Top positive review
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Minor flaws don't take away from this--the ultimate collection.
on October 4, 2005
(I just received this today--The Complete Calvin and Hobbes! 10/4/05)
The collection consists of 3 books within one slipcase. Each page notes the date(s) of original publication of the strip(s) on that page. The strips have an appearance of being imposed on the page separately in respect to their original publication dates. This differs from other Calvin and Hobbes collections/treasuries; within those pages you find the strips laid out as a combined whole without distinction between each strip. There are also, of course, the wonderful watercolors by Watterson which appear occasionally, on pages respective of content and chronological order.
Book One starts with a 14-page introduction/forward written autobiographically by Watterson on his view of comics and his relationship with Calvin and Hobbes. Includes photo of Sprite and a few other comics/early works by Watterson, as well as an early version of Calvin and Hobbes. Book One includes all the comics of 1985-1988; Book Two 1988-1992; Book Three 1992-1995.
This is definitely an archival collection and not ideal for constant casual perusing, though the attractiveness makes it hard to resist. The printing, layout, paper, binding are beautiful but any wear and tear would be heart-breaking. This leads me to describe one drawback: these books aren't really hardbound books. They look so, because of their hard covers, but actually they are what's called "cardboard articles", meaning the pages are not stitched to the spine, and instead glued. Albiet, this is common book binding practice, but I'm sure most of us wouldn't have minded paying some more for real hardbound articles for the sake of longevity in preservation. So although this collection is best left for archival purposes, it's unfortunate they are not exactly archival quality.
Despite the books being cardboard articles, the pages are easy to open up without damaging the fabric covered spine due to the generous space and horizontal orientation. However the images of Calvin and Hobbes on the front and back faces of the slipcase are printed on separate squares of paper glued to the surface, rather than integrated, or printed directly on. This is something I realized as I slid the collection onto my bookshelf and found I had to be careful or the sides of those squares might catch and lift a bit.
The total collection weighs about 22.5 lbs, which makes it a bit awkward to handle. This wouldn't be such an issue except the books are snugly fit within the slipcase, meaning they're a bit difficult to extract without having to tilt the case forward a bit. It would be ideal if the slipcase had round cuts on the top and bottom corresponding to each book so one's fingertips could pry out the books with ease.
The bottom line is that for Calvin and Hobbes fans who want to own a nice comprehensive collection, imperfections are there, but not enough to deter. The beauty of the pages and the excitement of owning this make those issues mere minor annoyances. It is also the ideal purchase for those who are new to Calvin and Hobbes. At one concise and reasonable price you get the Complete Calvin and Hobbes. This collection is sure to please. Yes, I admit, I am a bit prejudiced by my absolute adoration for this boy and his tiger.