Calvin and Hobbes turn 23
The Bill Waterson characters Calvin and Hobbes are celebrating today their 23rd birthday. Even though they have passed the adolescent age, they continuing behaving like little kids with too much energy, too much imagination, and a lot of ideas to put their skills in practice.
Named after the 16th-century theologian, Calvin is an impulsive, sometimes overly creative, imaginative, energetic, curious, intelligent, often selfish, and sometimes bad-tempered six-year-old, whose last name is never mentioned in the strip. Despite his low grades, Calvin has a wide vocabulary range that rivals that of an adult as well as an emerging philosophical mind:
Calvin: "Dad, are you vicariously living through me in the hope that my accomplishments will validate your mediocre life and in some way compensate for all of the opportunities you botched?" Calvin's father: "If I were, you can bet I'd be re-evaluating my strategy." Calvin (later, to his mother): "Mom, Dad keeps insulting me."
He commonly wears his distinctive red-and-black striped shirt, black pants, and white and magenta sneakers. He is also a compulsive reader of comic books and has a tendency to order items marketed in comic books or on boxes of his favorite cereal, Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs. Calvin chews gum regularly and subscribes to a magazine called Chewing, which contains lots of hardcore data about chewing gum. Throughout the series, he is also revealed to be a "trial and error" sort of person. Watterson has described Calvin thus:
- "Calvin is pretty easy to do because he is outgoing and rambunctious and there's not much of a filter between his brain and his mouth."
- "I guess he's a little too intelligent for his age. The thing that I really enjoy about him is that he has no sense of restraint, he doesn't have the experience yet to know the things that you shouldn't do."
From everyone else's point of view, Hobbes is Calvin's stuffed tiger. From Calvin's point of view, however, Hobbes is an anthropomorphic tiger, much larger than Calvin and full of independent attitudes and ideas. But when the perspective shifts to any other character, readers again see merely a stuffed animal, usually seated at an off-kilter angle. This is, of course, an odd dichotomy, and Watterson explains it thus:
When Hobbes is a stuffed toy in one panel and alive in the next, I'm juxtaposing the "grown-up" version of reality with Calvin's version, and inviting the reader to decide which is truer.
Hobbes' true nature is made more ambiguous by episodes that seem to attribute real-life consequences to Hobbes's actions. One example is his habit of pouncing on Calvin the moment he arrives home from school, an act which always leaves Calvin with bruises and scrapes that are evident to other characters. In another incident, Hobbes manages to tie Calvin to a chair in such a way that Calvin's father is unable to understand how he could have done it himself. Yet another incident features Hobbes leaving Calvin hanging by the seat of his pants from a tree branch above Calvin's head.
Hobbes is named after the 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who had what Watterson described as "a dim view of human nature". Thomas Hobbes' most famous work is titled Leviathan, in which his description of the human condition also mirrors a physical description of Calvin as "… nasty, brutish, and short". Hobbes (the tiger) is much more rational and aware of consequences than Calvin, but seldom interferes with Calvin's troublemaking beyond a few oblique warnings – after all, Calvin will be the one to get into trouble for it, not Hobbes. Hobbes is sarcastic when Calvin is being hypocritical about things he dislikes.
Although the first strips clearly show Calvin capturing Hobbes by means of a snare (with a tuna sandwich as the bait), a later comic (August 1, 1989) seems to imply that Hobbes is, in fact, older than Calvin, and has been around his whole life. Watterson eventually decided that it was not important to establish how Calvin and Hobbes had first met
You should keep always an eye on those guys because you can't imagine the things that happen when they are not being supervised. Check what he is doing today.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS!!!