7 Things You Might Not Know About Calvin and Hobbes

We’re big Calvin and Hobbes fans at the Kelley house. I was excited to read this article from Mental Floss, which preview a larger article in their December issue. Click over to read more about these little known facts from Bill Watterson’s comic strip:

1. Steven Speilberg and George Lucas both wanted to meet with Bill Watterson. Watterson declined.

2. Before Calvin and Hobbes was regularly published, Watterson was asked to include an existing character named Robotman in the Calvin and Hobbes strip in some of Calvin’s daydreams. He declined.

3. The “complete collection” of Calvin and Hobbes isn’t quite complete. For example, one stri, featuring Hobbes in a washing machine, is missing. Some have speculated that putting the tiger in a spin cycle might be an unwelcome hint he’s not real. No one, including Watterson, ever wanted to have that question answered.

4. Watterson largely refused to license his characters to be made into toys, games, movies and other stuff, but he did allow a few exceptions. Calvin appeared on a Museum of Modern Art shirt commemorating an Ohio State University exhibition of comic art in 2001; two calendars, for 1989 and 1990, were issued; the book Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes was a tutorial intended to help students improve their language skills; finally, the duo mugged for a postage stamp in 2010, part of a Postal Service sheet of comic strip icons. I guess the coffee mug we have at home is contraband.

5. While any true fan of Calvin and Hobbes finds the ubiquitous, unauthorized car decal of Calvin peeing on automotive logos distasteful, at least one state took legal action: In the late 1990s, South Carolina slapped drivers sporting it with a ticket for $200, declaring it “obscene.” In a 2005 Q&A with readers to promote the Completecollection, Watterson dryly noted that he “clearly miscalculated how popular it would be to show Calvin urinating on a Ford logo.”

6. Spaceman Spiff, one of Calvin’s alter egos, was originally the whole idea. It was intended to be a parody of the Star Wars space fantasy genre. “It was so bad,” Watterson told the Dallas Morning Newsin 1987, “that I make fun of it in Calvin.”

7. Watterson actually did one other piece of work for sale after the last Calvin strip: An oil-on-canvas depiction of Petey Otterloop, one of the characters in the comic strip Cul de Sac. Watterson donated the work to help raise funds for Parkinson’s research, a disease afflicting the strip’s author, Richard Thompson. Selling for over $13,000 at auction, it might just be the most affordable piece of Watterson art we’ll ever see: an original Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip sold for a staggering $203,150last year.

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