on 16 November 2001
Farewell, Calvin and Hobbes. Words (or, more aptly, pictures) cannot express the extent of how sorely you will both be missed. No sooner had the immortal utterances of Calvin followed him over the hill as he and his best friend left the pages of comic strips and collections forever, than this series of phenomenally flawless quality then passed from excellence into the annals of history as legend. In a way it is a fitting tribute to an unbelievably adept illustrator and writer to end on such a high as he has not produced one single bad piece of work in his relationship with his two eponymous characters.
I wont go into detail as to the actual strips as there are far too many to review. Suffice it to say that once you delve into the innocent, yet highly complicated world of the troubled youngster and his stuffed toy tiger, you will never (and I truly mean NEVER) look back. It is at once hilariously funny and heartbreakingly poignant. This is due to the way Bill Waterson creates his characters. While this is pure fantasy, the sort that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, it is also uncompromisingly real and from the angry attitude of the little boy lost, at odds with a confusing and paradoxical world, to the frayed tethers of his parents who have been beaten by that same cruel world it creates pathos in the reader as the experiences are similar to our own. Calvin defies any kind of conformity whilst sticking to his own special brand of comformist, almost totalitarian regime of pelting Susie Derkins with 'slush balls', spending all his weekends torn between watching endless violent cartoons and sledging or making the most grotesque but interesting snow sculptures ever created. Calvin is a product of capitalism and the post-50's era America of disenchantment coupled with luxury. He has no work ethic but is the busiest little boy on the planet, always thinking up fantasies and schemes. Just take the strip in Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat where he is derided by his father and sent to his room in disgrace. He then looks out of the window onto a barren, yet somehow beautiful landscape where the only 'normal' object is his house. Waterson instils the beauty and awe of otherness, of the sad adage that everything beautiful is far away, the grass is always greener on the other side. The worlds in Calvin's mind remind all of us daydreamers out there that it is essential to human nature to wonder and feel awe, to even feel insignificant. One strip comes to mind where Calvin stands in the forefront of a starry night and screams 'I am significant!' following it up with a humble aside, 'screamed the dust speck.' It is philosophy like this that rises Waterson above many other cartoon strip illustrators and writers. Calvin & Hobbes is more about life, the human condition and philosophy than it is about a little kid misbehaving. It is intelligent yet funny. It runs the gamut of a multitude of emotions and makes the reader aware of their own existence and how precious it is, especially in light of the apathy that seems to pervade a lot of modern society today. Calvin is also apathetic yet holds a deeply sincere respect for life. He wishes to live it how he wants. The unsettling nature of C&H is how he is constantly foiled at every turn by a conformist society.
And that brings me on to my deep respect for Mr Waterson. He has decided to end what was the most memorable double-act in the history of cartoon-strips to avoid selling out to big corporations. That is why you will see no official merchandise of C&H. Unlike many others, he wrote about something he cared about, trying to make some sort of sense out of the chaos that is the world. It was a passion for himself and has become a passion for his fans to read.
There have been 11 proper collections of original material and I suggest you purchase them all. You will not be disappointed. If you are new to C&H, I envy you immensely. If you are already a fan, you'll know what I mean when I say that it is a magical world indeed, made more so by a little, spiky haired boy and his stuffed toy tiger disappearing into a vast white landscape, going exploring.
This is the final collection of comics from CALVIN AND HOBBES, arguably my favorite comic strip of all times. Cartoonist Bill Watterson chose to retire before he drained all the magic out of his characters. While I'm disappointed, that is probably wise since this collection shows he was still at the top of his game.
Calvin can make an adventure out of everything, whether it's having Susie over for an afternoon (a great day for GROSS), trying to get out of school, playing Calvinball with Rosalyn, or putting off a leaf collection project until the very last night, his antics are sure to make you laugh. The genius of the strip is that we're often laughing at ourselves. Hobbes's comments are often funny and true, and watch out for the Chewing magazine strips. They hit a little too close to home.
This strip got better as it went along, and there is some classic stuff here. It's a little bitter sweet reading the last few knowing it's the end. And I still want to know what the noodles incident was.
While there are some strips out there I enjoy, I still miss this great strip. If you somehow managed to miss it, pick up any book today. It's guaranteed to have you laughing in no time.
on 29 March 2003
Bill Watterson's creation of Calvin and Hobbes is for my taste the ultimate adult comic strip; six year old Calvin, his stuffed tiger Hobbes, and his extensive and witty vocabulary, can be laugh-out-loud hilarious.
In this large, softcover book, you get all the usual suspects: The dreaded Miss Wormwood, Calvin's schoolteacher, who has to put up with his imaginitive but lame excuses, snowball fights with Susie, Spaceman Spiff, who gets stranded on distant planets, and of course, his stressed out parents.
Other characters include two marvelous one-eyed aliens, Galaxoid and Nebular, who buy the earth from Calvin for 50 leaves, but when it snows, claim they were overcharged, and demand that Calvin bring the planet up to code, and Calvin's musings on whether there is an Evil Santa, who gives to the bad girls and boys "the dangerous, annoying, and corrupting toys your parents won't allow", and best of all, when he decides to be a Suburban Post-Modernist artist, and claims that "art isn't about ideas, it's about style".
Hobbes is my favorite cartoon animal, drawn as a stuffed toy when seen from non-Calvin eyes, but a wise and playfull being in Calvin's magical world. There's a lot of love between them, and the hug on the back cover of this book says it all. Calvin and Hobbes will appeal to the rebel in us all, provide numerous laughs, and warm our hearts on cold days.
on 6 June 2001
My first introduction to Calvin (and his alter-ego, stupendous man) had this line ...
"Dad it's now 3am in the morning ... do you know where I am?"
From that moment on I have loved every aspect of this boys life, from school, summer, parents, bathtime and girls!
This selection of strips features some of the funniest in Wattersons collection - with effortless one liners and punchlines that even now will only ever be uttered by those under the age of 10 and to the amusement of us adults who prehaps only vaguely remember that "..unless you have sticky fingers, a purple tongue and grassy knees, you haven't had a good day"
For children, Calvin and Hobbes is a little boy and his tiger getting into trouble
For adults, Calvin ahd Hobbes is everything we wished we could have said and done as a child..
and for parents (myself included), we just hope that ours don't turn out like him!!!
on 11 April 2000
Anyone reading this will re-discover the "magical world" of childhood. It is one of the funniest cartoon books you will ever read and one that you will return to again and again. Bill Watterson's talent is his unique, humerous insight into the life a child, expressed through Calvin and Hobbes and his long suffering parents. This book is hilariously funny will strike a chord with many readers. Brilliant!
on 24 November 2008
I waited 10 long years before i bought this collection. And although i dreaded what the end might bring for my two favourite cartoon characters I was not disapppointed. Bill brought the end on in good light. Calvin has been both inspiration and wisdom of how the 6 year old mind worked, and helped me through my own kids childhoods, understanding why they were staring out of windows and the toilet rolls were disappearing at rate of knots.
It's a Magical World leaves the reader knowing that Calvin will be ok as he grows up, he might be viewed as a bit weird, but Hobbes shall always remain his life long companion.
It would be a delight if we could perhaps have seen and insight into Calvin as a grwon up, but it makes me wonder if that would only spoil this past. Like so many franchised series now (ahem Star Wars), stringing the characters along only weakens the beauty that lies within..and this series has been beautiful.
Calvin. Only now I do i feel closure on the series. Buy the whole series if you haven't already and read them endlessly, they are non offense and a work of genius.
If you have kids, buy it for them and get them away from the tv and computer...and let them see what 6 year olds should be like, venturing into the unknown, scared of the monsters under the bed and playing merry hell with their parents.
on 23 July 2011
My dad has several of the Calvin and Hobbes collections (only this one belongs to me) and I use them when I want something light-hearted to go through just before bed, I've been through all of them several times and they still make me smile
on 13 March 2013
My husband bought me this for my birthday having loved Calvin from my teens. My 7 year old has thoroughly enjoyed reading it over and over. Though my five year old is truly Calvin with his wisdom, innocence and yak at girls!
on 4 March 2015
Not as great as some others but who doesn't love Watterson's work. I'm now going to work my way back to his very best years - the early 90s. Love it - takes my mind off the stresses of work and lets me relax before bed.
on 30 November 2013
Calvin and Hobbes are a real favourite of mine and I bought this for my boyfriend who miraculously hadn't come across them before. He really loves it!