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The Complete Calvin and Hobbes [Box Set] Hardcover – Box set, September 6, 2005
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An Excerpt from Bill Watterson's Introduction:
"Ive 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 dont 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. Its 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 !-- begin3pak -->
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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.
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The original problem was that the pages were glued together instead of sewn. THIS HAS BEEN CORRECTED with a subsequent printing. That being said, I would strongly recommend against purchasing a used copy of this set unless you've verified with the seller that the binding is SEWN binding.
A little background: being aware of the issues surrounding the glued binding, I did a little research on internet forums to see if the issue had been corrected. The only evidence I could find was one random poster on a random forum saying that they "thought" the issue had been corrected.
So I took matters into my own hands and called the publisher. It took forever to get through to them (the number seems to be intended for wholesalers looking to purchase in bulk), but the lady that helped me was able to call back and confirm that the binding is now sewn rather than glued. I asked when the most recent printing had been, and her (now undoubtedly out-of-date) answer gave me confidence that it was far enough back to reassure me that most retailers would have cleared out their stock of the first edition printing. Reassured by this (and Amazon's return policy), I went ahead and purchased after it went on sale. And I can now confirm: sewn binding.
As an aside, as others are saying, the collection is quite heavy—but I wouldn't say that the individual books are too heavy to read if you've propped the book against your legs, etc.
The quality of this collection is (finally) worthy of such a great and timeless comic strip. Calvin & Hobbes stands alone at the top of best comic strip of all time, and nothing else even comes close. Everyone can enjoy this strip, from young kids to adults (though adult fans likely won't want to let their kids touch the books lol)
The pages are made of high-quality paper and the artwork is beautifully printed on the pages. Since they're printed in chronological order, unlike many other Watterson compilations, it is really easy to follow. Whether you're just a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, or you're looking for a great addition to your home library, this set is awesome.
The only thing that I didn't like about it (which would have made it five stars), was the construction of the binding. When reading it, it feels like the pages may come loose at any time since they're glued in. Other than that, this set is a must-have!
I salute Bill Watterson, for releasing this comic strip collections for future, and present fans to read. I make one request: Please! Please! Please!find a more durable paper and binder for this collection. The collections should be shared with others, without falling apart.