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Why Calvin and Hobbes captures our imagination even now.

Bill Waterson was one of my heroes growing up. I learned more about the English language reading his comics that any serious novel we did in English class. Waterson's enthusiasm for language, and joy that he transmitted in his comics still get me today. It takes me straight back to waking up early to get the San Juan Star newspaper before anybody else so I could read the cartoon and maybe learn a new vocabulary so I could ace the SAT and go to a good college.

Waterson never authorized any merchandise for his comic book (smartly I think) though the demand created an underground production of shirts and stickers that were unavailable to me in pre-internet Puerto Rico.

The summer of my junior year in High School I went to Harvard Summer School after having done very well in the pSAT. There I found a comic book store (whose name I can't remember right now) that had a shirt of Calvin. I bought it and still have the shirt kicking around today, more as a good luck charm than as a shirt to wear, but still in-fashion enough to look in.

My third year English Teacher would give us points if we brought instances we read where vocabulary words appeared and I would scour the Calvin and Hobbes comics for them.

Now that many people that grew up with Calvin and his tiger Hobbes are having children we long to be able to pass the indispensable Calvin and Hobbes to them. I've seen two comic books where Calvin has a daughter and she receives Hobbes as a toy from his father an older and taller Calvin.

Such is the enduring power of great literature. Be it a Shakespeare sonnet or a Watterson three panel comic to transport us to a place beyond and beside ourselves, to inspire the better nature of our beings.


  1. I've been re-reading some Calvin and Hobbes lately. You're right, it was one of the best comics I've ever read, and also the highlight of my Sunday newspaper reading for many years.

    I've got a couple of the softback collections at home in the States. Next time I'm home, I plan to pack them in the suitcase to read with Flynn when he's a little older.


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