Slate did a great piece on one of my favorite comic strips ever, Calvin and Hobbes. The article bears the apt subtitle, “The last great newspaper comic strip.” Who could argue? Peanuts owns the old-school sentiment, The Far Side dominates pitch-perfect absurdism, Dilbert distills the dementia of corporate culture, and Doonesbury, venerable Doonesbury, continues, after all these years, to speak to power and the abuse thereof. But Calvin and Hobbes really hits me where I live.
Bill Watterson channeled the madness, magic, and mania of a 6-year old hellion like none other. The recent release of the enormous anthology, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes has offered occasion for critics and fans alike to revisit the inimitable antics of this precocious boy and his tiger. I know that I read the strips with different eyes at this point in my life. I’ve always loved the humor, sarcasm, creativity, and restless questioning of old assumptions. But now that I’m the father of my own rambunctious, mischievous little blond boy, the humanity and tenderness of Watterson’s work really hits home.
My irrepressible brother-in-law, Seth has a bit of the Calvin about him. Since I get most of the punch lines, I’m probably more of a Hobbesean character. We both agree, however, that the following, our favorite strip, is Calvin and Hobbes at its best. Mr. Watterson, you are a true genius.