Friday, May 13, 2011

An Instant Bookmark

My guess is that you will fall into one of two categories. You will find this to bring you an unexpected joy, like meeting an old friend in a foreign country where you didn't expect to find them.

Or, if you never read Calvin and Hobbes, you'll have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.

To a lot of people, myself included, Calvin and Hobbes occupied a strangely deep attachment. Lots of the great comic strip writers I know and enjoy (Scott Adams immediately comes to mind) list it as one of their big influences. I think Adams described it as the best comic ever, and I'd agree.

I think the strength of the nostalgia associated with this comic (and the emotions that the current redoing provoked) is twofold. Firstly, it's a comic about childhood, but with the protagonist being a strange combination of childhood petulance and aims with adult jokes and insights. As a result, it captures an idealized image of childhood from the perspective of an adult - knowing what you know and enjoying what you do, but still partaking in the innocence of it.

But there's a second sense of it. For a lot of twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings, Calvin and Hobbes is also of their childhood. The time when the comics were still written was long ago, and Bill Watterson has shown a Seinfeld-esque level of timing, leaving on a high note and resisting all calls for an encore. Calvin and Hobbes is thus like a 1950's chevy - they just aren't making them any more.

I think this explained the strange outpouring of emotion this comic got on Reddit. There were some people who complained that it was ruining their image of the comic, but many more that seemed overjoyed at the prospect, however fleeting, of a new Calvin and Hobbes comic. It let them, just briefly, be reminded of that glorious time when you could open up the morning paper and find a new Calvin and Hobbes strip waiting for you.

Those were great times.

I had not heard of 'Pants are Overrated' before this, but they've earned my readership loyalty for quite some time to come.

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