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Calvin and Hobbes' Lazy Sunday Book - Bill Watterson

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  • They're all funny, buy them all
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      24.02.2007 10:20
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      Maybe if we all thought like Calvin the world would be a better place.

      First published in the UK in 1990, we have a collection of Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strips.
      For those of you unfamiliar with Calvin and Hobbes it's a comic strip that was created by Bill Watterson and has been syndicated in newspapers for over ten years and still to this day the old strips are reprinted.
      The story tells us of Calvin a rather imaginative, intelligent and yet quite troublesome boy and his pet tiger Hobbes. What you soon learn when you start reading the strips is that Hobbes can only be seen by Calvin, where everyone else sees him as a stuffed toy tiger. Now whether Hobbes is just a part of Calvin's imagination or whether he only comes to life when Calvin is there is a much talked about issue and many people have written long articles explaining there theory.
      To have people do such a thing in the first place over a comic strip shows how much the story of Calvin and his tiger Hobbes touched the lives of those who read it.

      A lot of the stories are set in the woodland around Calvin's home, probably being set around the mid-west USA like where Watterson lives. We see Calvin and Hobbes having fun, friendship, disagreements and quite deep conversations for such a young boy.

      Bill Watterson is well known for his integrity towards Calvin and Hobbes, which is why the only (official) Calvin and Hobbes merchandise available are the collection books.

      So for those of you unfamiliar with Sunday Strips, these are basically larger than your daily strips, taking a lot of page up (or all of it as it used to be), they are also in colour which quite a number of daily strips usually are not. As you can imagine newspaper cartoonist who where given the opportunity produced not just cartoons but works of art. This is the case with Calvin and Hobbes. Bill Watterson is a fantastic artist; he uses inks and in some of the strips watercolours. He's also used the Sunday strip as an excuse to show his artistic ability, we see some great detailed drawings of people in strips where Calvin is using his imagination in a funny strip with Susie where there playing 'House' also where Calvin is devouring his food pretending to be a dinosaur you get some fantastic detail in drawings of dinosaurs as well.
      The book also features a couple of extras that are exclusive to the book that have not been seen in newspapers (though they probably have been reprinted in future books).

      The strips are all amusing and intelligent at the same time, I remember reading a lot of Calvin and Hobbes when I was younger and learning lots of new words (and some of the strips are so clever that reading it now I realise that I didn't quite get the most out of the humour of Calvin and Hobbes). I find the relationship between Calvin and his Dad the funniest though; he obviously can be a little bit harsh on Calvin and his dad's sense of humour goes over Calvin's head - much to the amusement of the readers as a speech bubble (obviously from mom) says "Dear!" Like a lot of fathers he leaves 'mom' to deal with most of the responsibility of dealing with the kid which in itself you get lots of jokes such as Calvin bringing a frog to the table and mom freaking out. Sometimes though the strips are not all about laughs but at a guess with personal issues that Bill Watterson gets annoyed with himself, for example in the book there's a strip where Calvin and Hobbes are walking along through the wood and Calvin's getting annoyed about how he keeps coming across litter. To which Hobbes says, "You know, there are times when it's a source of personal pride to not be human" to which Calvin says, (having taken his clothes off) "I'm with you". It's strips like that show that Calvin is not a bad kid at all and why we love him so much.
      Featured in the book are two of Calvin's imaginary characters Spaceman Spiff and Stupendous Man usually involving situations with the outside world which Calvin has blocked out (usually seeing an alien or something) this helps him get into trouble a lot.

      Hobbes is a loveable creature who we'd all like as a friend, not always agreeing and having deep conversations with him.

      Also in the book we see Susie, the girl who lives down his street who Calvin terrorizes quite a bit (though you know deep down he has a crush on her). His teacher Miss Wormwood and the school bully Moe (though briefly in this book).

      Personally I'm not that keen on Sunday Strips as they are essentially one-shots and don't tend to have much of a story build up, I'm sure that writing a Sunday strip is a hard task to as they have to get a story across in a limited number of panels, where as with daily strips they can run wild and (potentially) have a story that could last for months. However lack of a gripping story line is made up for in the artwork and gags in the stories.

      Overall I wouldn't recommend choosing this book over other Calvin and Hobbes collections if you're just starting out because it's been out so long there are far better collections out there that have later strips as well. If you already have a few of the books I would recommend picking up the complete Calvin and Hobbes instead - even though it is expensive!

      One thing you will find with Calvin and Hobbes is, you'll laugh, you'll be touched and you might even shed a little tear. Prepare to go back to the innocence of a child.

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        20.06.2001 19:27
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        • "They're all funny
        • buy them all"

        A heresy and a pox upon the publishers souls, this book is an abomination. Right, now that that's out of the way, on with the review. The problem with this book is not the strips contained within, most of which are hilariously funny, nor with such ephemera as binding, printing or the introduction. The problem is that this is a collection of the full page, full colour sunday strips from Calvin & Hobbes. These strips are all reprinted in the other Calvin & Hobbes books, along with all of the weekday strips. Unless you have a particular penchant for owning the same things twice, or you only find full colour cartoons worthy, buy the collections of weekday *and* sunday strips, and leave this at the bookshop, unread and unloved.

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          18.02.2001 17:19
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          Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday book is essential for any coffee table. The content of the book will provide light entertainment for many years. My version has been thumbed through so many times paper cuts are now impossible. It will also act as a distraction for young children should you not have any of your own and suddenly have a need to keep one amused (i.e. Neice/Nephew, child of a friend etc.). If you are completely unfamiliar with the story-line, even better - this is a timeless classic and worth every penny.

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