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A transmogrified ‘Calvin and Hobbes’
In the final Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, Calvin and his buddy Hobbes are tobogganing after a fresh snowfall. Calvin’s parting line: “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy … Let’s go exploring!”
And now for the good news: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (Andrews McMeel, $150) went on sale this week. It’s three volumes, weighs 23 pounds and has every single cartoon in the series.
Watterson, 47, writes in the introduction that since ending the comic strip, he is putting his energy “into painting and a similarly remedial study of music.”
Long ago, Watterson established that he valued his privacy. He still doesn’t give interviews. And unless it’s contraband, his characters can’t be found on coffee mugs or T-shirts. Several years into his comic strip, after a syndication struggle, he won the right to refuse to license Calvin and Hobbes.
“I didn’t think greeting cards, T-shirts or plush dolls fit with the spirit or the message of my comic strip,” he writes.
The comic strip, which is considered one of the all-time greats, ran from Nov. 18, 1985, to Dec. 31, 1995, in about 2,500 newspapers worldwide.
The stars were the maniacal 6-year-old Calvin and his buddy Hobbes, a stuffed tiger that came to life when adults vanished and Calvin was present. In supporting roles: Mom and Dad, babysitter Rosalyn (the only semi-adult Calvin feared), teacher Miss Wormwood (named after the devil’s apprentice in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters), a bully named Moe and a little girl named Susie.
A typical snippet: The 8:30 a.m. Calvin greets the 6:30 a.m. Calvin, wanting to know whether his earlier self did the homework.
Calvin gave open rein to his imagination ó hallucinations might be a better word ó as Spaceman Spiff, for instance. Above all, he was devoted to playing, procrastination, Saturday mornings and Hobbes, his more thoughtful counterpart.