So I'm reading my way through The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and have been enjoying every minute of it. I am struck, once again, at Watterson's brilliance as an artist and as a writer. Although there are times his integration or balance of those two aspects of cartooning is not as complete as I'd like, but we none of us are perfect all the time. In his introduction, Watterson credits the influence of Schultz, Kelly, and Herriman, all of which are pretty easy to spot in his work*, but I was surprised that he didn't mention Kurtzman and Wood—I could swear I detect a large dollop of their work in the Calvin and Hobbes corpus**.
The volumes themselves are stunning as well; they're printed on nice heavy stock and the reproduction of the art is first-rate. Plus the strips are printed in a size that lets one really appreciate Watterson's craft as an inker and colorist. Breathtaking.
Anyway, it's been great to be able to join those two pals in their adventure through 6-year-old life.
* Seems to me, for one thing, that Calvin and Hobbes could easily dress up as Pogo and Albert for Halloween. Although, of course, the ambient culture is quite different—Pogo consistently maintains his equanimity while all the other residents of and visitors to Okefenokee are busily losing their grip in the excitement of the moment…
** Calvin's open-mouthed, hair-upraised take when he's surprised and shocked seems especially reminiscent of their work.