I never read this in the papers regrettably. It ended in 1995 and I was born in 93. I regret never being able to read this in its natural place.
BUT, my parents at least read it casually and thought to buy one of the books. It's one of the first things I ever read as a kid, and I loved it.
Calvin - A bratty loudmouth in the most entertaining sense of the word. He's honestly the type of person who you wouldn't like to have as a kid, but Watterson writes him so well and gives him so much depth that I cannot help but admire him. Most of all for his imagination. Calvin doesn't try and limit his imaginative romps or conform them to what his parents or his surroundings want. He creates whole different worlds and persona's that leave me desperately wanting more.
Hobbes - The ever snarky companion whom you can view however you like, either a magical living toy, or merely the greatest product of Calvin's imagination (my personal thoughts tend to think of him as being completely alive.) Hobbes is undeniably one with more common sense, though even he can find himself roped into whatever scheme Calvin has come up with. Hobbes has a quiet dignity to him whenever he plays the role of witness to the insane schemes Calvin comes up with out of the air. However, he became just as much fun as Calvin and even more deadly when he wanted to be. I'm sure none of us will forget how he lay in wait and when Calvin came home from school, would always find some way of surprising Calvin by way of the pounce.
Perhaps the most poignant fact of these two is that, despite their constant quarreling and bickering, they are the best of friends, more like brothers than anything else. They love each other and several strips that dedicate themselves to showing their relationship at its most heartwarming just make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside.
Susie - Playing the part of the outsider who witnesses what looks like a display of utter insanity, and yet somehow finding something to keep her coming back Susie was a great character. She's the perfect foil to Calvin. Even the Early Installment Weirdness that portrayed them as a very heavy-handed love-hate relationship were good.
All in all, this is a quintessential part of my childhood.
Mr Watterson thank you for this masterpiece you gave to us. And now to quote Calvin "Let's Go Exploring!!!"