Comic Review – “Calvin and Hobbes”

I hope this is just the first step in getting caught
up to date on my comic reviews.

General Information

Title: Calvin and Hobbes

Credited to: Bill Watterson

Original Publication Date: 1987 collection, but the
text implies
(through a mention of Halley’s Comet) that it part of
it was published
in newspapers in 1986.

ISBN: 0-8362-2088-9

Cover Price: $10.95 US, $16.95 Can

Buy from:

Past comic reviews can be found here.


A young boy with a energy, imagination, and a stuffed
tiger does
anything that people haven’t told him to do.

This is the first collection, starting with Calvin
getting Hobbes.

High Point

“Hi Dad! It is now three in the morning. Do you
know where I am?”

Low Point

Sunday strips are reproduced in black and white
instead of color.

The Scores

This was one of the most original comic
strips I’ve ever
read. There’s a lot of intelligence and deep thought
involved, which
you’d expect when you learn that the characters were
named after
philosophers. Calvin is a believable child, who
lives in a remarkable
fantasy world, and has some great insights into the
world we live in.
Add to that some incredibly funny stuff, and you’ve
got one of the
greatest strips ever published. I give it 6 out of

The artwork is pretty good. There are
points you can
criticize, but the level of detail is impressive for
a newspaper
publication, where you have to worry about
reproduction quality from
most of your distributors. I give it 5 out of 6.

The stories aren’t always the one-shot gags,
often moving
into several weeks, such as the family vacation. The
Sunday strips
often have plot in them, as well. For the medium,
it’s very
impressive. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization is clear, taking a
matter of days or
weeks to give the reader a good feel for the major
players, including
Calvin, Hobbes, Calvin’s parents, Miss Wormwood,
Susie Derkins, and
Rosalyn the babysitter. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is excellent. This
strip rarely fails
to make me laugh. The test of relativity, his
fishing techniques, and
his avoidance of bath time are always classic. (This
predates the
snowmen.) I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is generally good, disrupted only
by the occassional
Sunday strip that interrupts a storyline. I give it
5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a classic strip, for some
great reasons.
It’s a must own for anyone with a vague interest in
comic strips.
This is not only very entertaining, but it’s one of
the most
influential strips that has ever been published, and
this is where it
all starts. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Calvin and Hobbes receives 38 out
of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

GrimSean was the only one who offered a preferred
sequence, so the
next comic review will be of Ultimate Spider-Man
and the
entire Ultimate Six miniseries. After that,
I’ll start
catching up on Ultimate X-Men, Fantastic
Alias, and Exiles reviews, as well
as another
Ultimate Spider-Man review. On Wednesday,
ships again, so I should be able to
catch up on those
reviews shortly.

4 replies on “Comic Review – “Calvin and Hobbes””

  1. A comic book I own!
    I usually don’t own any of the comic books mentioned on this page (too expensive to buy in my country) but Calvin and Hobbes is something I collect. I remember Waterson mentioning the “how Calvin got Hobbes” strip was unnecessary, and “jumping right in” would have fit the mood of the strip perfectly.

  2. One of the Best

    I loved Calvin and Hobbes from the first time I saw it. Calvin is so much more like a real kid than most of the insipid comic kids (Peanuts, Family Circus, etc.).

    The saddest part of the C&H story has to be Watterson’s premature retirement, alledgedly because of pressure from the syndicate to allow the sort of hideous over-marketing best exemplified by Jim Davis with Garfield (why is that strip still running?!).

    There are rumors afloat that Watterson may be back, under the name Jef Mallett, writer/artist of Frazz.
    I’m not sure I buy it — the artwork in Frazz is somewhat reminiscent of Watterson’s work, but it’s a much soberer strip (at least the ones I’ve read).

    You be the judge.

    • Re: One of the Best

      You be the judge.

      I can see why. Thanks – you’ve given me another comic to add to my daily read.

    • Re: One of the Best

      There are rumors afloat that Watterson may be back, under the name Jef Mallett, writer/artist of Frazz.
      I’m not sure I buy it — the artwork in Frazz is somewhat reminiscent of Watterson’s work, but it’s a much soberer strip (at least the ones I’ve read).

      I’ve been reading Frazz for a couple of months now. I’ve noticed a similarity between the two as well, but just figured that he was influenced by Watterson as much as the rest of the comic reading world was. I found pictures of both Watterson and Mallett, I don’t know if it will douse the rumours more than inflame them though.
      Here’s Mallett and here’s Watterson.
      You can find more pics of Watterson through Google.
      They seem to have the same chin and nose, hairline seems about right, kind of hard to tell if the nose is the same. Shave the mustache off of Watterson and put him in a different pair of glasses, grey his hair out…scary.
      But Mallett’s been around since at least 1990,
      so I still don’t buy that they’re the same guy. Plus, here’s a denial from Mallett himself. Of course, there’s that old saying, “Don’t believe anything until it’s been officially denied”…

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