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Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip by American cartoonist Bill Watterson that was syndicated from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995. It follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher. At the height of its popularity, Calvin and Hobbes was featured in over 2,400 newspapers worldwide. As of January 2015, reruns of the strip still appear in more than 50 countries. By 2010 nearly 45 million copies of the 18 Calvin and Hobbes books have been sold.

Calvin and Hobbes is set in the contemporary United States in an unspecified suburban area, which is vaguely suggested to be in northeast Ohio. The strip depicts Calvin’s flights of fancy and his friendship with Hobbes. It also examines Calvin’s relationships with family and classmates. Hobbes’ dual nature is a defining motif for the strip: to Calvin, Hobbes is a live anthropomorphic tiger; all the other characters see him as an inanimate stuffed toy. Though the series does not mention specific political figures or current events, it does explore broad issues like environmentalism, public education, philosophical quandaries, and the flaws of opinion polls.  calvin02

Calvin and Hobbes was conceived when Bill Watterson, working in an advertising job he detested, began devoting his spare time to cartooning, his true love. He explored various strip ideas but all were rejected by the syndicates. United Feature Syndicate finally responded positively to one strip called Critturs, which featured a side character (the main character’s little brother) who had a stuffed tiger. Told that these characters were the strongest, Watterson began a new strip centered on them. Though United Feature rejected the new strip, Universal Press Syndicate eventually took it.

calvin03The first strip was published on November 22, 1985, and the series quickly became a hit. Within a year of syndication, the strip was published in roughly 250 newspapers. Before long the strip was in wide circulation outside the United States. By April 5, 1987, Watterson and his work were featured in an article in The Los Angeles Times. Calvin and Hobbes twice earned Watterson the Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society in the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year category, first in 1986 and again in 1988. He was nominated again in 1992. The Society awarded him the Humor Comic Strip Award for 1988. Calvin and Hobbes has also won several more awards.

Complete collection part 1-3

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Complete collection part 4-6

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Complete collection part 10,11, various, Sunday pages 1985,1995, Tenth Anniversary

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