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HumpDayforHelen: Calvin and Hobbes December 3, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

A couple of months ago, I acquired The Complete Calvin and Hobbes—a heavy, hardcover boxed set. After a scheduled rereading of Huxley’s Brave New World and Island for discussion with friends, I renounced all other books until I’d read every strip through. I finished three nights ago and already feel uncertain as to where (readingwise) to turn next.

Calvin and Hobbes ran from 18 November 1985 to 31 December 1995, during which time Watterson took two nine-month sabbaticals (I remembered only one). Eight-a-half years of strips doesn’t sound like much until, while reading in bed, you are balancing one of the three volumes at the base of your rib cage in an effort to protect your soft organs and hoping that those lower ribs don’t crack.

I don’t mean to write a review of this book. I can tell you that for me, for the most part, the quality of the strip held up. What shocks me is how long ago it ended, which of course means that it was even longer ago that it existed. (I’m one of those people who thinks that the nineties were only one [not two] decade[s] ago.) Calvin and Hobbes was big during my early adulthood, when I was trying to get my shit together—or at least figure out how to not starve.

But here’s the feature of this edition that I most appreciate: The publication dates of the strips are included. That gave me both places to stop for the night (“OK, I’ll read until my birthday”) and a sense of time and memory of what had been going on in my life and the lives of those around me: jobs, residences, marriages, births, divorces, trends, politics. What happened in Calvin and Hobbes the day I started my favorite office job ever? What was happening in DC in those days, and who was I hanging out with? What was going on in the strip the day Tim moved to Vermont, eight months before I did? What happened the day I did?

I was more aware of tigers generally—the ones painted on the wall of the dojo where I take yoga class; my Chinese zodiac sign; tigers showing up in my Facebook feed for god-knows-what reasons. I basked in Calvin’s rants of utter selfishness, which was safer than indulging my own.

Mostly, I found that the complete run was a good tool in the fight against low-grade depression, which looms—like the monsters under Calvin’s bed—as the days get darker and darker and darker.

 The bookmark I used while reading Calvin and Hobbes, by a certain artist mentioned earlier in this blog.

The bookmark I used while reading Calvin and Hobbes, by a certain artist mentioned earlier in this blog.



1. Dona - December 4, 2014

I am surprised it only started in 1985. I thought it had been around a few years before that. I think that because I remember a little boy who lived on the street I lived on in 1985 that reminded a few neighbors of Calvin. I guess it went big quickly!

2. Mali - December 7, 2014

Only really vaguely know Calvin and Hobbes. I love though that you can track phases of your life through the comic strip.

Oh – and I’m a Year of the Tiger. I love tigers. I desperately want to go on a trip in India to see them in the wild, but I think the government is now discouraging this.

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