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The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: a Calvin and Hobbes Treasury Paperback – January 5, 1988

4.8 out of 5 stars 549 customer reviews
Book 3 of 11 in the Calvin and Hobbes Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bill Watterson is the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, one of the most popular and well-regarded cartoon strips of the twentieth century. Calvin and Hobbes appeared in newspapers from November 1985 until Watterson's retirement in 1995.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0836218051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0836218053
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (549 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Calvin & Hobbes was so popular during its run that people never needed to explain what the strip was about to anyone; it's been a couple of years and with the exception of little kids, people seem to remember the strip for the most part. So, all I'll say about this collection is that it is the preferable purchase over the first two books, the self-titled "Calvin & Hobbes" and "Something Under The Bed Is Drooling." Why? "The Essential Calvin and Hobbes" actually collects every single strip from those two books (it's NOT a best of, as some people would say), and most importantly, the Sunday strips are in color. Hands down, Watterson painted the most beautiful looking Sunday strips since Walt Kelly, and it would be a shame if you only knew them through the black and white reproductions of the smaller collections. It's also cheaper to buy this book instead of the first two, as well. As a special bonus, Watterson included a nice, water-colored poem at the beginning, which isn't available anywhere else.
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Format: Paperback
Watterson's talent is pretty hard to get over. What's the big idea, making a cartoon so consisently funny, explosively creative and accessibly brilliant that no other cartoonist could ever hope to match wits? When I saw the first Calvin strips in my paper several years ago, I knew it was something special. Here's a little kid more clever than most adults, whose stuffed friend comes to life and has philosophical debates with him while they careen down a gully in a wagon.
Calvin and Hobbes is more than a comic strip, and that's what makes it so special. Far Side and Dilbert are clever and hilarious as well, but Calvin's creator has an artistic talent that will not be confined. The everyday life of his six-year-old protagonist is frequently spliced with daydreams--Spaceman Spiff, Dinosaurs, etc.--which are consistently staggering in their rendering. It's art good enough for Marvel but stylistically superior. In the later years he was arguing with newspapers for half- or full-page spaces that would do his work justice.
What impresses me perhaps the most about Watterson, though, is his integrity. From the great beginning that is this book, up through the end, he refused to have his art form violated by commercialism. Calvin will be found ONLY on the printed page, not on TV, not on a baseball cap (save the amateur ones), not in a breakfast cereal, nor action figures, nor a fanclub, nor a box of fruit snacks. Watterson was true to the integrity of his character. What's more, he quit while he was ahead--before his strip could become repetitive, but after its potential had been fully explored.
So buy this book, if you haven't already. In fact, do yourself a favor and buy every Calvin collection, because each is completely flawless. Calvin and Hobbes is the best cartoon that ever was, and it's the best cartoon that will ever be. I'd bet my sense of humor on it.
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Format: Paperback
Fans of Calvin & Hobbes who used to read the newspaper strip in the 80s and 90s will find great pleasure in reading this treasury of C&H comics. These witty comics about the 6-year old Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes, named after the famous philosophers, will amuse people of all ages. The perceptiveness and humor of Watterson deserve the highest of cartoon awards, while his artistic creations exude hilarity. This cartoon is perhaps one of the most piercing yet funny critiques of modern society.
This book covers the first two years of the Calvin & Hobbes strip. One can notice how Calvin used to look different in the beginning. His character though quickly adopted his unmistakable attitude. Here we see his first daydreams about Spaceman Spiff, his relationship with his parents and with Susie, his (mis-?) performance at school, and his first invention: the Transmogrifier. His attitude to life and his quick temper never ceases to entertain. This is the book you can read over and over and never stop from laughing.
Note that there are two series of C&H collections: individual wide-format albums, each covering an entire year of strips (will call it "regular"), and the vertical aspect ratio "treasury series" which covers selected comics from two regular C&H books. Note that C&H ran for a year in newspapers, so there's 10 regular books and 5 treasury books. Though the cartoons are slightly smaller in the treasury collection, each treasury book is far thicker and contains more strips than a regular book, and is furthermore less expensive, so treasury books are a real bargain. "The Essential Calvin & Hobbes" is the FIRST book from the Treasury collection, first released in 1988.
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Format: Paperback
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, first published in 1988, is chock full of early Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. No cartoonist, not even Charles Schultz, has captured the magical essence of childhood the way Bill Watterson did in this strip, and it should come as no surprise (although it did to Watterson) that Calvin and Hobbes quickly developed an incredibly loyal following. This strip went way beyond mere popularity. While I was in college, the campus newspaper decided to stop running Calvin and Hobbes (I think this was during one of Watterson's sabbaticals) - this resulted in nothing less than a furor on campus, as countless students immediately demanded the return of C&H. In a matter of days, Calvin and Hobbes were right back where they belonged.
How does a comic strip featuring a mischievous six-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger attract a fiercely loyal following of adults? Most adults would love to be children again, to know the freedom and sense of wonder that somehow withers inside the human soul after the onset of puberty. Calvin and Hobbes vividly recreates the feelings and emotions of the very essence of childhood. It brings back memories of things we forgot far too long ago, and it thus reawakens the deepest parts of our ever-hardening souls. Reading this comic strip is the next best thing to being a child yourself. Calvin does everything you used to do: he takes time to stomp in mud puddles, he lets his imagination run wild to make thrilling adventures out of even the most mundane tasks, he ponders the same deep questions you are now, as an adult, afraid to ask, he goes for the gusto no matter what sort of risk is involved, he is in every way a perfect specimen of childhood.
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