Friday, May 25, 2007

Calvin and Hobbes

What do you do after a particularly insane conversation about dogs , drunkards and humongous lassos? But since this post has nothing to do with dogs, drunkards and lassos, humongous or otherwise you can conveniently forget about them. We'll talk about a pint sized genius, a sardonic lovable tiger, a transmongrifier, a flying time machine and the ten years of Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip created by Bill Watterson.

I don't know about you but as a kid I positively adored the newspaper. Amidst the gore, the scoreboards, crosswords and the stock market values was a page dappled with colour which the grown ups would hand down to me. Mickey grinned back from one corner while Dennis wisecracked from another. From the Garfield and Odie days I stepped up to Snoopy, Modesty Blaise and later the rather politicized Doonesbury. But if I had to chose from this morass of puns and punchlines and bell the most endearing cat in the block, it would have to be Calvin and Hobbes.

The strip ran from 1985 to 1995 and I sorely wish Watterson could come right back and sketch some more. Appearing in 24,000 newspapers worldwide and boasting of more than 30 million sold copies of the Calvin and Hobbes books, the strip almost instantly attracted popular imagination.

This one is the first strip featuring the rambunctious kid in striped red shirt. The namesake of the sixteenth century theologist John Calvin, this six year old is ingenious, curious, pixilated and outlandishly creative. Hobbes[ nomenclature from the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes] is for sidekicks, an accomplice in Calvin's imaginative escapades who swings between the extremes of being a stuffed tiger and a full grown arthropomorphic feline friend. If this schism bothers you, I suggest you read what the creator has to say about his work-

"When Hobbes is a stuffed toy in one panel and alive in the next, I'm juxtaposing the 'grown-up' version of reality with Calvin's version, and inviting the reader to decide which is truer...".

This is a medley of few of my personal favorites that I could ferret out through a google search.

This one killed me[I could not find the other Einstein strip where the kiddo says- "You know how Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"] What's rib tickling is the adorable way he goes around challenging established ideas, not genuflecting to theories and not letting textbooks think for him.

didn't think I would get lucky with this strip. I actually read it years back on some jhalmuri packet[btw, what do you call a thonga in English?] and was glad to rediscover it. See that grown-ups-can-be-so-stupid look on Calvin's face?

I could morph Calvin's face with mine. No further comments.

Will the victims of parental shrewdness please stand up? Whatever made you think those benign looking mortals are putty in your hands?

I wish I remembered more about Tracer Bullet, Stupendous Man and Spiff. But it's a babel up here and beyond vague impressions of amusement at various strips, I don't recall any individual piece that left me in splits. But there two jaunty, natty strips that I have to upload..


These are stuffs that drollery is made of-

By the way, did you know there was actually a strip which didn't feature Calvin, Hobbes, his dad, mom, Susie...anyone. I am trying to get this collector's piece and when i do I'll upload it. I'll leave you now with my favorite strip...

This is the last printed strip-

Ok, for those of you who didn't read it as folks who know poetry when they see one, are most welcome to post in your own favorite strips. Better still take this test, if you have time to kill-


Sayan said...

Brought back a wealth of old memories. :D

misa said...

trying to find that strip which had neither Calvin or Hobbes in it...