I wasn’t the biggest Calvin & Hobbes fan in the world — no, in my family, that title goes to my brother; Peanuts and Bloom County/Outland were always more my speed — but I never didn’t enjoy Bill Watterson’s series.
Still, when I saw a link on Facebook to a webcomic about Calvin’s daughter and Hobbes, I was intrigued enough that I had to take a look.
There are four strips…
“Hobbes and Bacon” is the work of web cartoonists Dan and Tom Heyerman. Calvin is an artist, in his early thirties. He has a daughter, Bacon, named after the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon (since Watterson named Calvin after the theologian John Calvin and Hobbes after the philosopher Thomas Hobbes.) And one day, when she’s frightened of monsters in the night, Calvin introduces his daughter to “the fiercest creature he knows,” Hobbes.
The strips are cute, and they’re drawn in Watterson’s distinctive style. I think I like the third the most, even though it doesn’t have Hobbes in it. It’s simply a tender moment between a father and his daughter and their shared imagination. I might’ve liked a little more separation in personality between Bacon and the young Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes, but maybe that’s the point, that children aren’t really that different than their parents were at the same age. Maybe Calvin’s parents were more like Calvin aged seven than they realized; it’s only the passage of time that skewed their perspective.
I can’t really imagine Charlie Brown and his gang as adults, though I know of people who have tried (and there’s a play that imagines them in high school). Calvin growing up doesn’t bother me, though. Partly it’s that I don’t have the same connection to Calvin that I do to Charlie Brown. But mainly, it’s that I always imagined that, at some point, Calvin would outgrow Hobbes and that he would someday see Hobbes as a stuffed animal. Seeing that, yes, that’s exactly what happened, but that the magic of Hobbes and imaginary friends lives on through the eyes of another, makes perfect sense to me.
Robert Krulwich of NPR wrote about the first two strips when they were published, and he has a different opinion, and comes at “Hobbes & Bacon” from a different direction. And that’s fair, his connection to Watterson’s series is different than mine.
All four strips, taken together, they feel… right to me. They’re not a conclusion to Watterson, just a look at what might’ve been, of where the story might’ve gone. “Bacon & Hobbes” is cute, it’s reverential to Watterson’s work, and I’m glad I read it. If you liked Calvin & Hobbes, maybe you should, too.