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Nightmare Fuel / Calvin and Hobbes

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So, you thought Calvin and Hobbes was innocuous? Well, you're wrong; dead wrong, as you think again, you will prepare to visit your worst nightmares!

  • If you were to believe that any of Calvin's adventures through space and time were real, the idea that his parents were inches from losing their only child several times would be nauseating.
  • The "Nauseous Nocturne," a poem about Calvin being menaced by monsters at night. And imagines being eaten alive. With illustrations of his bones. Luckily, it has a happy ending, but that's not 'til the last few panels.
  • In one Sunday strip, Hobbes disguises himself as a Bedsheet Ghost to scare the crap out of Calvin. You'd think that would make the pic inherently silly, but out of context, the pic in question (which is the page image for Bedsheet Ghost) is so well inked and moodily colored, that it really convincingly sells why Calvin would be so terrified.
    • Hobbes attacking Calvin at night can be plenty scary, bedsheet or not. "Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat" is a perfect example; imagine walking back from the bathroom, a bit sleepy and not all that alert, when a pair of glowing eyes and clawed hands lunges at you from the dark, with nowhere for you to flee.
  • Calvin's snowman in this strip, although it could be considered Ugly Cute.
  • Calvin's dad as a giant eyeball.
    Hobbes: No one gives the evil eye like your dad.
    Calvin: Did you see the way his veins throbbed?
  • Calvin tries to pretend the monsters under his bed don't exist. When it doesn't work... Two giant, bony hands with long fingers come out of the darkness.
  • In one strip, Calvin is angered by a local forest that had been cleared for trees, and then questions how people would like it if subdivisions were bulldozed in order to plant trees. The next panel shows Hobbes sitting in a parked bulldozer lamenting that the construction workers hadn't left behind the keys. The situation is Played for Laughs, but the deeper implication that the two of them were ready to steal a bulldozer and start flattening occupied houses is more than a little disturbing.
  • The arc where Calvin breaks his dad's binoculars. When dad finds out, we're treated to a POV of him screaming at Calvin for the first three panels which can hit close to home for anyone who had an angry parent yell at them as a child. The third panel is particularly uncomfortable with Dad's face drawn with more detail than usual. This quickly turns into Tear Jerker when Calvin apologizes and tells him he already feels terrible, with his dad now visibly sorry about yelling at Calvin.
  • Not a visual source of Nightmare Fuel, but Calvin's observation here is quite unnerving nevertheless. His toaster doesn't work, then he wonders why people get on airplanes knowing they might break.
  • In one strip, Calvin gets sick and as his mom prepares to call the doctor tells him that he won't have to miss school because it's Saturday. Calvin responds with a weak "I know". Understandably, his mom races to the phone immediately.
    • Earlier in the arc, Calvin wakes up in the middle of the night with an upset stomach and asks for his mom. His mom is initially not happy with having to get up in the middle of the night and thinks that Calvin had better not be faking. She then hears him throwing up and gives a panicked shout of, "I didn't mean it!"
  • Calvin has a dream that his parents are aliens and they plan on eating him. They dip him in waffle batter and start to cook him on a waffle griddle. This in concept sounds hilarious, but the strip itself happens to be quite morbid. It begins with Calvin asking his parents if he could stay up and read some more, but his parents tell him that they don't want him to get too smart, because he might find out their real identity. The strip is quite dark because of how frightened Calvin actually is. And here, we're seeing him in a situation where he could very well die. Of course, it turns out to be a dream, but the idea of Calvin being crushed and eaten, while covered in batter, is quite morbid indeed.
  • The Snow Goon that Calvin accidentally brings to life, which turns out to be evil, and quickly figures out how to not only add more mass and an extra head to himself, he begins to make MORE Snow Goons, which soon overrun the entire yard. Calvin is forced to come inside before he can figure out how to destroy them, and he can only helplessly watch from his room window as the snow goons amass an army outside, waiting to pounce on him when he leaves for school the next morning. Its not until he manages to sneak out after dark and sprays the sleeping Snow Goons with the garden hose, freezing them solid, that the danger is disabled. Of course, his parents don't believe a word of it.
  • Calvin pretending that he's a vengeful God Is Evil-version of the Abrahamic God, damning humanity to eternal torment for "displeasing him", while playing with his tinker-toys. The kid is seriously messed up sometimes, though it shows he's done his homework about certain gods.
  • There's a Sunday strip showing how Calvin views his miserable days through school, with such lovely images as being herded alongside a group of mindless cattle into a pen, sitting on an assembly line with the top of his head removed while a machine fills his skull with green slime, being turned into a rotting zombie, forced to mindlessly repeat meaningless phrases as a humanoid parrot, and breaking rocks as part of a prison chain gang. This is especially horrible for those of us who had an equally awful time in school and just counted minute after minute of endless tedium in a place we didn't want to be in.
    • The Calvin and Hobbes 10th Anniversary Book, is a book with some comics with captions from the author. This one says, "If Calvin thinks school is like this, wait until he gets his first job."
  • Rosalyn arcs in general are those for those who either sympathize with Calvin or Rosalyn. In Calvin's mind, she's the Babysitter from Hell for locking him in the garage, and joking about using a cattle prod on him. In Rosalyn's mind, she's a Badly Battered Babysitter trying to pay for college, with a charge who openly detests her and has planned to tie her up at least once.
    • Two different perspectives from the arc where Calvin steals Rosalyn's science notes.
      • After Rosalyn loses a footrace to the bathroom, she screams at Calvin to hand her notes back "...or your parents will never find your remains!" To a six year old, a death threat from anyone especially a baby sitter sure can be traumatizing. Admittedly, Calvin didn't seem too alarmed (at least not until Rosalyn tricked him into emerging and then pounced), but the reader much like Hobbes might still find it disturbing.
      • Rosalyn has to deal with the possibility that Calvin flushed her notes down the toilet. Imagine, it's the day before a big test and all your hard work is about to be destroyed by something you have no control over. Thankfully for her, Calvin was bluffing.
    • During a moment in a subsequent Rosalyn arc, Calvin locks Rosalyn out of the house and proceeds to go nuts with Hobbes in watching TV and eating candy. His parents are understandably upset when they come home, with Calvin's mom pointing out that if there had been a fire or Calvin had been hurt, then there would have been no adult at home to help him.
  • The break-in, dear god. For anyone who's had their house broken into, this can be genuinely terrifying. Calvin's parents immediately freak out, and Calvin goes into hysterics when he realizes Hobbes was home when it happened. Even after the police arrive, there is a strong sense of Paranoia Fuel in the house. Calvin's father stays up for most of the night wondering how to cope with the situation:
    Dad: When someone breaks into your home, it shatters your last illusion of security. If you're not safe in your own home you're not safe anywhere.
  • The comic books Calvin reads are intentionally disturbing and violent, which isn't helped by his mother telling him to stop watching violent TV and read a book.
  • The arc where Calvin forgets to do his homework starts with Calvin having a nightmare where he completed his homework, only for all of the writing to jump off of the page, leaving his paper blank. Miss Wormwood, angry at Calvin for not turning his homework again, then transforms into a monstrous alien and sets Calvin on fire. This lasted several strips before it was revealed to be All Just a Dream.
  • One Sunday strip has Calvin dream about aliens keeping him in a cage and performing an imprinting experiment with the use of a very creepy-looking hand puppet of his mom. You can't really blame Calvin for remaining rattled even after he wakes up.
    Mom: Here's your breakfast. What's the matter?
  • Hobbes is stalking Calvin and the strips show this through his perspective. Calvin is seen in the distance, he panics when he sees Hobbes and starts running away, only to be quickly overtaken and pounced upon. His expressions are less humorous and convey genuine terror, especially where he shuts his eyes and braces for the impact. Moments later, this is revealed to be a dream, which Hobbes wakes up from still violently chewing on his pillow. While most fights are Played for Laughs, the pillow has been torn to shreds with stuffing flying everywhere, which makes one shudder what Hobbes was doing to Calvin in his dream.
    • Even worse, as Hobbes eventually settles down and goes back to sleep, Calvin, is now awake and the last shot shows him looking fearfully at his tiger, as the panel shrinks in. He's probably terrified at the possibility of Hobbes attacking HIM in his sleep, NOT his pillow.
  • This strip where Calvin turns a simple sandcastle city into a case of life-threatening negligence of toxic waste disposal. Hobbes' expression in the last panel speaks volumes.
  • This strip is Existential Horror at its finest. What if we are all just reflections?
  • In one strip, Calvin imagines upsetting the balance between water and solids in his body by drinking too much water and melting. He's still alive in his liquid form and needs to get somewhere where he can not worry about drying up, but, being a liquid, he can only go downhill. Slightly mitigated by the last panel, where it's revealed that outside of the Imagine Spot, Calvin is just having a Potty Emergency after drinking too much water on a road trip.
  • Calvin's killer bicycle can be pretty disturbing if you think about it. Our hero is constantly stalked by this monster that's obsessed with killing him, even to the point of chasing him through his house and hiding in his closet to try to murder him in his sleep. We never learn just why the bike is so determined to destroy him, either.
  • In this strip, Susie chucks a snowball at Calvin and yells at him for giving her a Valentines' Day Card with her drawn as a worm-eaten corpse! Sheesh, what kind of awful mood was he in that day?
  • Hobbes sits in a very menacing pose, with a piercing stare, above Calvin who wakes up screaming. Hobbes bounds off with joy, looking forward to an adventure, while Calvin takes deep breaths to recover and feels no need for coffee after that unwelcome jolt.
  • Calvin draws stick figure animation onto one of Dad's books, much to his frustration. Inspired by Hobbes, the loop depicts a man walking innocuously, suddenly stopping and alarmed by a threat. He turns, sprints for his life, but isn't able to outrun a ferocious tiger who bounds onto him, kills him by decapitation, swallows the head like a grape, smiles eerily and strides off.