|Classic Calvin and Hobbes scenario|
I think my main reason for adoring it is because the strip’s creator Bill Watterson is a genius. I know people often use that word carelessly, but it is the strongest descriptor I have to represent my feelings for this man. Different people may have different views of what genius is but Bill Watterson often made me believe I was witnessing it in his work. My reasons? Watterson was able to take the deceptively simple life of a six year old and present complex messages in a way which were not obtrusive and obvious and which rang true whenever you read them.
You know sometimes, you see something clever, and you think, “I could have thought of that myself, but it is very good.” For me with Watterson I was more likely to think, “How did he possibly come up with that?” His ideas were amazing, and I felt awed and humbled when I saw them because I felt I could never have come up with a similar concept or present them humourously, not if I thought for a decade. Aren’t we supposed to be awed in the presence of genius? I know I often was.
|Maybe Bill Watterson had trouble with his creation after all.|
"Actually, I wasn't against all merchandising when I started the strip, but each product I considered seemed to violate the spirit of the strip, contradict its message, and take me away from the work I loved. If my syndicate had let it go at that, the decision would have taken maybe 30 seconds of my life."
While doing research for this post, I noticed that some people seemed to take issue with Watterson for making this decision, but I cannot fault him. While some people grumble now, quite a few I suspect would have been on his case about “selling out”. I find I have to admire someone who sticks to their principles, principles with noble motivations on top of that. I cannot grumble about that.
Of course, my real initial adoration for Watterson arises from his most popular creation. We all know them and love them.
|No one is safe from Calvin|
Hobbes – his inseparable and cheerful companion, Calvin’s other half. Sometimes a sensible friend; sometimes a wild beast; sometimes a cunning opponent
Mom and Dad – the down to earth parents, caught up in raising a son who they know very well and yet cannot know entirely
Susie – another lonely child, with a snap cracker strength
Roslyn – the dreaded and clever and able babysitter
The universal appeal of the strips is more than evident. Many people often express nostalgia for Calvin and Hobbes. The pages of the newspapers have not been the same since they left. Not only are they emptier, but even to an amateur like me, you can see other strips which draw from Watterson’s style and ideas. Clearly I’m not the only one who is awed by this man’s work. The fan art at the link below highlights the fact that Calvin and Hobbes may be gone, but they are still missed, and from some of the themes in the pictures, we see what people miss: the camaraderie between the boy and his friend, the uninhibited fun they used to have and the unlimited imagination which pervades their world.
What did you like best about Calvin and Hobbes? Do you miss them? What's your favourite Calvin and Hobbes comic strip? If you have a link to it, post it in the comments. And if C&H isn't your favourite comic strip, what is?