Saturday, April 03, 2010

Rosalyn Vs Calvin

For your viewing pleasure today - a complete story arc of Calvin and Hobbes involving his babysitter nemesis Rosalyn.

Rosalyn always "had Calvin's number." And, messing around online, did you know there is a Calvin and Hobbes Wiki? I thought this comment from Rosalyn's page was pretty insightful:
In the final Rosalyn story, however, the traditional war is averted by a game of Calvinball, in which Rosalyn proves to be a formidable player, and once again trumps Calvin with a clever move in the last panel. This display of extensive imagination showed her to be not entirely lost to the dull world of adulthood, and this trait allows her to sympathize with Calvin's needs and ultimately control him much better than his mother ever could, such as in the same storyline as above, in which she allows him to stay up half an hour past his bedtime, and plays Calvinball with him, two actions which Calvin's mom would be sure to avoid (ironically, on returning home, Calvin's parents refuse to believe that she was able to play a game with him, and assume she is making a joke).
The idea that Rosalyn was actually better suited to controlling Calvin because she could better relate to him never occurred to me before.

But, that's why we all love and miss Spaceman Spiff and Tracer Bullet - the strip was so much more than a collection of sight gags. There was a lot of subtlety in relationships and character studies carefully inserted under our noses that made the strip more than just a sum of it's parts. When Bill Watterson quit, I have to admit I thought he was being just a bit of a prima donna. He was supposed to be a professional artist - getting paid to produce material. But, the older I get and the longer he's been gone its far easier to see just how much of a genius he is and how much he invested himself emotionally in Calvin and Hobbes. He might have been getting paid, and paid well for a product, but it was far more than just drawings to him. He produced art beyond the drawings and even the fabulous Sunday panels. Waterson quit rather than allow his strip to be commercialized like so many others. He didn't hire people to do his work under his byline (can we say Jim Davis?) or keep the strip going by turning it over to someone the syndicate decided was appropriate (Where to start? Wizard of Id, Hagar, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois, Dennis the Menace and so many others). Mr. Watterson decided he couldn't go on, and he also didn't want someone else messing with his finely crafted creation. Can't blame the guy for that.

And, if there was any doubt before, y'all should realize now what a comics geek I am. Heh.


ptg said...

Excellent analysis, Jeffro.

Mo K said...

Good one, Jeffro! I shared with Mr. Mo who was esp. appreciative of this post. He's been a huge C & H fan for years.

Kombucha247uc said...
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