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The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book (1995)

by Bill Watterson

Series: Calvin and Hobbes (Companion)

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3,887382,981 (4.63)16
A collection of comic strips depicting the adventures of Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes.
  1. 21
    Peanuts: A Golden Celebration: The Art and the Story of the World's Best-Loved Comic Strip by Charles M. Schulz (dtw42)
    dtw42: It's well known that Watterson considered Schulz a big influence. Both these books contain interesting introductions and commentaries alongside some of the strips, where the artist explains why some elements of the strips are the way they are. It's a nice insight into their minds.… (more)

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A collection of Calvin & Hobbes strips first published in 1995 to cerebrate the comic's tenth anniversary, featuring commentary from the cartoonist himself (a fairly rare thing from the notoriously reticent Watterson). Each strip (or set of strips) comes with a line or three about things like the inspiration, the art style, or the theme. There are also several pages of text in which he talks about the joys of cartoons as an art form and the disappointments and headaches of cartooning as a commercial enterprise, as well as laying out his reasons for never allowing officially licensed Calvin & Hobbes merchandise. Coming from anyone else, I suppose some of that might feel a bit pretentious, but by god, if anyone gets to talk about artistic integrity in comic strips, it's Watterson, who does indisputably practice real art and possess real integrity. I don't even have to talk about how funny, wise, irreverent, surprising, thoughtful, charming, profound, and delightfully silly C&H is, right? Everyone already knows this by now, right? And yet, somehow, coming back to it always surprises me all over again, especially in those moments when Watterson seems to tap into some combination of childhood nostalgia and an adult sense of the beauty and absurdity of life that spawns a feeling of deep recognition somewhere in my soul. Even, or perhaps especially, when that's interspersed with jokes about boogers or drawings of dinosaurs in fighter jets.

Rating: Yes, it's a collection of comics I've already read before with a few little bits of commentary. And yes, it still gets 5/5. Because it's Calvin and Hobbes. ( )
  bragan | Sep 20, 2023 |
This is the best comic strip I have ever read. A wise little boy, and his anthropomorphic pet tiger. The antics they got into, the wisdom and insight of Bill Watterson's subconscious. I learned so much by reading this as a child ( )
  zenseiii | Dec 13, 2022 |
I really like the setup for commentary here. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
My parents didn't subscribe to the newspaper, so I didn't have access to the comic strips as a kid. I would sometimes get access to compilations of comic strips the though (Garfield, Peanuts, etc.). It was in this venue that I first came across Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin's adventurousness and imagination was an inspiration for me and my friends. A few of my friends were obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, and had read every book. I enjoyed it, but wasn't a fanatic.

It being the summertime, I felt in the mood for something carefree, and found this on my shelf. It is a different Calvin and Hobbes, in that it includes lengthy musings and reflections by the author, Bill Watterson. Even though I was given this book as a child, I had only ever paged through reading the comics, so this was my first time reading the text. I realize now that much of the lore my friends would tell me about Watterson likely comes from this book.

Watterson talks extensively about the evolution of comics, and the newspaper medium in general. The book was published in 1995, and the pressures facing news and art back then almost sound quaint compared to current affairs.

Although Calvin can seem innocent in his naïveté, I now realize that he was a bad influence on me both in childhood and in adulthood. Watterson says that Calvin accurately represents many of childish tendencies that have endured through adulthood. I feel like this attitude—that old people aren't adult or mature, just old—permeates especially the outlook of privileged white men. Sure, it is possible for this to occur, but it is deeply saddening. Cultures throughout the ages have developed ceremonies and mythologies based on a path of maturation, and these are generally absent from Western convention.

Watterson also muses on the ways in which racism and other judgmental stereotypes enter comics to their detriment. Ironically, in this very book, there are some lengthy misogynist episodes involving Calvin and Susie.

I hadn't realized it until after I had finished reading this book, but apparently Watterson stopped the strip in 1995, after ten years, when he himself was in his late thirties. He hasn't done anything comparable since. ( )
  willszal | Aug 2, 2020 |
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Grandpa says the comics were a lot better years ago when newspapers printed them bigger.
Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A collection of comic strips depicting the adventures of Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes.

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