A Comeback for Calvin and Hobbes?

You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place. That’s why animals are so soft and huggy.
Calvin and Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”

Calvin and Hobbes - Friendship

Because we are coming up on the yearly anniversary of the final strips of Calvin and Hobbes (December 31st, 1995 was when the last strip was published), and because I’m feeling particularly nostalgic this Tuesday, I can’t help but reminisce about the marvel that is Calvin and the phenomenon that is Hobbes. While I was only six when the comic ended, I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on a compilation book of Calvin and Hobbes. I was in middle school, and I can’t tell you what exactly drew me to pick up that book during our ten minutes of “free time” in homeroom – maybe it was my love for animals or maybe it stemmed from my childhood obsession with all things Winnie the Pooh, particularly Tigger (I used to have the episodes – yes, episodes – of that show on Laser Disc) – but nevertheless, I picked up The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes, and thus began my love for a boy and his tiger.

Courtesy of calvinhobbesdaily.tumblr.com.

Courtesy of calvinhobbesdaily.tumblr.com.

It is a love that has lasted for over a decade now and through the years, I have collected the complete set of newspaper strips (and no, not simply by buying The Complete Calvin and Hobbes – that was only released eight years ago), but by tracking down the compilation books, the artwork, the short stories, and even a collection of original sketches by creator Bill Watterson. From visiting bookstores to book fairs to searching online, it is a collection that I am quite proud of and will continue to cherish for many years to come.

And while the comic strip ended almost 18 years ago, the story of Calvin and Hobbes is actually quite timely. While Bill Watterson has only given two interviews in the past two decades, the fanbase for this comic strip spans worldwide. And in November of this year, Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary about Watterson himself as well as the creation and evolution of Calvin and Hobbes, was released in select theaters, leading fans to question if a full length feature film will ever come for that boy and his stuffed tiger. Which leads me to my next point…

Enter Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, that’s right. The man who brought Jack Dawson, Jay Gatsby, Jordan Belfort (not quite sure why I went with all J names here, but we’ll just roll with it), and many other timeless characters to life is looking to bring Calvin and Hobbes to life. Personally, I can’t think of a better combination than my long lost love Leo and two of my favorite fictional childhood friends coming together. That would be simply marvelous. And magnificent. And magical. Clearly, I’m just one with the alliterations today, aren’t I?

Over the past couple of days, Hollywood is talking. Supposedly, DiCaprio and producer of the Sherlock Holmes movies Roy Lee have obtained a script from screenwriter Dan Collar titled – drumroll, please – A Boy and His Tiger. Very original and not at all conspicuous, guys. However, myself and the rest of the fans shouldn’t be too quick to get our hopes up. Sadly (and somewhat obviously), Warner Bros. does not own any of the rights to Calvin and Hobbes, and it’s highly doubtful that Watterson is going to agree to sign them over, especially as he has stated in past interviews that he does not want to see those two characters become animated property. Essentially, it boils down to the respect he has for those two characters, and the question always arises if licensing them out would diminish their meaning and significance. And summing it up with an even more eloquent response: Watterson wants his fans and readers to connect solely with their imaginations – which explains why you don’t see an abundance of plush Hobbes toys and only unlicensed merchandise is available. But I’m holding out. Come on, Bill, be my hero.

But whether or not a biopic comes from DiCaprio’s efforts, Calvin and Hobbes will always hold an everlasting charm for me. For me, the comic is not only hilarious, but it does offer some deep thoughts, and it also allows its readers to connect with the characters in a way that other comics do not allow. The whole premise of Calvin and Hobbes is a friendship between two entities (a young boy and his tiger), and we can all relate to the notion of having a best friend, especially at such a young age, when the world seems carefree and innocent, and maybe all you had to worry about was whether 12 + 7 or 3 + 4 equals one billion.

Courtesy of gocomics.com.

Courtesy of gocomics.com.

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