Art, Books, Family

Of The Wonderful Magical World of Calvin and Hobbes

It is still January, so this seems applicable here:)

Calvin and Hobbes – They make their appearance on my blog regularly, in many Top Ten posts. This six year old and his friend are philosophers in disguise, and Watterson had named them based on two philosophers. In Watterson’s own character descriptions – ‘Calvin, after a sixteenth-century theologian who believed in predestination; and Hobbes, after a a seventeenth-century philosopher with a dim view of human nature.’

Both my brother and I share a love of reading, and comic series like Asterix, Tintin, Indrajal comics, Amar Chitra Katha are among our favorites. This series is no different – we love it. Unlike the others however, this was something we did not grow up reading but rather discovered and grew to love it while on two different continents, and as adults ourselves! And this is a great favorite of my kids as well. So my goal is someday to gift us all ‘The Complete Calvin and Hobbes‘!

The last Calvin and Hobbes strip appeared Dec 31, 1995, and today,  more than 20 years later, it continues to be hugely popular, and totally loved. It definitely has that timeless endearing quality to it. With no pop-culture or specific current event references anywhere, yet touching upon problems people face (anywhere, anytime), the fun things kids of all ages can do (anywhere, anytime), among other things makes this comic relevant, well, anywhere, anytime!!  Bill Watterson, while capturing that timeless quality, also managed to capture the attention of humans of all ages with this duo.

In one of his rare interviews, Watterson remarks “I try to explore as diverse a world as I’m capable of.” And, through the titular duo of Calvin and Hobbes, he did exactly that – spilling out life lessons one day, while another might see us hurtling down a hill in a tobbogan not knowing our destination! In a few panels, Bill Watterson managed to pack a whole lot – friendship, family, reality, imagination, alter-egos (well, super-alter-egos), warmth, sarcasm, life’s other bare necessities and more!!

Some interesting facts for you:

  • While Watterson refused to merchandise Calvin and Hobbes, there were a few exceptions he made (of course, all the anthologies), including the two below:
    • One was a limited edition textbook called simply ‘Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes’. If you choose to buy it, however, note that it will set you back quite a bit – the current price on Amazon is $2900. Or you could look for it in a library (and not too many libraries carry it, since there were only so many copies printed). Watterson allowed this since the authors approached him with the request to publish this book that would allow them to use the comics to teach children with learning disabilities.

” It makes no sense to allow someone to make Hobbes into a stuffed toy for real, and deprive the strip of an element of its magic.” – Bill Watterson

  • Bill Watterson started his career (short-spanned though it was) as a political cartoonist – for six months at the Cincinnati Post. He was fired from that position, and he stated that this experience was in hindsight, a good thing, as that led him on the road to something different. I am glad too, else, would we have known Calvin and Hobbes? That would have been a much duller world indeed…
  • Susie Derkins is the only important character in this to have a first and last name. Derkins was the name of a beagle who belonged to his in-laws, and Susie herself is drawn to look like his wife, Melissa, as a child.
  • As a child, he drew inspiration from classic cartoonists, including the ‘Peanuts’ creator, Charles Schulz and ‘Pogo”s Walt Kelly
  • While he never returned to reviving Calvin and Hobbes, he did return to newspaper comics briefly – 3 comic strips, in fact – for a collaborative charity effort with ‘Pearls Before Swine’ creator Stephen Pastis.
  • Another painting of his was also sold for charity at auction – his painting of Petey Otterloop – for over $13000.
  • And if original artwork is what you are looking for, well, again, the price tag is high – one original artwork was sold a few years ago at auction for over $200k.

Calvin and Hobbes truly brings out that kid in all of us – the one whose world has no limit, its boundaries extending as far as our imaginations! We get insights into life, into being a kid, a friend, an explorer, an ‘imaginator’, an out-of-the-box-thinker, and yes, a parent (as for that, I do tend to do my share of sarcastic comebacks to the kids, and they go, ‘moooommmmm’, reading ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ might have seeped into me just a bit, I believe).

I have drawn inspiration from this duo, literally!! My attempts to capture a bit of the magic for myself and our current collection of the duo’s antics…

I leave you with some life lessons from this cool duo (from gocomics)…

On Parenting, and Kids on Parents and for more parenting, click here:



Sarcastic Parenting: (my kids are at the receiving end of this often!)

On friendship:

Calvin and Hobbes Friendship

On …well, see for yourself (and this was years before Instagram!):

On the value of things:


So, what do you say? Let us go exploring??!!! Yea….


This post goes towards UBCJust Jot It JanuaryABC Wednesday‘s round 22 – letter C (my theme for ABC Wednesday’s Round 22, as you might have already guessed, is children’s books – I will pick one popular (and sometimes the not so popular/the unknown) book – classic/modern/old/new… – and write about it – be it a backstory or facts or something else completely). While this is not exactly a book, or did not start out that way, we now have The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, and so many other published anthologies, and not to forget, I totally adore the two!


16 thoughts on “Of The Wonderful Magical World of Calvin and Hobbes

  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I think we bought some of those books for our children. I wonder where they are now. They must have taken them with them when they left home. Not a bad manual for how to live life.
    Blog on !

  2. Wow, this post was amazing! So much information I didn’t know before and it was funny, too. I always tended more toward Peanuts, Cathy and Garfield if I was reading the comics. My mom bought me a Peanuts bedding set and then in college, I bought myself a Garfield poster for my dorm room. Thanks for introducing me to Calvin and Hobbes. 🙂

  3. I’m a Calvin and Hobbes fan, too. I was sad when Watterson decided to end the strip, as well as inspired that Watterson knew it was time for Calvin and Hobbes to say good-bye. Whenever I read Calvin and Hobbes, like today, thank you very much, it’s almost like it’s the first time. His work is timeless. Thanks for the tribute to him and his characters.

  4. I’ve never heard of Calvin and Hobbs. But loved reading comics as a kid. I think Tintn has survived the ages. Both my kids enjoyed that.
    dropping by from ABCW

    1. 🙂 Peanuts – yes to Peanuts too.. have a long pending trip to the Schulz museum due (and planning it in the next couple of months).. it is just a couple of hours drive from here

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