Wednesday is the 30th anniversary of the first “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip, the beloved cartoon series by Bill Watterson that featured the friendship between a young boy and a tiger. “Calvin and Hobbes” ran for about 10 years, concluding Dec. 31, 1995, but not before it spawned a passionate readership and appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers. Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes” books have sold more than 30 million copies and resonated with readers all over the world.
The first strip appeared Nov. 18, 1985. In it, Calvin catches Hobbes, whom readers later learn he sees as a real tiger and everyone else views as a stuffed animal. "I think that's how life works," Watterson once said. "None of us sees the world exactly the same way, and I just draw that literally in the strip. Hobbes is more about the subjective nature of reality than about dolls coming to life."
The artist went off the grid after "Calvin and Hobbes," later called "America's Most Profound Comic Strip," concluded. He very selectively licenses products -- those peeing Calvin stickers you see on pickup trucks are not quite legal -- and rarely gives interviews. In a book released earlier this year, Watterson said he was surprised at the comic strip's continued success.
"I honestly assumed that the books would go out of print within a few years, once they didn’t have the strip in the newspaper to create the readership for them," he said. "But people kept buying the books anyway, and now parents are showing them to their kids, and a new generation is coming up reading the strip. That’s something I never anticipated at all."
All "Calvin and Hobbes" books for sale through the series' publisher, Andrews McMeel, are 30 percent off this month with the promo code CALVIN30. But if you just want the highlights, here are a few of our favorite installments.
The first strip gave readers history:
Today is the first strip of Calvin and Hobbes's birthday pic.twitter.com/Te6XNTB6y8
— Pillow (@joelpillow) November 18, 2014
Others were deep:
Life is too short to grow up fast! _ pic.twitter.com/TkK3QvwDPN
— Calvin and Hobbes (@Calvinn_Hobbes) November 11, 2015
Some focused on life’s little pleasures:
I got my wish! pic.twitter.com/xaD40gsdXV
— Calvin and Hobbes (@Calvinn_Hobbes) November 6, 2015
This one is simply timeless:
20 years later, a Calvin and Hobbes strip is right on point – again! pic.twitter.com/NLv0Xoxdhv
— Ulrik Stoch Jensen (@ulrikstoch) September 11, 2015
A few were honest:
— Ashish Jha (@AJ2eats) August 8, 2015
— Pragya Jha (@crazy_pragy) March 3, 2015
Some were sad:
My favorite Calvin and Hobbes strip pic.twitter.com/DoyDyh53dw
— Jonathan Burgess (@jburgess171) June 17, 2015
Some were occasionally punny:
— Alex Lowe (@aelowe1) July 3, 2015
— Adam Wong (@thewong_guy) April 30, 2015
Or just plain funny:
— Lucía Pizarro Coma (@lupico) August 7, 2015
My favorite Calvin and Hobbes strip. pic.twitter.com/2HOIu5kkUu
— Chris (@cbwilso) April 22, 2015
And the last strip encapsulated it all:
The very last strip of Calvin and Hobbes :( :)? pic.twitter.com/bD2FAY4nVD
— ScriptOn (@ScriptOnRoblox) October 14, 2015