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Abstract

A fun little article which introduces Bill Watterson's famous comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, and suggests that the reader consider spending some free time reading the strip. No sources are cited because the information is just general knowledge at this point.

The Magical World of Calvin and Hobbes

“How can you have any fun acting cool when you can’t wear a sombrero?” Thus wonders a stuffed tiger names Hobbes in my favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. Written with both brilliant intellectual wit and truthful, down-to-earth humor, Calvin and Hobbes surpasses the pinnacle of typical comic strips. Its readability and common-sense approach to the world’s events rightly earned it eight Harvey awards, making this beloved comic strip the benchmark of comic excellence. My favorable experiences and memories of reading this comic have convinced me that those who wish to improve their recreational reading experience should read Calvin and Hobbes.

 
To more fully appreciate Calvin and Hobbes’s value as recreational reading, one must understand the genius that brought it into existence. Born in Washington, D.C., on July 5, 1958, Bill Watterson started his cartooning career at an extremely slow pace. He received odd jobs writing cartoons here and there, but he made little progress until he masterminded Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson released his first Calvin and Hobbes comic on November 18, 1985, and from there his fame spread like wildfire. For ten bright years, Calvin and Hobbes endeared itself to American readers until Bill retired in 1995. Interestingly, much of Calvin and Hobbes reflects Watterson’s life. For instance, Watterson loved to ride wagons during his childhood and created a recurring theme in the comic strip where Calvin ponders philosophical questions about life while zooming down a steep hill in his wagon. But most importantly, people loved Bill Watterson himself for his optimistic, jocular personality, which shines through every Calvin and Hobbes comic. “Bill was a living comic strip,” stated his fans. One can see the truth in this statement by appreciating the genius of Bill Watterson.

Those considering Calvin and Hobbes as an addition to their recreational reading must also understand the main characters. Six-year-old Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes both symbolize two different personalities that Watterson believes most people, including him, possess. Hobbes the tiger displays a literal, intellectual, philosophical personality, whereas Calvin the six-year-old exhibits a down-to-earth, simple-minded, imaginative personality. Calvin possesses both personalities at all times, but when the gears of his six-year-old imagination start turning and his stuffed tiger Hobbes comes to life, the intellectual personality separates itself from Calvin and enters Hobbes. For example, in one strip Calvin decides to ride his wagon down a steep hill at high speed because he thinks that will cause him to time-warp into the future. When he and his tiger Hobbes finally reach the bottom of the hill, Hobbes literally states, “Humph! We’re not in the future. I’m disappointed.” Calvin, on the other hand, glances at his watch and exclaims, “It’s two minutes later than when we started! We’re in the future!” These two contrasting personalities create a substantial amount of the humor in Calvin and Hobbes, and a thorough understanding of them helps the reader extract more enjoyment from his reading.

Most importantly, Calvin and Hobbes should form a part of anyone’s recreational reading because it provides lucid, quality enjoyment for all ages. In its layout, Calvin and Hobbes encourages the reader to think in order to find the humor, rather than just laying out the laughs. Additionally, the strip often communicates complex humor using simple ideas and words, allowing its younger readers to partake of the laughter as much as their older counterparts. And above all, Calvin and Hobbes incorporates important truths and timeless morals into its pages, brightening its audience’s day and reminding them of both the daily struggles that all people face and the daily victories against those struggles that people achieve. These characteristics have placed the beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes close to the hearts of its many devoted readers.

Throughout the years, comic strips have come and gone, but Calvin and Hobbes leaves an indelible impression upon those whose eyes explore its pages. I hope that through this essay, the reader has gained a more complete understanding of Bill Watterson and the magical world he created through Calvin and Hobbes – a world that, once he enters, the reader wishes never to leave. For those wishing to make their recreational reading an experience they will never forget, Calvin and Hobbes keeps the reader amused while teaching the consequences of right and wrong actions. To those who truly appreciate its values, Calvin and Hobbes acts like a friend who can always help to brighten one’s day. So why not make a new friend in Calvin and Hobbes? Recreational reading will assume an exciting new twist, and the reader may even discover if he can really have any fun by not wearing a sombrero.

Literature | Comic Strips | Opinion


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