Comic Strip / Comics

What Made the Comic Strip Calvin and Hobbes?

Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip that still resonates with readers all over the world, despite being out of print for over two decades. The strip, created by Bill Watterson in 1985, followed the antics of a young boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes.

What made Calvin and Hobbes so special? Let’s take a closer look.

The Characters

At the heart of Calvin and Hobbes are its two main characters – Calvin and Hobbes themselves. Calvin is a precocious six-year-old boy with an overactive imagination.

He’s smart but often lazy when it comes to schoolwork, preferring instead to daydream about aliens, monsters, and superheroes. Hobbes is his stuffed tiger who comes alive when no one else is around. To Calvin, however, he’s a real tiger – one who talks, has feelings and opinions, and gets into mischief with him.


Calvin is a complex character that embodies both the joys and struggles of childhood. He’s curious about everything around him but often struggles to articulate his thoughts and feelings.

His relationship with his parents is complicated – he loves them but also resents their rules and restrictions. He’s also fiercely independent but craves attention from those he loves.


Hobbes complements Calvin perfectly as his alter ego in many ways. While Calvin is loud and impulsive, Hobbes is calm and collected. He’s also more mature than his human counterpart – often providing sage advice or offering a different perspective on things.

The Humor

One of the most significant draws of Calvin and Hobbes was its humor. The strip was never afraid to tackle serious issues such as mortality or environmentalism while still keeping things light-hearted enough for kids to enjoy.

Visual Gags

The comic strip frequently used visual gags to great effect, such as Calvin’s snowmen creations (which often portrayed dark and twisted scenes) or the way Hobbes would pounce on Calvin out of nowhere.

Wordplay and wit

The humor in Calvin and Hobbes was also heavily reliant on wordplay and wit. The strip often featured puns, clever turns of phrase, or subtle jokes that required a bit of thought to fully appreciate.

The Art

Aside from its characters and humor, Calvin and Hobbes was also known for its beautiful artwork. Watterson’s style was deceptively simple – he used clean lines, minimal shading, and a limited color palette to create a timeless look that still holds up today.


Watterson’s use of panel layout was also innovative at the time. He often broke free from the traditional grid-based format to create dynamic layouts that reflected the action in each strip.

Visual Storytelling

Finally, Watterson’s ability to tell stories visually is what truly sets Calvin and Hobbes apart. Many strips featured little to no dialogue yet still managed to convey complex emotions or tell a complete story through images alone.

In conclusion, what made Calvin and Hobbes so special was its ability to combine relatable characters with clever humor and beautiful art. It’s no wonder that the strip remains beloved by readers of all ages even after all these years.