Today I finished the last Calvin and Hobbes.
A few years back Ethel got me “The Complete Calvin and Hobbes” – a three-volume set. They are each (as you can imagine) rather heavy, and difficult to tote around. So I would open one up and read a bit from time to time, but never made a concerted effort to read the whole thing.
However, a month or two back, I put the boxed set in my office bathroom.
Now I’ve read them all, and loved them all. I understand that Bill Waterson was probably tired of writing them, and I do know that he was tired of fighting to keep Calvin and Hobbes’ images from being marketed (unsuccessfully, I might add – how many rear windshields sport a likeness of Calvin urinating on some object of the driver’s contempt?).
But I wish that it hadn’t had to end.
I cried when I read the last Bloom County many years ago – but that was seeing it end in a newspaper that I was holding, and many of the characters showed up later in Outland. I knew when I read the above strip that it was coming (it’s hard not to notice the end of a heavy book) and I also knew that it actually ended eighteen years ago, so no tears were shed.
Like most comic strip characters, Calvin did not age. However, he did develop as a character – he got more articulate as time went on. He started out the strip with a six-year-old vocabulary, with his parents adding any needed pithy comments; by the end of the strip, he sometimes used words that I was only able to figure out by context.
And he got more preachy in the last few months; it seemed that Bill Waterson had some things that he wanted to say, and Calvin was his only way to say them. Well, he earned the right to use the podium, by my way of thinking.
…who, me? Exhausted – from all of the work that we are doing to stage the Chocolate House to put it on the market, from running and playing golf in record Arizona June (and now July) heat, from worrying about my job situation; the other stresses one can recover from, but when one’s brain wants to wake one up after just four or five hours sleep because one’s brain wants to talk about the job, then one doesn’t have the rest to recover.