Calvin and Hobbes

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Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip written by Bill Watterson . The two main characters on the strip are Calvin, a six-year-old boy who lives with his parents in the suburbs of an unnamed American city, and his ( cloth ) tiger Hobbes.


A special feature of the comic is the double role of the (cloth) tiger Hobbes. For Calvin, Hobbes is alive and can speak and act, while for others he is just a stuffed animal. This dual role accounts for a large part of the comic's appeal, which repeatedly switches back and forth between the imaginary parallel world of Calvin and the world of adults.

In the 10th Anniversary Book , Watterson describes this ambiguity as a philosophical aspect of different ways of looking at the world. The often-expressed representation that Hobbes is only alive in Calvin's imagination can therefore at best be kept in an interpretation inherent in the text . The many gags that the strip pulls from the physical clash of the protagonists would either be impossible if viewed purely from the imagination or would lose their wits. Hobbes is a living tiger when he's with Calvin, and he 's just a stuffed animal to others. They not only play with but also against each other, argue and even fight. Calvin and Hobbes shares another aspect with other comic strips such as the Peanuts : Calvin remains a six-year-old over the entire period of the series, although time clearly progresses (change of seasons, school holidays and the beginning of the school year).

The popularity of the comic strip is due not least to the way a young boy looks at the adult world. The ubiquitous hectic pace and the exaggerated seriousness of the adult world are often caricatured , but without Calvin representing a positive moral authority (Hobbes is more responsible for this). Calvin's reflections are often miles away from the naivety of a normal six-year-old, and his vocabulary and linguistic ability are often equal to that of an adult rather than a child. The comedy of the strip also arises from the great fall between the little boy's expected innocence and his cynical , experiential comments and behaviors with which he disregards the often ethically mature comments of his friend Hobbes.

There are also several alter egos of Calvin: the spaceman "Spiff" (whom Calvin embodies especially in school, which his teacher usually does not like), the superhero "the incredible" ("Stupendous Man") and, more rarely, the private detective " Tracer Bullet" ".

The figure of Calvin changes optically over time. Initially drawn rather simply, his facial features gradually become more detailed and multifaceted.


Calvin and Hobbes first appeared on November 18, 1985. On December 31, 1995, the last comic in the series appeared. The strips were at one point published in over 2,400 newspapers, and nearly 45 million Calvin and Hobbes books had sold by 2010.

During the ten-year existence of the series, a bizarre dispute between Watterson and the Syndication Network developed over the exploitation rights . Watterson insisted that the strip could only be used as a newspaper strip and in book form, and even went on a short-term strike to prevent T-shirts and similar merchandising products, because in his eyes Calvin was not a coffee cup dweller but a cartoon character.

In autumn 2005 Andrews McMeel Publishing published a complete edition in the USA under the title The Complete Calvin and Hobbes .

In October 2013, Carlsen Verlag published the complete German-language edition entitled The Calvin and Hobbes Complete Edition .

main characters

Calvin and Hobbes

The namesake for the two comic characters are Johannes Calvin (“who believed in predestination”; Calvin says the same thing about himself in a strip in order to “not be responsible for his actions”) and Thomas Hobbes (“who is a very dark picture of human nature ”; Hobbes also has a negative image of man and a certain“ pride in not being human ”).

  • Calvin and Hobbes don't think too much of healthy eating. Hobbes loves tuna sandwiches, Calvin prefers his chocolate-coated sugar-bombs for breakfast.
  • Calvin is often attacked by objects, e.g. B. Math books, spinach and his bike. Basically, it's things that Calvin doesn't like.
  • Calvin is also attacked by Hobbes. Hobbes, who stays in the house during Calvin's school days, hides behind the front door and jumps at him when Calvin opens it. Watterson once stated that he was using it to trace the behavior of a cat that did this to him ("sneak and pounce").
  • Calvin and Hobbes have their own club, called EMSV ("Disgusting Girls Should Verduften"), in the original English "GROSS" ("Get Rid Of Slimy girls"), the English word large means "ugly", "disgusting". The conferences take place in the tree house .
  • Calvin and Hobbes are very inventive. The time machine , the “duplicator” and the “cell converter”, which are all built from the same cardboard box (and for adults, are of course just one), deserve mentioning.
  • Calvin's and Hobbes' sleigh rides ( toboggan ) and the “Radio Flyer” are legendary . They drive over the steepest slopes and dangerous gorges and have interesting philosophical conversations on the side.
  • Calvin is passionate about prehistoric animals, especially dinosaurs .

  • Calvin's favorite sport is Calvinball. The game is (mostly) played with a baseball, masking and several flags. The attraction assumes that the rules are invented immediately while playing. Watterson calls this "an [...] idea that captures the spirit of the strip." This often leads to a dispute about the rules, which Hobbes usually wins (also because of his physical superiority).
Two snowmen based on Watterson's comic book
  • Calvin likes to build snowmen and snow sculptures and use them to depict macabre, black-humored scenes. One example is a snowman who decapitates another. Calvin's parents are embarrassed by these sculptures in their garden, as they give their neighbors a glimpse into their son's psyche and the apparently unsuccessful upbringing. Calvin also uses the snow sculptures to sarcastically criticize the parent-child relationship. B. builds snowmen who demonstrate with banners against cleaning up rooms.
  • Calvin hates going for a swim. Which is why he keeps coming up with tricks to avoid it.
  • Calvin repeatedly accidentally destroys something, convinced he is doing the right thing, and then gets into trouble with his father. Corporal punishment is also suggested.

Other important characters

  • Calvin's mother, whose culinary skills are often questioned by Calvin with disgusted looks and exclamations.
  • Calvin's father works as a patent attorney in a high-rise office in the city, privately he is an avid cyclist and loves camping and fishing - much to the chagrin of Calvin, who is bored. Calvin's father also likes to explain to him, but mostly completely incorrectly, the great scientific connections in our world. ( Does your head explode when you cover your mouth while sneezing? Why does time go slower when you move faster? ) Calvin often regards his father as an elected president, but his performance could be improved. He therefore gives him advice on how to improve his image with the Calvin voter (go to bed later, less homework).
  • The teacher Fraulein Wurmholz is Calvin's great opponent. It is named after Wormwood, the sub-devil from CS Lewis ' book Service Instructions for a Sub-Devil .
  • Calvin's declared enemy is the neighbor girl Susi Derkins, whom he often plays mean pranks on. Watterson suspects that Calvin is secretly in love with Susi.
  • Rosalyn is Calvin's feared babysitter. In some strips, however, mutual respect develops, and at times she is the only other person who sees Hobbes as a real tiger.
  • Moe, the school thug Calvin has to deal with again and again and by whom he is often beaten up.


Calvin and Hobbes received u. a. In 1990 the Max and Moritz Prize (best international comic strip) and in 2007 the Sondermann Prize 2007 (best international comic 2007).


  • On August 12, 2017, the browser manufacturer Mozilla changed the icon of the Nightly version of Firefox to a modified version that shows Hobbes wrapping himself around the globe typical of Firefox.


  • Bill Watterson: The Essential Calvin And Hobbes . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1988. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Of Monsters, Girls and Best Friends , Carlsen Verlag 2009, ISBN 978-3-551-78628-9 )
  • Bill Watterson: The Calvin And Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1989. (German The Calvin & Hobbes Sunday Pages , Carlsen Verlag 2011, ISBN 978-3-551-78627-2 )
  • Bill Watterson: The Authoritative Calvin And Hobbes . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1990. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Of tigers, devils and annoying fathers , Carlsen Verlag 2009, ISBN 978-3-551-78654-8 )
  • Bill Watterson: Scientific Progress Goes 'Boink' . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1991. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Scientific progress makes "Boing" , Carlsen Verlag 2007, ISBN 978-3-551-78616-6 )
  • Bill Watterson: The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1992. (German Calvin & Hobbes - From holidays, fishing and nasty girls , Carlsen Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-551-78657-9 )
  • Bill Watterson: Attack Of The Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1992. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Attack of the crazy murderous snow mutants , Carlsen Verlag 2007, ISBN 978-3-551-78617-3 )
  • Bill Watterson: The Days Are Just Packed . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1993. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Eventful Days , Carlsen Verlag 2007, ISBN 978-3-551-78618-0 )
  • Bill Watterson: Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1994. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Psycho-Killer-Jungle Cat , Carlsen Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-551-78619-7 )
  • Bill Watterson: The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1995. (German Calvin & Hobbes - The Ten Years of Jubilation Book , Carlsen Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-551-78629-6 )
  • Bill Watterson: There's Treasure Everywhere . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1996. (German Calvin & Hobbes - Treasures! Treasures everywhere!, Carlsen Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-551-78620-3 )
  • Bill Watterson: It's a Magical World . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1997. (German Calvin & Hobbes - A World Full of Wonders , Carlsen Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-551-78621-0 )
  • Bill Watterson: Calvin And Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995 . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001.
  • Bill Watterson: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005 (3 volumes in a slipcase, total 1,200 pages; complete chronological publication with dates; one strip is missing, one strip was only recorded in a modified version). (German: The Calvin and Hobbes Complete Edition , Carlsen Verlag 2013, ISBN 978-3-551-78838-2 )
  • Bill Watterson: Calvin and Hobbes . Krüger Verlag (in S. Fischer Verlag ), 1989 (ongoing series, reprint of the US paperbacks, partly only in black and white; a total of about 30 strips are missing; Carlsen Verlag took over the German-language license in 2005 ).
  • Bill Watterson: Calvin and Hobbes . Carlsen Verlag , 2005 (ongoing series, reprint of the US Paperbacks, but only in black and white up to Volume 7).
  • The editions The Essential ... , The Authoritative ... and The Indispensable ... called "Treasuries" each contain the content of two of the "Normal Editions " called "Collections" . The Treasuries are partly colored and each also contain an illustrated poem or a multi-page comic strip as an introduction; however, individual drawings and introductions from the collections are missing , e.g. B. contains The Authoritative ... not the Yukon Song from Yukon Ho .
    • The Essential Calvin And Hobbes includes Calvin and Hobbes and Something Under the Bed Is Drooling .
    • The Authoritative Calvin And Hobbes includes Yukon Ho! and Weirdos From Another Planet! .
    • The Indispensable Calvin And Hobbes includes The Revenge of the Baby-Sat and Scientific Progress Goes 'Boink' .


  • Joy Katzmarzik: Comic Art and Avant-Garde. Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes and the Art of American Newspaper Comic Strips. Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-8253-6876-0 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Bill Watterson: Calvin and Hobbes - The Anniversary Album. From the American by Alexandra Bartoszko. Wolfgang Krüger Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 22.
  2. 'Calvin and Hobbes' fans still pine 15 years after its exit. February 1, 2010, accessed March 5, 2012 .
  3. Bill Watterson: Calvin and Hobbes - The Anniversary Album. From the American by Alexandra Bartoszko. Wolfgang Krüger Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 21.
  4. Bill Watterson: Calvin and Hobbes - The Anniversary Album. From the American by Alexandra Bartoszko. Wolfgang Krüger Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 120.
  5. ^ Bill Watterson in 10th Anniversary Book
  6. Bill Watterson: Calvin and Hobbes - The Anniversary Album. From the American by Alexandra Bartoszko. Wolfgang Krüger Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 24.
  7. 1389770 - New tiger themed Nightly icon is bad joke ... Retrieved on August 17, 2017 (English).
  8. Compa Mayorga: #Bug or #feature? Keep @mozilla weird = D @FirefoxNightly rocks! In: @alex_mayorga. August 12, 2017, Retrieved August 17, 2017 (retweeted from the official @ FirefoxNightly Twitter account).

Web links

Commons : Calvin and Hobbes  - collection of images, videos and audio files