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August 20, 2017

Calvin and Hobbes’ Birthday (Well, the creator’s anyway)

FeaturedImage-CalvinHobbesToday we celebrate the birthday of one of America’s greatest cartoonists, Bill Watterson. The creator of Calvin and Hobbes was born July 5th, 1958 in Washington DC.

Bill went to college for political science and his first job was as a political cartoonist but only lasted a couple of weeks. While creating advertising for grocery stores he created the characters Calvin and Hobbes – a nod to his poli-sci studies, John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes.

The comic ran in papers from November 18th, 1985 to December 31st, 1995 – Watterson ended the award winning run with a note.

Dear Reader:

I will be stopping Calvin and Hobbes at the end of the year. This was not a recent or an easy decision, and I leave with some sadness. My interests have shifted, however, and I believe I’ve done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises. I have not yet decided on future projects, but my relationship with Universal Press Syndicate will continue.

That so many newspapers would carry Calvin and Hobbes is an honor I’ll long be proud of, and I’ve greatly appreciated your support and indulgence over the last decade. Drawing this comic strip has been a privilege and a pleasure, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity.

Sincerely,
Bill Watterson

I have to admit, I cried when I read this at 14. As a blonde spikey haired kid with a crazy imagination Calvin and Hobbes was one of the main reasons I picked up the Sunday paper.

It wasn’t just because they were funny (they were), or touching (definitely), but because like The Simpsons I grew up with and because of them. Here’s just a couple of my favorite… (please post yours in the comments)

(Mike Yingling created a pretty cool Calvin and Hobbes search engine based on key phrases and things in the toons here.) All images are of course copyright of Bill Watterson – you can buy the collection of C&H here.
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1. The simplicity of these three panels and the framing… just pure genius. 

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2. The Snowmen… if you grew up in an area that had enough snow to make snowmen… admit it, you tried to make these…

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3. I loved Calvin’s social critique. 

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5. His ability to stop you on a Sunday morning just for a moment to consider life… before you went back to your frosted flakes. 
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6. I’m not sure, but I think Calvin might have been Edward Snowden. Just sayin’
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7. His ability to mock his parents.

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8. The end… I don’t think any other series, whether tv, movie, cartoon or comic has ended better. 

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Or did it? Dan and Tom Heyerman of the ‘Pants are Overrated’ strip created a far too short 4 comic series picking up with the idea that Calvin and Susie got married and had a kid named Bacon (guessing after Francis, the philosopher). Several other artists later picked up the idea. You can link through to all the other spin offs through this excellent AV Club (The Onion’s non-fiction side) articleScreen Shot 2013-07-05 at 2.56.54 AM

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11 Responses to “Calvin and Hobbes’ Birthday (Well, the creator’s anyway)”
  1. Moose Pucky says:

    Yo. Thanks for the great clips. My personal favorite that has been on my wall for years.

    Frame one C&H on sidewalk:
    “Let’s say life is this square of the sidewalk. Were born at this crack and we die at that crack.

    Frame two C&H:
    “Now we find ourselves somewhere inside the square, and in the process of walking out of it. Suddenly we realize our time in here is fleeting.”

    Frame three C:
    “Is our quick experience here pointless? Does anything we say or do in here really matter? Have we done anything important? Have we been happy? Have we made the most of these precious few footsteps?”

    Last Frame (night sky with moon crescent) C&H still on the sidewalk, with no words, still just pausing, gazing down at the sidewalk between the cracks.

  2. thatcrowwoman says:

    Calvin and Hobbes are alive and well in my high school library, just saying.
    We’ve got several compilations at home, also, too.

    Here’s a strip that popped up when I put Library in the search engine from Zach’s post:
    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1989/07/04

    Just a co-inky-dink that it came from a July 4 in the last millennium, eh?

    • mike from iowa says:

      It’s true ,I tell you. Those little wasps tackle tarantulas several times their own size. If those spiders could talk,”Oh Shit” would probably be their first and last communiques.

    • Zyxomma says:

      Good one!

  3. mike from iowa says:

    This suave and sophisticated Occidental from mainland iowa never paid attention until C and H were mentioned on the Mudflats.But then,I ignored my way through the 80’s and 90’s.

  4. Ed says:

    I was an aspiring cartoonist when I was a kid, and I drew dozens of C&H cartoons, hoping the magic would rub off. It never did. For some reason, this one was my favorite to draw. The simplicity of Calvin’s solution? My imagination running wild, filling in the actions of the guy on the other end of the phone? Could just be I hated taking phone messages when I was a kid (and, yes, I still do).
    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1990/11/12

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    http://www.angelfire.com/wa/zzaran/calvin.html
    I loved Calvin and Hobbes too! As did son and beloved nephew ( who was the living image of Calvin in so many ways ).
    Don’t have a favorite strip but have a special place in my heart for the snow art ones.
    The first year son couldn’t come home from university for Christmas because of a job, he sent a packet of photos, all of which were reconstructions/constructions of the snow art strips
    Best Christmas gift ever!
    Especially when I found out all the snowmen were only 6″-8″ tall , the tableaux covered a corner of the city park, and a half dozen C and H fans from town AND gown worked together to make my gift :-)
    Happy Birthday Mr Watterson!
    And thank you !

  6. Beaglemom says:

    I loved “Calvin and Hobbes.” My son loved “Calvin and Hobbes” so much that he named his first son, Calvin! I think that Bill Watterson is a magnificent artist with a wonderful understanding of human nature, both the child kind and the adult kind. And he also understands stuffed animals very well.

    • slipstream says:

      Wha . . . stuffed animals?

      I trust that you do not refer to a six foot tall, ferocious, sarcastic tiger, because then I would have to turn him loose on you.

      But I know how Hobbes is . . . he would probably think you are cute, and decline to tear you to shreds.

      • Beaglemom says:

        I have been a “mom” and “grandma” to various incarnations of Curious George so I am used to “stuffed” animals that have with more human traits than many people. I always loved how Hobbes was a genuine furry and feisty tiger when alone with but shifted to being a “stuffed” animal when anyone else was around. I think that our Georges did the same thing.

        • Beaglemom says:

          Oops. i think that Hobbes has been messing with my typing. It should be “that have more human traits” and “when alone with Calvin.” That Hobbes is really clever!

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