An Exploration of The Remarkable Commercial-Free Timelessness of Calvin and Hobbes

Art is never done as long as it has an audience

In his latest animated commentary, video essayist Kristian Williams aka KaptainKristian has tapped into the fascinating timelessness of the incredible comic Calvin and Hobbs, noting how its creator Bill Watterson crafted a fantastic world within a limited space, how he shunned the commercialism of his trade and how he addressed a vast variety of relevant subjects as through the eyes of a six-year old boy.

there’s no such thing as too low and high art. There are creations that either speak to people or don’t. Part of what makes the strips so timeless was that you don’t need to understand the pop culture or political context of the late eighties and early nineties in order to enjoy it. There was a focus on asking questions and exploring ideas rather than commenting on current topics as comic strips often did. Waterson challenged readers on issues of gender inequality, religious identity, education, environmentalism, philosophy and so much more. He didn’t let those 2-inch panels restrict him to cheap gags or sloppy artwork. He used it as an opportunity to get people think outside the box or at the very least rethink how they thought inside it. Reading Calvin and Hobbes makes you want to be an artist, an explorer, a philosopher. A simple four panel strip can occupy your mind for entire day. It perfectly captures the complexities of a six year old’s imagination from the infinite possibilities of cardboard box to the heroic aspirations we all had as children.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.