Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gospel of Calvin 3 of 3

Moving, yknow. What can I throw away? So many books. Some never opened, I admit. Here's this Calvin and Hobbes book (Yukon Ho!) Well maybe I will just look at it a bit before I dumpster it. What I will find is what I forgot - Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes was the greatest daily comic of my era.

First things first: There is Peanuts, right? Which was totally transmogrifying great. I give Bill the nod because his drawings are just incredible, especially in their frame by frame motion, which is essential to comics. I am not faulting Charles Schultz, and you have to give him a big plus for doing it over many many more years that Watterson. But, well, got that out of the way… here goes….

It's a lot more than just drawings that make Calvin and Hobbes so great. There is his Mittiesque imagination. Which allows him to conflate anything into an oversized adventure. There is the perfect confection that is this world. That is betrayed deftly every time we see a glimpse of Hobbes as stuffed animal toy.

For Calvin there is the frame to frame movement – a favorite theme, a kid's red wagon going downhill ( through time warps, into the future, faster and faster) – a sudden loss of gravity (that destroys his homework) – the jump into the mudhole followed by the equally adventurous trip to the bath – arriving home to be attacked by his tiger (again and again) – his abrupt loss of the third dimension that causes him to cavort like a piece of paper across the house and the episode.  The hurricane dust cloud backyard sandbox fights always made new yet on a Katzenjammer Kids' level. The trips to other planets. Drop of hat trips. Constantly trying his parents' patience.  Often exacerbating Hobbes the Tiger. The youthful exuberance: Today, something wonderful is going to happen! As it ever should. Good stuff. 
- Jack Vaughan on The Art of Bill Watterson 

post 1 of the series
post 2 of the series
post 3 of the series

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