Calvin & Hobbes (Bill Watterson)

(I’m not reviewing a particular C & H book, as there’s so many. I recommend the Complete Collection. Unfortunately, some may need to mortgage their grandmother to afford that) It is amazing that comics can be so rich in content. We all know that the world is ‘unfair’, but Calvin and Hobbes makes it more evident than anyone else. As social critiques they may be rated on a par with many ‘serious’ writers. Calvin is a whiny, uncooperative 6-year-old kid who thinks the whole world revolves around him. The boy has a lot of imagination too, and he often uses them as a metaphor in real life, but he thinks that it really happened. Hobbes is the only one who believes him, but he’s a stuffed tiger, so he can make him believe everything.

His suppressed ‘creativity’ and ‘imagination’ often take wings and Hobbes is too happy to accompany him only to revert to his ‘angelic’ self when they are caught by Calvin’s parents or some of the other characters. As a typical hyperactive six year old boy Calvin hates school, baths, food his mother makes as well as his babysitter, Rosalyn. Of course children can have an interesting way of looking at the world and it’s workings and that’s represented beautifully in Bill Watterson’s work in a way that’s hilarious, insightful, and a little scary or sad sometimes. Adults can get in the action too, though. Whether sledding in the woods at dizzying speeds or contemplating the meaning of life, Calvin and Hobbes are perfect together.

By examining how a child and his imaginary friend may view the world (with an appealing sense of both simplicity and naivete) we’re able to see things in a different light that can really put the mechanics of human life into a perspective that we may have long forgotten. And there’s plenty to put into perspective. The fact that the comic stars a six year old boy and his stuffed tiger doesn’t deter Watterson from commenting on some seriously heavy subjects. Calvin and Hobbes certainly live up to their real life historical namesakes. It’s funny how the parents really are the bad guys from Calvin’s morbid perspective, and we’re not sure if Hobbes is real or imaginary. But I suppose if he’s real to Calvin then he is real, isn’t he? From death and warfare to faith and the human condition, a plethora of subjects are examined that have been on the minds of humankind likely for more years than there are stuffed animals in any given neighbourhood. Perhaps the most prominent subject in the book though, is friendship. The world isn’t presented here as a land of gumdrops and rainbows, quite the opposite actually, but it is presented as a place that can be happily lived in so long as you’ve got a good friend by your side. Grab any Calvin & Hobbes collection, or just browse online, and you will see why Bill Watterson thrilled readers and comic fans all over the world with his satire. I still prefer Garfield, but these guys are just a whisker behind the lazy puss.



  1. That last comic had me laughing out loud! Great review, Calvin and Hobbes is a must-read for all comic fans. Bill Watterson is a genius at punchlines! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think Calvin and Hobbes is more valuable than just a comic strip.


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