The innocence of childhood is something very hard to grasp for our adult abd reasonable society. Even though I often claim I am somewhat immature, I must accept for me it is a daunting task just to try to teach children a new language. For me, the mental structures, no matter how hard I claim mine are young, are totally different from the children’s to ours.
But if there is someone that really caught my eye on the topic of the mind of an infant in development, then it is Bill Watterson, a caricaturist that is recognized for his seemingly innocent Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. For someone who has not read him, this is a must. Calvin, a boy around ten years old, struggles to be part of a society while trying to live in the broad world of his fantastic delusions.
But the innocence portrayed here is not merely the typical purity we adults try to make other adults believe. The boy is smart, and his tiger counterpart Hobbes just serves to emphasize this trait. We never know if the tiger is real or just a figment of the imagination of Calvin. Even though evidence suggests all is in the mind, somehow the reader immediately feels that this explanation is way too simplistic.
The dialogues are rich and deep many of the times. How many comics do you see where the main protagonist struggles with the understanding of nature of death while making us, despite the tragic situation, smirk at how we feel in those moments?
For me Hobbes is this second part Calvin has to subdue to be part of a society we never wish to be born into. There is an inherent struggle in this clever pair, which even in the worst situation keeps a friendship. An introvert friendship in the eyes of the world, for sure, but is it maybe not the sign of a peace of mind many of us desire with ourselves?
It is difficult to explain such a master work as Calvin & Hobbes. For me, this is one of the best cartoons ever written. I prefer Garfield, but if my craving for cheap laughs would not be active, Calvin & Hobbes would be the best thing ever written.
All I can do is recommend reading this interesting Sunday comic, and just enjoying the innocence paired up with a critique to the modern human self. If you don’t like it, then all you have lost is ten minutes of your time.
May they smile upon your way!