The Saturday Comics: Calvin and Hobbes.

29 Oct

October, 29, 2011

I hold Peanuts in very, very high esteem. In some ways it is THE epitome of the comic strip. I may think more with The Far Side, and I believe that Popeye in its classic era is the epitome of sequential and serialized story telling, but none make me feel the way Peanuts makes me feel. It is not simply a strip about a group of little kids, it is a peek into the innocence of youth, and a glimpse into human nature. I’m sure some of you will agree with me, and some of you will think I am reading way too much into it, but legions of people worldwide feel the same way I do.

Calvin and Hobbes comes very, very close to Peanuts. Simply, it is a celebration of the innocence of youth and the wonders of the world as seen through the imagination of a young boy named Calvin and his best friend, a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Like Peanuts, it tells universal truths hidden inside everyone’s everyday life. It is a beautiful strip.

From wiki: The 3,160th and final strip ran on Sunday, December 31, 1995. It depicted Calvin and Hobbes outside in freshly fallen snow, reveling in the wonder and excitement of the winter scene. “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!” Calvin exclaims as they zoom off over the snowy hills on their sled, leaving, according to one critic ten years later, “a hole in the comics page that no strip has been able to fill.”

Precedents to Calvin’s fantasy world can be found in Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby, Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts, Percy Crosby’s Skippy, Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County, and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, while Watterson’s use of comics as sociopolitical commentary reaches back to Walt Kelly’s Pogo and Quino’s Mafalda. Schulz and Kelly particularly influenced Watterson’s outlook on comics during his formative years.

Peanuts, Bloom County, Krazy Kat, Pogo. And Calvin and Hobbes.

No selection of strips can do it justice. I’ve also made sure to include some of the Spaceman Spiff strips, which are among my favorites.


6 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Calvin and Hobbes.”

  1. Thomas Stazyk October 29, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    Yes! Thumbs up for Calvin and Hobbs. I love the ones where they are making snowmen.


    • bmj2k October 29, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Though I intentionally didn’t put any in, I love Calvin’s macabre snowmen.

      From this post, I dare anyone to tell me the strip with the little buried raccoon is less than brilliant. Touching and deep and so simple.


  2. Mac of BIOnighT October 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Peanuts is, from my point of view and from that of many others, the work of one of the greatest poets ever. Schulz’s insight about human nature, society and individuals was enough to make you learn quite a big chunk about what we are, what we do, and why. Peanuts is one of the greatest gifts to humanity to come from art. And I’m ready to punch in the mouth anybody who says I’m talking nonsense.
    Calvin and Hobbes is one of my very favorites. While – unlike Peanuts – it was only about chldhood (usually), it is so very charming, tender, sad (in a way) to be totally unique. Schulz himself admired Watterson’s work. Among other things, he said that Watterson could draw anything equally well, while he himself couldn’t.
    Anyway, You are right, no selection could do justice and I realize I haven’t read enough of them. My to-do list has just gotten a new entry.


    • bmj2k October 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      Although it is in a very different category, I include EC Segar’s Popeye with Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes as the pinnacle of cartooning.


    • Avery May 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

      I never really liked Clavin and Hobbes. It was not particularly funny. Li’l Abner and Pogo were much better.


      • bmj2k May 10, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

        Neither of those strips appealed to me, though I do appreciate their quality, They are true classics.


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