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The Complete Calvin and Hobbes [BOX SET] Paperback – November 13, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 1,454 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Excerpt from Bill Watterson's Introduction:

"I’ve loved comic strips as long as I can remember. As a kid, I knew I wanted to be either a cartoonist or an astronaut. The latter was never much of a possibility, as I don’t even like riding in elevators. I kept my options open until seventh grade, but when I stopped understanding math and science, my choice was made. There is great personal satisfaction in attending to detail and quality, and I remain very proud of the standards the strip met day after day. I also liked the responsibility of knowing that, succeed or fail, it was all my own doing. This approach kept the strip very honest and personal--everything having to do with Calvin and Hobbes expressed my own ideas, my own values, my own way. I wrote every word, drew every line, and painted every color. It’s a rare gift to find such fulfilling work and I tried to show my appreciation by giving the strip everything I had to offer."

Exclusive Images from the New Collection

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [Signature]Reviewed by Art SpiegelmanBy the 1980s the once glorious newspaper comics section had become a wasteland, ravaged by shrinking space, editorial timidity and other ills. The real excitement in my medium had moved to the fertile margins of the alternative press. Bill Watterson, as uninterested in underground comix as I was in the mass media's bland concoctions, marched directly into the wasteland and made the comatose syndicated strip form kick up its heels and dance.From 1985 until Watterson abandoned it at the height of its popularity 10 years later, Calvin and Hobbes echoed the classic strips the artist most admired. Stirring the richly conceived characters and efficient drawing of Peanuts with the visual virtuosity and linguistic playfulness of Pogo and Krazy Kat, he applied his intelligence and supple cartoon skills to come up with a creation beloved by the millions who still mourn its passing.Now, a decade after his demise, six-year-old Calvin has a fitting monument—a lavishly produced three-volume boxed collection of all the strips, which weighs as much as a tombstone. Following in the wake of Gary Larson's The Complete Far Side, and with a 250,000-copy "limited edition" first printing, the publisher realistically predicts that this book will be "the heaviest and most expensive book ever to hit the New York Times best seller list." While not as exquisitely wrought as Walt and Skeezix, the recently launched reprinting of Frank King's epic run of Gasoline Alley, or as intimate and dignified as Fantagraphics' ongoing republication of all 50 years of Peanuts, this luxurious set is dressed for success and deserves an honored spot on the happily expanding shelves of strip reprints.The Complete Calvin and Hobbes offers two intertwined narratives. One details the friendship between Calvin—the egotistical, feverishly imaginative, wised-up young tyke with the vocabulary of a Yale lit major—and his animal familiar, Hobbes. Hobbes is seen by Calvin's parents as a nondescript plush toy and by Calvin and the reader as a pouncing and amiable "real" tiger—Calvin's slightly-more-sensible better half. The crosscutting between private and shared reality gives the strip its vitality.The autobiographical introduction by the notoriously reclusive Watterson kicks off another tale about the collision of private and shared realities: the story of an ornery artist's battle to explore his craft within the claustrophobic confines of a few inches of newsprint space. The beleaguered Watterson fights the strictures of brutal daily deadlines, skirmishes with editors to win more space for his often graceful Sunday pages, slugs it out with his syndicate to keep his creation from being reduced to a stuffed doll. The later strips begin to dwell obsessively on the horrors of our dumbed-down commodity culture, and there's something poignant about the artist's hopeless struggle to work within the confines of mass culture while simultaneously critiquing it. These books offer a testament to Watterson's dedication and to the medium's ability to keep reinventing itself against all odds. (Oct.)Art Spiegelman is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1456 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449433251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449433253
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 5.6 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,454 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
(I just received this today--The Complete Calvin and Hobbes! 10/4/05)

4.9 Stars

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I love this strip and I was very excited to see it collected completely in a lovely boxed set. I have only one fault with the item but it is a big one. For a set of this nature and for this price, you would think the publishers could have spent a few extra bucks and given the thing a proper binding! I've read through the collection only twice and the spine is already cracked on volume one and a page has actually come out! How much could a real stitched binding have added to the price? I plan to send my books off to Southern Binding and have them sewn. It will cost me about $30 but I believe it will be well worth it in the long run. Still, I'd rather have paid a few more buck up front.
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Format: Hardcover
Let me first say that Calvin and Hobbes is by far my favorite cartoon strip of all time. Even better than Far Side. When I first heard that this complete set was coming out I was thrilled! Finally all of Bill Watterson's work would be available in one deluxe book set! This is why I was kind of upset after really going through the set to find out that it's really not complete. It's very close...but definitely not complete.

Sure this set contains all the comics that ran in the newspapers, plus the cover art for the books, and various other special pictures/poems Bill drew for the series... but if you check out some of the older Calvin & Hobbes collections that were released, you'll find a whole bunch of really funny one-picture strips mixed in with the comic strips that are not included in this set. These were never put in the newspapers, they were probably made specifically for the older collections just to fill up space. For example, one of these one-picture strips featured in the very first Calvin and Hobbes collection shows a terrified Calvin in the back of car his Mom is driving holding up a big sign to the other drivers that says he's been kidnapped. Hilarious stuff...which makes me wonder why it wasn't included in this "COMPLETE" Calvin and Hobbes set.

Then there's also a bunch of pictures at the beginning and end of certain Calvin and Hobbes colections that didn't make it to these sets. For instance, at the very end of the collection "Scientific Progess Goes Boink", there is a large picture showing Susie looking down on the sidewalk shocked to see a crude drawing of herself, while Calvin and Hobbes are laughing behind a tree. Why wasn't this included?!

All in all, I do realize that I'm nitpicking with these left out pictures and one-picture strips.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't think I could add a whole lot more to what's already been said about the collection.
However, one point thats been slightly understated is the weight. The package is big, heavy and unweildy. With each book weighing just over 7 lbs., God Forbid if you drop one of 'em on your foot.
Also, if you're buying the collection to READ the stories, it would make more sense to buy the individual books (as many fans, including myself already have the other books and bought this as a collectors item - this is something you want preserved, not dog-eared in a year). There is a website out there that specifically lists which of the C&H books you would need to have in order to own every single strip without duplicates.

But having said all that, and aside from any doting fanglorious discourse, what I really liked about the collection was that:
1) Since it has the strip in chronological order, its the first opportunity to watch how Bill Watterson's artwork and style evolved over the years. It also gives you the chance to see when new characters and alter-egos of Calvin were introduced into the strip- I was a kid when C&H ran in my newspaper so I dont remember whether Rosalyn came in right from the beginning or at the end of the series, etc.
2) The lengthy preface by the reclusive Watterson is itself worth the cost of the book. Hearing his take on how the strip came about, his philosophy on things and his piece on why he was against merchandising the characters, are all priceless bits of information. Happy Reading!
An intersting bit of C&H trivia - Hampster Huey & the Gooey Kablooie really is a book (and you can buy it on Amazon too!).
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