Cartoon six-year-old found in Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.

Also a dead philosopher/religious guy who founded Calvinism, in order to be able to call people he didn't like reprobates.

Calvin: The Only Honest Child in Comics

Even for me, one of the most jaded, humanity-hating misanthropes who ever lived, Calvin is the only entity ever to bring me to tears with memories. Except that night a drunken baboon savagely and repeatedly punched me in the groin. Calvin, the epitome of every little boy who ever got left out of the schoolyard games, has been my role-model since time immemorial. His stubborn refusal to submit to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune brought me through many dark and miserable nights as a high-school outcast, and still provides me with a shining icon of how to live: never give up, never surrender.

Calvin became a part of my life, the only gift my evil aunt ever gave me, at an early age, and continues to be so to this day. His flights of fancy shaped my own, and that little voice in the back of my head that tells me that I all I really need is me sounds suspiciously like Hobbes. I still find great pleasure in using Calvin's words as my own, whether to my own Moes or to my Philosophy prof.

Now that I'm past high-school and into college and philosophy and filmmaking, Calvin has taken on a new kind of role in my life. He is almost a muse now, reminding me that inspiration is never farther away than your own imagination. (It must be admitted that one of my in-progress screenplays With Apologies To Bill is a shameless "tribute" to Tracer Bullet.)

I have come to the opinion that children should be introduced to the wonderful world of reading and language not with mindless "See Spot Run", but with the endless joy of Calvin and Hobbes, and that, perhaps, ever adult should be reminded of what childhood really was, a time of pain, joy, discovery and imagination.

Note: This is node is written as part of We Could Be Heroes: tes's Everything2 Heroes Quest

This noteworthy short novel has been written for the YA crowd, but its likely audience is some years older, readers familiar with the leading light of the second (and likely final) Golden Age of Comic Strips. The story concerns a schizophrenic Canadian teen who heads out across the frozen Lake Erie accompanied by an imaginary talking tiger named Hobbes and a girl from his school named Susie, in a mad quest to find the reclusive Bill Watterson.

Calvin was born the day the last Calvin and Hobbes strip appeared in papers. A relative gave him a stuffed tiger as a whimsical present, which he kept for years, until it was washed to pieces. As he grows into his teens and his schizophrenia manifests, Hobbes returns, as an auditory hallucination. Due to his oddness and social awkwardness, Calvin gets bullied by an idiotic thug named Maurice and abandoned by his friends. Most painful is the social abandonment of his childhood friend, a girl named Susie.

She returns to see him when he is in the hospital. There, he develops an odd plan that he believes will cure him. He intends to cross the frozen water of Lake Erie to Cleveland, Ohio and locate the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson. We know from the start that the tiger accompanying him doesn't exist in the physical world. Some time will pass before we know whether the Susie who joins him is another manifestation of his condition, or an actual human being, intent on setting things right.

The book, written in brilliant, stripped prose, features fantastic descriptions of a sparse and deadly land(lake)scape that reflects its protagonist's afflicted mental state. Calvin is a small piece of art.

Art, especially art conscribed by genre, comes at a price. The book assumes reader familiarity with Calvin and Hobbes; that may be a small section of its intended audience. Older readers may find that the ending, while suited to the genre, feels abrupt and a bit too easy.1

Nevertheless, Calvin feels fresh, despite borrowing its central characters from a well-known source and its plot from centuries of quest-narratives (and not a few books which impose modern psychiatric understandings on the quest). There is no denying the power of Leavitt's prose, and the poignancy of many of Calvin's moments with his friends, real or imaginary. It's far from being a perfect novel, even a perfect YA novel, but it deserves special consideration for even attempting this premise. Calvin itself represents a kind of mad quest.

Title: Calvin
Author: Martine Leavitt

First published December 2015.

ISBN-10: 0374380732
ISBN-13: 978-0374380731

1. SEMI-SPOILER: Unless you impose on it a spectacularly dark twist, which the book does not really support.

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