Cubist Calvinists & Tyrannosaurs in F-14’s

Why So Serious?
Calvin & Hobbes is perhaps the greatest comic strip of all time. Bill Watterson’s strip ran in syndication from 1985- 1995, which happened to almost perfectly coincide with my childhood. I read it in the paper every day for as long as I can remember reading anything not bound in brightly-colored cardboard. I mentioned a few posts back that Picasso’s Guernica and Hokusai’s The Great Wave were the two greatest touchstones of my development as an artist. That statement was categorically false. My bad. Calvin & Hobbes would have to top the list, no question. The strip managed to continually exhibit unrivaled reservoirs of imagination, wit, and vomit jokes. I can remember spending an inordinate amount of time in elementary school drawing my own mis-proportioned versions of Watterson’s Killer Snowmen, Slime Monsters, and Time Machine Duplicates. In fact, Calvin & Hobbes was probably my first exposure to the idea of Cubism (and described the style more succinctly that any art history professor I’ve seen.)
Cubist Calvinist
Adding to the value of the strip itself is the attitude of its creator, Bill Watterson. Refusing to go the route of numerous comic artists before him (I’m looking at you, Jim fucking Davis), Watterson refused any and all attempts to commodify and market the little boy and his stuffed tiger (and can you imagine the literal MOUNTAINS OF GREENBACKS that mass-produced Hobbes dolls would create?) Those “pissing Calvin” bumper stickers you see? All illegal appropriations (there’s that sticky word again.) Watterson is also a notorious recluse, refusing most requests for interviews or statements, though in October he did pen a very nice review of the Charles Schultz biography for the Washington Post. Sadly, not much of his work outside of Calvin & Hobbes has been exhibited. Luckily, this website features a collection of rare Watterson art, mostly culled from his days at Kenyon College and his short career as a political cartoonist. It gives a small glimpse at the immense talent behind the strip that served as the spark for thousands of imaginations (well, at least one.)
Tyrannosaurs in F-14s

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One Response to “Cubist Calvinists & Tyrannosaurs in F-14’s”

  1. Steve Says:

    You know, I never thought about it, but it is probably my one greatest influence as an artist as well. My parents and I used to go on vacation at the same place every year, and my favorite part by far was the visitor center store that sold Calvin and Hobbes books, and I got a new one every year for several years. I mean, I basically make comic strips now. I find honor in that comparison, but it bothers Lopas and Miller when I say that.
    Anyway, Calvin and Hobbes are very important to me in several different ways. Definitely have been a major influence on my life.

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