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Born out of the love for cartoons, American cartoonist Bill Watterson's, Calvin and Hobbes continues to entertain millions of people across the globe with its ability to bring a smile to the readers, even years after it was created. The daily comic strip about Calvin and Hobbes became a hit, with the readers instantly falling in love with the main characters Calvin, the 6 year old mischievous boy and his pet stuffed tiger Hobbes. Set in the American suburbs, Calvin and Hobbes revolve around the life of Calvin, his friendship with Hobbes and relationship with his family and friends. The humorous take by Calvin and Hobbes on issues like environmentalism, education and philosophy has gained immense popularity and interest among the masses. Calvin and Hobbes strips have appeared in text books for science, maths, social sciences and philosophy with some of the Calvin and Hobbes books being recommended to be taught in schools.
Calvin is portrayed as an outgoing kid dressed in a red and striped shirt, black pants and white and magenta sneakers. His partner Hobbes, the striped tiger steals the reader's heart as much as Calvin. Calvin fails to perform well in school, but impresses everyone with his wit and intelligence. On the other hand, Hobbes, the stuffed toy tiger, continues to entertain people with his amusing ideas and sarcasm. Hobbes is portrayed to have a dual nature. For Calvin, Hobbes is no less than a real life tiger. But in most parts the readers see him as the stuffed toy tiger. Susie Derkins, another prominent character, is the polite and studious classmate cum neighbour who lives on the same street as them. Their lives toggle with the commonalities that they hate to admit and the emotions they have towards each other.
The two member club named GROSS, read as get rid of slimy girls founded by Calvin and Hobbes is located on the tree house adjacent to Calvin's house. Calvin plays the role of the dictator of the club whereas Hobbes plays that of the honourable President and the first tiger. The club at the tree house is a witness to their frequent fights and patch ups and a place also where strategies are planned against Susie.
The thoughtful conversation that Calvin has with his mom and dad, throws light on the bumpy side of their relationship. Like all parents, they sometimes find it hard to raise their son into an obedient one. His dad very often tells sarcastic lies and denies the fact that he is their biological son. Having said that, their love for Hobbes is also worth mentioning. Calvin's mom once wished for another tiger instead of Calvin. Rosalyn, Moe, Mrs Mormwood, Mr Spittle and Uncle Max are some of the other interesting characters who bring out the best and worst in Calvin. The spirit of companionship is cherished in the relationship of Calvin and Hobbes. More often than not, the cartoonist has thrown light on the love both Calvin and Hobbes share, for an instance once by promising to never leave each other no matter what.
True to its name, very often the readers find Hobbes as an extension of Calvin's nature. The series takes us on a humorous ride through Calvin and Hobbes adventures. Many times in the comic strip, we have seen how Hobbes has tried to pacify or on the other hand tries to warn Calvin from doing some of his impulsive acts with his sarcasm. But, not Calvin, the boy with no restraint gets into trouble. The writer has kept it a mystery till date on the duo had met, but in some strips, has hinted on how Hobbes was around even before Calvin's birth. In fact in one strip baby Calvin is shown playing with Hobbes. From playing Calvinball with the ever changing rules, to building snowmen shadowed by a dark humorous theme, Calvin and Hobbes have the time of their lives. Switching between the wagon and the sled as the seasons come and go by, their rides backed by a tinge of philosophical thinking very often ends in crashes. Calvin and Hobbes enjoy the ride so much that one of them hops off before the ride begins.
Calvin and Hobbes also takes us through the roller coaster ride of Calvin's imaginations like elephants, dinosaurs and super heroes. His imagination runs far and wild. Sometimes characters appear as his imaginary friends or extensions of his own character. His alter egos also play a prominent part in the series. As spaceman Spiff, one of his prominent alter egos he battles aliens with his ray gun and travels to planets in the spaceship. His imaginary aliens often ranges from his teachers to friends to parents. As Tracer Bullet, the private eye, he solves mysteries with the help of eight slugs. As the stupendous man, he is a super hero in disguise. As the latter he narrates his own adventures where in most cases he suffers defeat in the hand of his opponents. Cardboard boxes are Calvin's prominent adventure mate often resizing and reshaping itself into different forms according to his wants.
The first strip came out in the November of 1985 and Calvin and Hobbes became immensely popular among children and grownups alike. In December 1985, Calvin and Hobbes bid goodbye to the readers with Calvin dashing off his sled in the freshly fallen snow with Hobbes, exclaiming "It's of course a magical world, Hobbes, ol' Buddy, Lets go Exploring. Another aspect worth mentioning is that Calvin and Hobbes is something worth mentioning is how the series was able to capture the attention of people across the globe. The conscious decision of the cartoonist to not bring out merchandise or animation of any kind brought sadness to the readers Even though many cartoonists and writers have tried to bring life into a grown up version of Calvin, the original series is a class apart. Calvin and Hobbes have managed to keep our spirits high decades after it came out and that is something to be cherished for long!!
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