The World Became a little less bright
Twelve years ago today, the world became a little more sober place. Twelve years ago, a tiny corner of joy was extinguished for millions of readers of the daily comic strip, "Calvin and Hobbes".
Twelve years ago, the last Calvin and Hobbes episode appeared. The strip, created by Bill Watterson, was a small window on human nature.
We felt much the same way when G. Larsen's Far Side ended earlier in the same year. One year and two of our constant daily companions were gone. The daily comics page hasn't been the same since.
C&H had been out for awhile before we were converted, but once a convert, it quickly became a daily habit to find, no matter what the location, a newspaper to check out Calvin and Hobbes.
Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip written and illustrated by Bill Watterson, following the humorous antics of Calvin, an imaginative six-year old boy, and Hobbes, his energetic and sardonic—albeit stuffed—tiger.
The pair are named after John Calvin, a 16th century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th century English political philosopher. The strip was syndicated daily from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995. At its height, Calvin and Hobbes was carried by over 2,400 newspapers worldwide. To date, more than 30 million copies of the 18 Calvin and Hobbes books have been printed.
After delighting readers all over the world, Waterson sent this letter to newspaper editors who carried Calvin and Hobbes in 1995.
"I will be stopping Calvin and Hobbes at the end of the year. This was not a recent or an easy decision, and I leave with some sadness. My interests have shifted however, and I believe I've done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises. I have not yet decided on future projects, but my relationship with Universal Press Syndicate will continue.
That so many newspapers would carry Calvin and Hobbes is an honor I'll long be proud of, and I've greatly appreciated your support and indulgence over the last decade. Drawing this comic strip has been a privilege and a pleasure, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity."
Fans hoping Watterson would have a change of heart were greeted 12 years ago today by the following.
The 3,160th and final strip ran on Sunday, December 31, 1995. It depicted Calvin and Hobbes outside in freshly-fallen snow, reveling in the wonder and excitement of the winter scene. "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy... Let's go exploring!" Calvin exclaims as they zoom off on their sled, leaving, according to one critic ten years later, "a hole in the comics page that no strip has been able to fill."
As the comment on our sidebar states so eloquently:
In 1995, Cartoonist Bill Watterson ends his "Calvin & Hobbes" comic strip.
Possibly the darkest day in American history.
After thinking about it, we agreed. When the comic ended, we remembered feeling a little sad and a little emptier. It really was a little like someone you knew had passed away.
Somehow, one line in DBKP's "Today in History" didn't seem enough. Maybe a moment of silence was called for.
We really liked Calvin and Hobbes. It doesn't seem like twelve years ago.
Sometimes it seems like a whole lot longer.
* Wikipedia: Calvin and Hobbes
We got this comment from pat:
"There were two types: the humanistic and the socio/political. Here is a selection of the latter:"
He then dropped a link at the Progressive Boink "25 Great Calvin and Hobbes Strips: Why Bill Watterson is our Hero". Here's how PB starts out:
Hundreds of comic strips have been published in newspapers. The majority are terrible, and almost all the rest are mediocre. There have been maybe four or five good comic strips in the history of the world. So saying that Calvin and Hobbes is the best comic strip ever doesn't really hold a lot of weight.
They then present their picks. It gave us an excuse to feature one last look at C&H.
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Time for a trip to my library for some Calvin and Hobbes.
The best thing about winter used to be the Calvin and Hobbes "Weird Snowmen" strips. There were 100's of them over the years and we loved every one of them. Someone else here must have liked them as well as we did.
RidesAPaleHorse sent in some seasonal Calvin and Hobbes. And the snowmen might have been the favorite part of Calvin and Hobbes. So we're going to put these up for easy reference. Bill Watterson should release a book of nothing but Calvin and Hobbes Snowmen strips.
[Click on images to enlarge.]
As we said before, it's time for a trip to our Calvin and Hobbes Library.
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.