The Tiger Strikes Again

Ten years after Bill Watterson called it quits on Calvin and Hobbs, the Washington Post examines why. And what made the comic strip so brilliant, anyway?

“Calvin and Hobbes,” the best kid strip since [Peanuts], worked on the conceit that Hobbes was a stuffed animal to everyone in the world but Calvin, an only child. Only when he and Calvin are alone in the panel does Hobbes spring to life — a tiger who walks on two feet, makes cheesecake grins at girls and appears to be more mature than Calvin by oh, about an hour and a half.

They wrestle, pull the covers back and forth at bedtime and make goofy faces at one another while sitting in the back seat of the family car — best friends of the type boys no longer have after age 12. The only other kids in the strip were Susie, who lived around the block, and Moe, the school bully. Calvin’s parents did not have names. They lived in a house that had a sort of American foursquare sensibility to it, in a nameless town that seemed lost on the Midwestern prairie. It all bespoke a certain Sunday-afternoon loneliness. (more)

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