Sunday, August 27, 2006

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes was arguably the best comic strip of its time. Some may say it was the greatest comic of all time. Created by Bill Watterson, the strip focused on a mischievous six year old boy named Calvin and his stuffed toy tiger Hobbes who, through the power of Calvin's imagination, came to life. The two were inseparable best friends who went exploring together, played together and often got into trouble together, although in reality it was really only Calvin who got into trouble since everyone else (those with no imagination) saw Hobbes for what he really was, an inanimate toy that Calvin pretended was a real tiger.The difference between others' and Calvin's perspectives were illustrated beautifully by Watterson. When drawing only Calvin and Hobbes in a panel, Hobbes was seen as a live tiger. Anytime anyone else was within view of Calvin and Hobbes, the tiger was viewed as a lifeless toy. To Calvin, he was as real as his wild imagination let him be.

Constantly getting on his parents' nerves seemed to be a hobby for Calvin. As a matter of fact, getting on everyone's nerves seemed to be a full time job of his. Nobody was safe. His babysitter Rosalynn, his classmate Susie Derkins, Miss Wormwood his teacher,Moe the bully, all had their patience pushed to the limit in numerous and hilarious ways.

Watterson's unique style of artwork was often awe-inspiring and no more so than when he was illustrating one of Calvin's many adventures. Whether it be as Spaceman Spiff, Stupendous Man or his many encounters with dinosaurs, nobody put more action into a single static panel than Bill Watterson (Berke Breathed of Bloom County fame may argue)and then flood it with his lush watercolours to bring the whole strip to life and have it jump off the comics pages. Since his retirement in 1995 nobody has come close to him.

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