23 Things You Didn't Know About Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes, revered by many as the last great newspaper comic strip, has a rich and interesting history. There was a time when newspaper comics could be counted upon to be funny, informative, witty, and so much more. Familiar, unforgettable characters like Charlie Brown, Garfield, and, of course, Calvin and Hobbes all reliably played out regular short stories that provided reliable humor and even insight in the pages of the paper. Nowadays, comic strips don't quite have the same luster.
Bill Watterson wrote and illustrated Calvin and Hobbes from 1985 to 1995. He led Calvin and his stuffed animal/feline best friend Hobbes on endless adventures for just ten years, but in that relatively brief time, the comic strip would cemented its place in publication history.
The imaginative world of Calvin and Hobbes has inspired generations of fans young, but not everyone knows all of the Calvin and Hobbes history. From what started the comic strip to why it ended to just why you can't go out and buy a Hobbes plush, there are plenty of Calvin and Hobbes facts that enrich Bill Watterson's world.Find out how much Calvin and Hobbes trivia you really know in this list of facts and history about the legendary comic strip.
Hobbes Isn't Exactly ImaginaryIt's tough to say exactly what Hobbes is but Watterson himself has said that he's more than just an imaginary friend created by Calvin. He has said Hobbes's state as imaginary is "the assumption that adults make because nobody else sees him."
Jurassic Park Temporarily Halted Calvin's Adventures With DinosaursBecause Watterson didn't want Calvin's imagination competing with Jurassic Park, he halted Calvin's occasional imaginary Mesozoic Era fun for a while, at least until the hype around the movie died down a bit. On the bright side, that meant more Spaceman Spiff adventures in space and assorted shenanigans anywhere else Calvin's imagination could go.
Hobbes Rarely Calls Calvin By NameCalvin and Hobbes are the best of friends, but Hobbes rarely calls Calvin by name, though he does talk about "Calvinball." By comparison, Calvin uses Hobbes's name frequently.
Watterson Refuses to License Calvin & Hobbes for MerchandisePhoto: Boing Boing
Those ubiquitous stickers of Calvin peeing on things are actually illegal. Why? Because Bill Watterson has never sold the rights to make merchandise or even animated series based on his comic strip. That's why you've never seen Hobbes stuffed animals or Spaceman Spiff action figures.
"Note pads and coffee mugs just aren’t appropriate vehicles for what I’m trying to do here," he explained in a rare interview. "I’m not interested in removing all the subtlety from my work to condense it for a product. The strip is about more than jokes."Watterson continued, "I have no interest in turning my characters into commodities. If I’d wanted to sell plush garbage, I’d have gone to work as a carny. The idea of a Hobbes doll is especially noxious, because the whole intrigue of Hobbes is that he may or may not be a real tiger."
Not Merchandising the Characters Was a Costly ChoicePhoto: thoughtquotient.com / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0There were plenty of opportunities to merchandise Calvin and Hobbes. Everyone wanted a piece of the comic strip, but Watterson held out. In the end, it's estimated that upwards of $300-400 million was lost by choosing not to merchandise the strip or its characters.
Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes Is a ThingIn one of the rare incidences in which Watterson licensed his characters, Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes is a textbook that reprints strips in order to help educators teach children with learning and other disabilities. Published in 1993, quantities were kept so low that the now-rare book has gone on to become exceedingly valuable.