Growing up with Calvin and Hobbes

By Zac Gardiner

To celebrate #WorldBookDay we asked you to tell us about the books you read as a child that went on to inspire and influence you into your adult life. Manchester Metropollitan University filmaking student discusses reading Calvin and Hobbes at a young age and how that introduced him to his creative side.

calvin-and-hobbes-just-turned-30-heres-the-history-of-the-strip-and-its-mysterious-creator-bill-wattersonCalvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson is one of the most opinionated and influential comics out there. It is well written enough to be readable by people of all ages but I grew up with it as my bedtime story book from a young age and it likely inspired a lot of the creativity in my life, I even had a teddy named after Hobbes! The comic follows the adventures of a young boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger and imaginary best friend, Hobbes as they go on adventures, transform themselves via corrugated cardboard box inventions or fight off hordes of evil snow mutants.

The comic was created, written and inked by Bill Watterson, running from 1985 – 1995. It was published in multiple newspapers across the world and then eventually in its own collections. Bill fought long and hard to prevent any merchandising being created from it, as he preferred it being a one-man comic strip made by him and him only. He insisted that comic strips should be kept as an art form of their own and as a result, hardly any merchandise outside of the collections of his comics were made.

I grew up with my dad’s collection of comics and amongst them was this beautifully psychological adventure, I read through Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons and It’s a magical world every Christmas, Homicidal Psycho Jungle cat and There’s treasure everywhere every summer and so on. They were my favourite characters from anything I’d read and still hold a dear place in my heart. I’m pretty sure Calvin and Hobbes is the reason I got into creating art, I used to try to make my own comics based on them, obviously they weren’t any good but it was a start!

Calvin is an incredibly intelligent kid, regardless of his grades at school, shown through his vocabulary and the topics he often talks about in the comics, often he and Hobbes would discuss the wonders of the universe, environmental issues, psychological theories and so much more. The comics were a source of wonder and whimsy for anyone and I think that is why I adored them so much whilst growing up.

The comics did and always will mean a lot to me; they helped me understand a lot of this strange world and probably influenced my sense of humour. It is an incredibly creative piece of comic history and everyone should really read at least a strip of it in their lifetime.

The Manchester Children’s Book Festival have plenty more dates up their sleeve throughout the year. Make sure the FREE Family Fun Day taking place on June 24 is in your diary!

You can check out our full Festival programme here and also follow @MCBFestival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #MCBF2017 to keep up-to-date with all our events and news.



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