Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Things What Are Great #7 - Calvin And Hobbes

In a nutshell:- A young boy and his stuffed tiger have pretty standard adventures involving dinosaurs, space travel, duplicators, transmogrifiers and mutant snowmen. You know, the usual.

The Basics:- Bill Watterson's newspaper strip ran for just ten years from 1985 through to 1995 and yet is one of those things that seems to have been around forever. It revolves around the everyday life of Calvin, a slightly misfit and wildly over-imaginative six year old, who has a stuffed tiger called Hobbes that Calvin believes is as alive as he is. It's the sort of thing that could have been horribly twee and cloying and yet is far from it...

Why's It So Great Then?:- Watterson really succeeds in capturing the obsessions and pre-occupations of the six year old - incomprehensible games with rules only kids understand, fascinations with things that are both gross and slimy, a love of both pre-history and the future and mutant snowmen (never underestimate the appeal of mutant snowmen). It manages to be sweet and funny at the same time which is always a tricky act to pull off and, from time to time, pulls out the odd genuine moment of emotion. Plus the varying art styles he employs for Calvin's different fantasies are often extremely impressive - he draws a mean dinosaur and his alien landscapes are suitably weird and alieny.

Surely Some Of It Must Be Rubbish:- Seeing as he churned out a strip every day for the best part of a decade, yeah, sure, some of them don't quite work. But for someone asked to produce four to five panels of funny every day, his hit rate is satisfyingly high.

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?*:- This one should be relatively easy to track down - there are bound to be plenty of sites out there with online versions of the strips, there are individual collections and even a super snazzy hardback boxset which collects the full ten years in order. If you're a fan of comic strip humour then seek this one out. Quite frankly, it absolutely shits all over Garfield (not literally - that would horrible and nobody wants to see that).


* Yeah, still haven't come up with a decent title for this inevitably affirmative end section. Answers on a postcard, please.


6 comments:

Rachel Tamed said...

I finally moved all of my stuff out of storage over the weekend - and my Hobbes stuffed animal and my books, including many Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, are finally back with me! Good choice.

That Baldy Fella said...

Yeah, I'm looking at my collections on the shelf and contemplating dragging them down. I seem to have lost two of them, though, which is extremely annoying...

Diane said...

Oh, I LOVE me some Calvin and Hobbes! I have every book published and have gotten my 9-year-old into them. I'm am certain that if I had a boy, he would be Calvin.

J-Diggety said...

It keeps getting better and better... first the Muppets, now Calvin! What next?!?

You have impeccable taste, my baldy British bloggy amigo.

TishTash said...

I have a bunch of the books. I also have grown-up books, but sometimes, I just want to look at pictures.

Shh. This ruins my (imaginary) literary cred.

That Baldy Fella said...

Diane - Yeah, I would have been about 10 when I started reading them too.

J-Diggety - Gald you concur! Actually, I had a great idea for the next one last night and have now completely forgotten it...

TishTash - Conversely, this actually improves my (imaginary) literary cred.