No one could have predicted that a comic featuring a stuffed tiger and a mischievous kid would change the world, not even its creator. When Bill Watterson started doodling pictures of an imaginative little boy in the early 1980s, he did so simply as a way to distract himself from his boring advertising job. Little did he know his duo would revolutionize the comic industry and capture the hearts of nostalgic comic readers around the world.
Though Watterson publicly swore off comics for good in the winter of 1995, the writer may have changed his mind. According to reports coming out this week, Watterson secretly contributed a handful of comic strips to Pearls Before Swine, a weekly comic series created by Stephan Pastis. While I doubt Watterson, a recluse that could give JD Salinger a run for his money, plans on stepping back into the limelight, his sudden re-emergence reminded me how great his tiger-kid duo used to be. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, shall we? For funsies? (And for my aching, nostalgic heart?)
No one truly knows the importance of the little things until they’ve lounged on a grassy field in the middle of summer. At least, that’s what I took away from this strip, which puts the childish, naïve Calvin in all of us to shame.
For a first grader, Calvin has surprisingly deep thoughts about the universe. (At that age, I was more concerned with the functionality of my Easy Bake Oven and playground politics than the existence of other life forms.) Then again, what can you expect from two characters who were named after famous philosophers?
Unfortunately, higher education is not much different from kindergarten. Calvin probably figured this out eventually. After all, if he were real, he would be 35 years old. (This is, of course, assuming that he started aging in 1985 and did not defy the rules of time as we know it.) Feeling old yet?
Because I can’t include all of them, this strip represents the dozens of “snowman” scenes that showed up throughout the series. Any attempts to replicate Calvin’s expressive snowmen usually ended up looking like a botched Pinterest project. That was my experience, at least.
I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t include at least one space comic in this lineup. Calvin’s adventures as Spaceman Spiff serve as yet another reminder that my imagination has waned in my old age. I can barely entertain myself with an iPad for long periods of time, nevermind a textbook and a desk.
This was the last Calvin and Hobbes comic ever published, and I’d still argue that it’s one of the best. Not only are the two characters partaking in one of the series’ signature activities, but the message is so perfectly innocent and youthful, it encapsulates everything that Calvin and Hobbes stood for from the start.
Calvin and Hobbes ran for a total of 10 years, so to suggest that these are the only good strips out of all of them would be ludicrous. So tell me: what are your favorite Calvin and Hobbes moments? If we get enough, maybe Watterson would consider reviving the series. Or maybe we’d just have a thread of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. Either way, it’s a win-win.