A cultural break – March 2007


During my previous cultural break I was writing about a European “bandes dessinées”. This month, I would like to write on my favorite comics series, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. As I bought last week The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, I would like to drop a few lines to show you how GREAT this box set is.

calvin_and_hobbes.jpgPictured on the left, the box set I bought last week. Be warned that it is weighing around 10 kilograms. But what is exactly Calvin and Hobbes (C&H) about? Calvin is a hyper active six-year old kid whose best friend is a stuffed tiger, Hobbes. The very particularity of this comics series is that Hobbes appears to Calvin as real when to other people it is just a plush. This duality strongly adds to the brilliant comics and its characters.

I edit as I discovered with joy that Calvin and Hobbes are ecologists ! Yes, some strips are indeed tackling pollution and even global warming. As the strip tackling global warming was published in 1987, I think it was one of the first appearances of this topic in mainstream media.

On a personal note, I discovered Calvin and Hobbes in July 1996 during my trip in the North East of the United States. I still remember reading this comics in the New York hotel we stayed in. This was the first texts ever I read in English for fun. I truly enjoyed them even if at that time I wasn’t understanding everything. Years later, in 2001, I had the opportunity to buy other albums in Barcelona, Spain, and other good memories abound when I think about it. Then time went on, I kept reading C&H when I had time or the opportunity by going back to my parents place.

In 2005, the editor of this comics of genius – Andrew Mc Meel Publishing – released the complete Calvin and Hobbes. As I was a student, I could not afford it and my parents weren’t seeing the necessity of offering it to me.

After months of wait, an opportunity finally came out last week as Amazon.co.uk did a huge discount on it. Since I had begun a part-time job as a courier, I had the money to buy it.

At long last I now enjoy the complete works of Mr. Watterson. I indeed begun reading these three huge and heavy books. And the least I can say is that I am delighted and exhilarated just by reading them. The design of the box set is just fantastic and the books themselves are designed in such a great way that they will last for years and even decades and that you will look at them with pride and joy.

calvin_lazy.gifThe adventures sometimes have a philosophical side to them, with questions about life, death or other serious topics. But the strips are always hilarious. Another fabulous aspect of C&H is that it can be read by adults and kids alike. Simply put, Calvin and Hobbes bring to reality the Internet slang expressions such as Laughing Out Loud or Rolling on floor laughing as I surely laughed for hours reading them.

Well, it is now time for a conclusion. If I was to give a mark to the Complete Calvin and Hobbes, it would get a perfect 10. The only negative point I would have is not coming from the books themselves but to the delivery as the package was seriously broken, and most unfortunately my box set is slightly damaged on the bottom side .

But for the price I paid – less than 90 € delivery included – I am far from complaining ; the books themselves look great and don’t have a scratch, which is the most important.

So, if you like reading comics or simply enjoy having fun while reading, the Complete Calvin and Hobbes is the perfect gift you can do to yourself or to friends or family members.

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