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I first read Calvin and Hobbes when I was nine, and thought it was quite funny. In the twenty years since, I've reread the series many times, and it feels like every time I do, another strip makes sense, or I notice a double meaning where I didn't see it before. That comic is an entire showroom of fridges. — Wemmblyhogg
I just realized that both characters are named after Renaissance philosophers. That is some heavy stuff for a comic strip.
See Late to the Punchline, but a lot of comics also only make sense when you take into account the time in which they were written; Calvin's self-centeredness as a critique of attitudes in The Eighties, his taste in comic books and movies being a jab at the then-ongoing Dark Age, and so on. To a kid born after 2000 reading this, they're probably going to be even more confused, but still laughing at timeless gags.
I'm not sure the comic books are supposed to symbolize anything; Watterson openly says he hates comic books in the 10th anniversary collection. —Jonn
To be fair, just because he doesn't like comic books doesn't mean he wouldn't use them symbolically. Not all symbolism is positive.—opticwind
In the story where Calvin was in the class play about nutrition, he told his mom that he'd be playing "a great dramatic role" that would leave the audience in tears. He was playing an onion. I only just realized the hidden joke there... Bravo to Mr. Watterson, especially if it was intentional. —Toru771
One of the story arcs Hobbes shaving Calvin's head. In Latin, Calvin means "bald."
Numerous strips have Calvin claim that he's predestined for greatness. Calvin is named after John Calvin, founder of Calvinism, which has predestination as a doctrine.
In one of the last strips, Calvin grosses out Susie by stuffing manicotti down his shirt and pretending his guts are exploding out of his stomach. He then mentions to himself in the final panel that he should try this in class. Given that the series never evolved timewise from Calvin's standpoint (in that he was perpetually 6 years old and stuck in the same grade for the series' run) could this possibly be THE noodle incident?
Nope. "No one can prove I did that!!" Pretty easy to prove he did that...
This is not the Noodle Incident, not by a long shot. Firstly, Watterson had said he would never depict it in the strip. Secondly, for a kid who produced a safety poster called "Be Careful or Be Roadkill", graphically illustrated it using chunky spaghetti sauce, and was then indignant that his poster lost the contest, this troper hardly thinks Calvin would be so embarrassed by this instance as to deny that it happened or to claim that that no one could prove he'd done it.
One early strip consisted of Calvin asking his dad a bunch of questions which the latter honestly admitted to not knowing the answers to. This prompted a rather annoyed Calvin to state that perhaps Dad shouldn't be a parent. This would certainly explain why Dad started lying to his kid ever since.
The second strip ever shows Calvin asking his Dad what he should do with the tiger he's caught His Dad's response? "Bring him home and stuff him. Maybe Hobbes' perception filter powers work two ways: Calvin wants to see a real tiger, so he does. His parents want to see a stuffed tiger, so they do!
The story arc where Calvin tries to weasel out of writing a story for school by picking it up from the future seems like it might be incredibly paradoxical at first, but it actually flows together quite well. The 6:30 Calvin doesn't know about the implications of time travel, the 7:30 Calvin is older and wiser from having gone through the whole adventure and is able to explain it to him, and the 8:30 Calvin is merely keeping up appearances to ensure a Stable Time Loop is in effect, since he knows that the 6:30 and 8:30 Hobbeses will write the story themselves and save him all the trouble.
There was once a comic strip where Calvin says the United States was founded around 200 B.C. Calvin says that B.C. stands for Before Calvin instead of Before Christ. If the United States was founded in 1776, it must imply that Calvin was born in 1976. It makes sense considering that the first Calvin and Hobbes strip was published in 1985. — iansimsjam
Hobbes' examples of "Imaginary Numbers" (Eleventeen, Thirty-Twelve) actually would be valid numbers... in base twelve. They'd be written as 1A and 3B, respectively.note In Base 10, they'd be equivalent to 22 and 47. They're definitely not imaginary numbers, though, in any sense of the word, so he's more wrong than ever - Ditzy Genius? —Baffle Blend
Calvin is often seen creating cities/towns, whether out of sand or snow or something else. Nearly every single time, Calvin ends up destroying what he created, sometimes with a Slasher Smile to go with it. A good example here. To a younger reader not really paying attention to the detail in Calvin's narration, he/she might just see it as Calvin and Hobbes playing in the sand and Hobbes being spooked for no reason. Dig just a tiny bit deeper though, and you realize that Calvin, who could do WHATEVER HE WANTED with the "little town" he created, chose to poison nearly the entire populace to the point that the cancer rate in the town TRIPLES. And he DOESN'T EVEN CARE. What the hell, Calvin?
Real-world power plants and industrial concerns, in an effort to maximize profits, often pollute to the point of slowly and methodically poisoning everybody who lives in the smog radius. Little Calvin was just trying to be realistic.
While Calvins imaginary destruction CAN get a little disturbing, its actually perfectly normal, small children are often like this when they play. A genuine sign that something is wrong would be if he tortured living animals, which is something Calvin would never do.
A strip has Calvin's mother ask what happened to a kid that mocked Calvin for bringing a stuffed tiger to school. His response: "Hobbes ate him". Calvin - of course - believes Hobbes did, and the fact seems to be no one mocks Calvin about that. Assuming Calvin isn't just making that up, that leaves us with two options: If Hobbes is real, that means he ate a kid. If Hobbes isn't real, that means Calvin might have done something really gory to said kid.
This might even explain why Moe is so scared when Calvin invites him to take Hobbes later - he remembers what happened to the last kid who messed with Calvin's "teddy bear". Though it's worth noting that in later strips, Calvin rarely takes Hobbes to school, as evidenced by the "pouncing on him when he gets home" Running Gag. It's possible the opportunity just doesn't come up very often; maybe, if Hobbes isn't real, Calvin threw him on somebody and gave him a real scare.
I always figured maybe the kid got in trouble for picking on Calvin, and then moved/got expelled, and Calvin (fallaciously) bragged to his fellow students that Hobbes ate him so Calvin wouldn't be picked on anymore.
An example occurs in canon, when Calvin and Hobbes are eating breakfast. Note that it doesn't make much sense, as someone could have simply observed a baby cow nursing from its mother, noticed that babies drink their mothers' milk, and realized that humans could drink cow milk too. Also can double as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
Calvin:The more you think about things, the weirder they seem. Take this milk. Why do we drink cow milk?? Who was the guy who first looked at a cow and said. “I think I’ll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze ‘em!”? Isn't that weird?
Hobbes:(disgusted expression) I think conversation should be kept to a minimum until afternoon.
If you interpret Hobbes as a figment of Calvin's imagination, then how do you explain Calvin getting beat up whenever Hobbes pounces on him? Oh no...don't tell me Calvin is scratching himself up.
I once saw someone who wrote that they couldn't read Calvin and Hobbs anymore since they realized that meant that Calvin was really getting beat up at school.
That doesn't make any sense, because that would mean he rides the bus home in that condition, which means that the other kids and the bus driver would notice.
It could just be the results of Moe beating Calvin up at school.
It's possible that he manages to rough himself up play-wrestling with Hobbes and rolling around on the ground even though Hobbes is really just a stuffed toy that can't actually fight back.
Calvin's only friend is Hobbes. Let that sink in. Moe picks on him, and apart from the antagonistic relationship he has with Susie, Calvin is never seen with other kids, unless they are making fun of him. No wonder he hates school so much...
To be fair, Susie tries very hard to be friends with Calvin, even after he treats her like dirt time and time again. And even when Calvin gives in and agrees to play with Susie, he ends up being a jerk to her for no good reason, while she's just trying to be nice and have fun. He also does the same thing to Hobbes, although Hobbes is sometimes a jerk too.
In the Tracer Bullet arc where Calvin is trying to solve a word problem, Calvin attempts to copy Susie's answer. In Tracer's world, this is translated as the detective heading over to "the Derkins dame" to get information. When Susie refuses to tell Calvin anything, Tracer remarks that somebody "got to her first and shut her up good." The implication seems to be that she was killed.
Of course not. That means someone told her not to tell the answer to Calvin. Miss Wormwood of course.
And I think the intended implication within the Tracer Bullet scenario is that she was bribed.
If this strip is any indication, Moe's (and to a less vicious extent, Hobbes') constant abuse is having an adverse affect on Calvin...
Applied rigorously by Calvin and Hobbes. One example is when Calvin declared math to be a religion:
Calvin: You take two numbers and when you add them, they magically become one new number! No one can say how it happens. You either believe it or you don't. This whole book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith! It's a religion! Hobbes: And in the public schools no less. Call a lawyer.