Last night a friend and I were talking about comic strips. Those used-to-be mandatory humour inserts in newspapers that have now almost all but vanished or been relegated to awful tabloid style sunday supplements.
I grew up on comic strips having spent many a lovely rainy afternoon curled up with Asterix and Obelix on voyage to Corsica, later I moved to Dilbert and the Weasels with a growing empathy for his cubicled existence, replacing Catbert with the many managerial attitudes I have known and disliked.
The most evergreen memory has been Calvin and Hobbes. I remember teaching English with Calvin and Hobbes and Political Philosophy too. This is hardly surprising considering that Calvin is easily the greatest political philosopher ever. There have been hundereds of comic strips in newspapers so far, several terrible or just about average, and some so absolutely brilliant that I collected them and made scrapbooks for summer school projects.
Bill Watterson is one of my all-time heroes and I wish sometimes that there was a tad more (yes I know there are thousands of strips!), the world for sure is a much saner place with the tiger and the boy. There’s something about Calvinian hometruths and Hobbesian aphorisms…
The real beauty of the twosome is in that unique form of impudence, the curious situations they get into and the enduring alliance between the brat-pack; terror-child, genius and his pretend tiger living in fantasies that both you and I share.