignation at whoever happens to be standing in front of them. I chose this because I believe it fits my own personality to a T. There are so many Calvinisms and Hobbesian outlooks I can relate to. The overwhelming popularity of the strip to this day reveals many have felt the same way.

Unfortunately, Bill Watterson stopped creating the strip on December 31, 1995, after years of rejecting calls to have Calvin and Hobbes licensed for use in advertisements, films, etc. Watterson is a true altruist who did not want his art to be exploited for his or anyone else’s commercial gains beyond the newspaper syndication he required to have his strips published and shared. Shortly thereafter, Watterson became a recluse and has rarely been heard from since, though Calvin has occasionally popped up (most recently on April 1st) in a reincarnated Bloom County strip, another 80s classic, which is now being published by Berkeley Breathed on Facebook. If you’re interested in learning more about "the greatest comic strip in the history of the Universe" I would highly recommended checking out the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson.

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Jeff Riddall

Husband and father of two kidults with a head full of random words and such. Lover of sports, beer, food, long walks & dogs; not necessarily in this order.