Thursday, June 19, 2014

Calvin and Hobbes; Something Under the Bed is Drooling by Bill Watterson

I'm not a comic book person. I've always strive to be one but end up failing miserably. The only comic book I have read cover to cover is a book called Coffee with Jesus which I reviewed not long ago. Shortly after I began reading that book of comics, I found a Calvin and Hobbes book at a thrift store. It looked like a brand new copy so I bought it for two dollars! What a steal! My intention when buying the book was to set it aside as a gift for my little cousin... but not before reading it myself first. I grew up with Calvin and Hobbes even though I never read their stories. Actually, I did try to read them as a kid in an attempt to be cool but...well you can guess how that ended. I failed miserably. Now that I am an adult, Calvin and Hobbes gives me the same feeling of missing out when people discuss it's greatness, along with the Oregon Trail game and Boy Meets World. Yeah, I'm a 90's kid and I experienced none of those things. That being said, I knew I would eventually have to read Calvin and Hobbes. The way people raved about these comics gave birth to an extreme jealousy inside of me. Why had I not yet read this apparently amazing comic?
Something's Drooling Under the Bed starts out as a silly group of comics that didn't quire feel amazing as people claimed. I kept reading though and soon found the comics to contain hidden beauty within their stillness. If I could explain Calvin and Hobbes in one sentence it would be, Little boy takes on the world of oblivious adults using his imagination with his stuffed tiger. 
That sentence may make Calvin and Hobbes seem simple but it is far from simple. No childrens text is simple. When I mentioned to a friend of mine at work (who is in her late 40s) that I was giving the book to me little cousin who is 10, she said 10 is almost too young. He might now get it. That is what is awesome about this book. It transcends age and finds adults connecting with it more from a bird's eye view of Calvin's adolescence.
I enjoyed the book the more and more I read but it was a little over halfway through when I really began to see and feel what makes these comics timeless. Calvin and Hobbes find a weak and dying raccoon on a walk. Calvin runs to tell his mother who comes and puts the raccoon in a box. They let the raccoon sleep in the garage but it doesn't live through the night. When Calvin's father reveals the bad news, Calvin is in shock and begins to contemplate death and what it means to lose someone. The tie between him and Hobbes is at that moment stronger than ever. Another big topic address is deforestation! Poor Calvin contemplates the idea of animals loosing their homes all for another generic living facility or shopping mall.
Calvin has many questions and concerns about the world we inhabit and as he asks these questions, we find ourselves wanting to seek out the answers with him. We are captured by his wild imagination of dreaming up questions, grams, and schemes with his stuff tiger. Overall, I'd say this book is excellent. I won't go as far to say that I am hooked on comics...but I am hooked on things that keep me thinking and challenging my beliefs. This group of comics does just that and I loved it!
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars. While there was a ton of great strips, there were also a good chunk that didn't really make me laugh or move me in any way. It is a medium I'm still getting used to and I look forward to reading more.

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