I'm trying to find the best collection of hyperboles to describe "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. There are none. It is all good. All funny. All playful. All witty.
So there it is. Find a word that is positive, then put 'all' in front of it. I like it that much.
What these three volumes represent for most of us looking for it is exactly as the title says, 'complete'. Every Calvin and Hobbes strip is here. The print quality is strong, and the paper is marvelous.
For me, this is not an archival collection. These are books I look at frequently. I read them. I crack one open, and find myself chuckling for 30 minutes. I can't say I deeply analyze the strips, or ask exactly how real Hobbes is. Rather, I just soak it in, and smile a lot.
I have read them all before, but they hold up well over the years.
As I grow older, I understand some of them differently. Mr. Watterson transcendently addresses human nature and our timeless nature to create unnecessary troubles. He remembers the complexity of childhood romance, parent-to-child-to-parent relationship dynamics, and the struggle of being a less than attentive student. In all of this, he finds enormous amounts of gentle creativity.
What is missing is a short line from Mr. Watterson himself. I looked for it. It isn't here. It is, in fact, the only thing lacking. There should be a line which says, "Thanks for reading, friends. I'm hard at work on relaunching new Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. Look for it soon in your local paper." Mr. Watterson never wrote that because it isn't true. Instead, Mr. Watterson ended the strip on his own terms with possibly the best last strip ever. The only strip perhaps exceeding it is Charles Schulz' last Peanuts strip.
I first heard of the strip from an old, good friend when I was in college. Soon after, he gave me a copy of the first collected strips in a now-worn paperback volume, inscribing, "Here's some light reading to help you through the rougher times." Then, when he passed away this spring, he bequeathed one item to me, and that was this complete collection. When I think of him and miss those great times, and need some light reading, I know where to go.
I fully recommend "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. Come on, "Let's go exploring!"