Monday, June 11, 2012

Just A Box

A box as a time machine:

The complete story arc of Calvin time traveling with Hobbes into the future to avoid writing a paper for school. The infamous cardboard box appears as a time machine - in other stories it is a transmogrifier, duplicator and ethicator. My sister and I made good use of various sizes of boxes in our childhood - they made great houses, vehicles of various kinds and so on. Just required some imagination. I wonder - do kids play with boxes today, or is that passe in this Kinect world?

This arc also includes a mention of the infamous "noodle incident," which we never learn details, except in one arc worms were mentioned as being involved. And I find this quote interesting:
If you ask me, these assignments don't teach you how to write. They teach you how to hate to write. Deadlines, rules how to do it, grades.....How can you be creative when someone is breathing down your neck?
Ya think maybe that's Bil Waterson's opinion bleeding through? Considering how he battled numerous elements even to this day, it's certain he felt quite strongly about the subject. He fought newpapers for the space to showcase his strip, particularly on Sundays, during a time (and they're still doing it) when the papers  really downsize the comics page to save money. He fought the idea of commercializing his strip by not allowing licences to be sold for merchandise based on the characters. I've always got a kick out of the window stickers showing Calvin peeing on something or other, but I resist buying the stuff because it's bootleg. Watterson has never endorsed any merchandise, much less Calvin urinating, which really upsets him. Out of respect to him, I refuse to buy. He certainly provided me with a great deal of free ice cream, as it were, over the years, it's the least I can do.

Plus, I think the daily pressure to perform got to him as well, and he certainly did not want his strip to become some sort of automated thing cranking out material years after he was gone, like so many legacy strips today. And, in some small way, I can relate. As a blogger who feels that daily updates are a pretty good idea, there is some pressure to produce, even if doing the thing is supposed to be fun. I do not get paid in any way, so no pressure there, contrasting with keeping the roof on my head and food in my belly just might be a tad bit of coercion to crank something out, and it had better be good.

And something else that I learned:
In April 2011, a representative for Andrews McMeel received a package from a "William Watterson in Cleveland Heights, Ohio", which contained a 6" x 8" oil-on-board painting of Cul De Sac character Petey Otterloop, done by Watterson for the Team Cul de Sac fundraising project for Parkinson's Disease. His syndicate, which has since become Universal Uclick, has said that the painting was the first new artwork from Watterson that the syndicate has seen since Calvin and Hobbes ended in 1995.[24]
I knew about the Team Cul de Sac efforts earlier. It's a fundraiser for Team Fox, the fundraising arm of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease. As does Richard Thompson, who had to take a break from his strip earlier for treatment and other cartoonists filled in for him. The book is Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson's, which is available at I've grown quite fond of Cul de Sac, and considering my father died due to complications from Parkinson's, I've got a good reason to order that book. All the original artwork copied in that book was also auctioned off.

Anyways, Calvin is still cool, and there are other strips that are good that may or may not be in your local newspaper, but are syndicated. Hope you enjoy the Calvin story arc.


lotta joy said...

During the years, I was always on the look-out for the latest release of Calvin and Hobbs paperbacks. They were large enough to read easily and every page was hilarious. I also learned the facial features of Calvin and used them in my drawings.

Dad Bones said...

I'd never seen that episode before. Thanks!

Jeffro said...

lotta joy: If I don't have all of them, I sure am close. Haven't had 'em out in years, though.

Dad Bones: just like the sign in the bathroom: "We aim to please, so you aim too, please!"

Bob's Blog said...

Yes, I did enjoy this very much. I think my boys have read all the Calvin and Hobbes books.