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Calvin and Hobbes – Art Before Commerce

May 23, 2016
756 Views

A look at the comic strip that elevated the medium.

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Music:
Flamingosis – Football Head
ProleteR – April Showers

Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip by American cartoonist Bill Watterson that was syndicated from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995. Commonly cited as “the last great newspaper comic,” Calvin and Hobbes has evinced broad and enduring popularity, influence, and academic interest.

Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonicstuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century Englishpolitical philosopher. Set in the contemporary, suburban United States, the strip depicts Calvin’s frequent flights of fancy and his friendship with Hobbes. It also examines Calvin’s relationships with family and classmates, especially the love/hate relationship between him and his classmate, Susie Derkins. Hobbes’ dual nature is a defining motif for the strip: to Calvin, Hobbes is a live anthropomorphic tiger; all the other characters see Hobbes as an inanimate stuffed toy. Though the series does not mention specific political figures or current events, it does explore broad issues likeenvironmentalism, public education, philosophical quandaries, and the flaws of opinion polls.

At the height of its popularity, Calvin and Hobbes was featured in over 2,400 newspapers worldwide. In 2010, reruns of the strip appeared in more than 50 countries, and nearly 45 million copies of the Calvin and Hobbes books had been sold.

William BoydBillWatterson II (born July 5, 1958) is an American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, which wassyndicated from 1985 to 1995. Watterson stopped drawing Calvin and Hobbes at the end of 1995 with a short statement to newspaper editors and his readers that he felt he had achieved all he could in the medium. Watterson is known for his negative views on licensing and comic syndication and his move back into private life after he was done drawing Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Chagrin Falls,Ohio, whose suburban Midwestern United States setting was part of the inspiration for Calvin and Hobbes.

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