The Artistry of Calvin & Hobbes
I stopped reading newspaper comics the last day they ran the final Calvin & Hobbes strip. Yes, I know one can find reruns everywhere, but since I own the hardback box set – all fifty pounds of it – every single episode – I can read them whenever the mood strikes.
No matter where MTM is in the house, when my Calvin & Hobbes laugh blows like a geyser, he knows exactly what I’m up to. Which episode are you reading? And is this the 3 millionth or the 4 millionth time? Please, at least STOP LAUGHING long enough to tell me.
The beauty of Bill Watterson‘s work, for me, was the dazzling use of color and the amount of drawing he devoted to a single episode of Spaceman Spiff. The gorgeous pictures tickled my eyes, but the stories captivated me. The sheer volume of words he created, so many of them situations where I found myself shrieking I remember when I did that!, made me worship him as a writer, too.
I found it preposterous that when he retired from comics he had to reinvent himself as a serious artist. He was already among the living artists I most revered. As belligerent as he has always been about licensing his work, I wonder whether he could break into newspapers today, whether his unwillingness to compromise his artistic vision would’ve robbed the world of one of the greatest comics strips of all time by a genius of an artist.
Do you have a favorite Calvin & Hobbes comic strip? Does some other comic make you shriek with laughter? Please share your selections today in a comment.
This post is the second installment in the series Eye of the Beholder, my wandering observations about works of art that speak to me. If this is your first visit to the series, please click here to catch up on the first post.