Forever Calvin and Hobbes: Kristian Williams examines the beloved comic strip’s timeless appeal

Calvin and Hobbes off on another adventure (image (c) Bill Watterson via Kristian Williams)
Calvin and Hobbes off on another adventure (image (c) Bill Watterson via Kristian Williams)


there’s no such thing as too low and high art. There are creations that either speak to people or don’t. Part of what makes the strips so timeless was that you don’t need to understand the pop culture or political context of the late eighties and early nineties in order to enjoy it. There was a focus on asking questions and exploring ideas rather than commenting on current topics as comic strips often did. Waterson challenged readers on issues of gender inequality, religious identity, education, environmentalism, philosophy and so much more. He didn’t let those 2-inch panels restrict him to cheap gags or sloppy artwork. He used it as an opportunity to get people think outside the box or at the very least rethink how they thought inside it. Reading Calvin and Hobbes makes you want to be an artist, an explorer, a philosopher. A simple four panel strip can occupy your mind for entire day. It perfectly captures the complexities of a six year old’s imagination from the infinite possibilities of cardboard box to the heroic aspirations we all had as children. (excerpt via Laughing Squid (c) Kristian Williams)

There is something indescribably wonderful about Calvin and Hobbes.

Actually there are man, many things – the fully-fleshed out characterisations, the intricately-detailed, imaginative, beautiful artwork, the commentary on important social, moral and philosophical issues, the wry humour, the laugh-out loud funniness, the sheer joie de vivre, the accurately-portrayed vexing nature of growing up … the list goes and on …

And now Kristian Williams aka KaptainKristian has distilled many of them in his usual insightful, thoughtful fashion, discussing how Calvin and Hobbes has kept its inherent appeal and purity by finishing when its creator, Bill Watterson, wanted – it published its last strip in 1995 much to everyone’s dismay; in retrospect it was absolutely the right idea – and by not giving into the merchandising that has sullied some other strips.

He also looks at the mastery Watterson had over the small spaces allocated to his art, and how he often went so far as to ignore those constraints completely to everyone’s  benefit.

It’s a wonderfully articulate video essay that celebrates the iconic comic strip and many of the things that made it so special and it’s well worth watching a few times to make sure you have everything.

And you should most definitely sponsor Kristian via Patreon so he can continue to keep providing us with the sort of videos that make you think all over again why it is you love some facet of pop culture such as Pixar … or yes, Calvin and Hobbes.


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