Calvin's origin comes from Johannes Calvin, the theologian/philosopher who believed that God had already destined certain individuals to receive mercy and enter the heavenly kingdom. It is offset by Calvin's pal Hobbes, who was based on a philosopher Thomas Hobbes who originated natural selection and many philosophies based on science. Because of the interplay of religious destiny and "survival of the fittest" in the strips' hero and imaginary companion, the comic became an unusually potent platform to discuss contemporary sociological and philosophical trends.
He is a single child raised in an unspecified suburban area. Although he is only six years old, philosophical queries oft arise while he and Hobbes are on his wagon. In a pre-deterministic way, Calvin felt fated to have his horoscopes come true. He loves to catch bugs and slimy animals, and his favorite comic book hero is
Bill Watterson wrote Calvin & Hobbes and published his strip through the syndicated newspapers from November 18, 1985 until December 31, 1995. During this time, he fought with both newspapers and his syndicates to experience more creative control of his strip. He won a bigger space to display more creative scene layouts, instead of a fixed format of individual panels.
Hobbes is basically Calvin's constant companion. He is a stuffed tiger that everyone else sees as being inanimate, Hobbes and Calvin often talk with one another about things your average joe, let alone six year old, would know anything about. Another quirk about Hobbes is that whenever Calvin expects Hobbes to do something life-like around others, Hobbes will always have an excuse, such as when he's supposed to maul Susie, he instead does nothing because he has a thing for her.
Whether Hobbes is really alive or not is never fully explained but based upon many of the occurrences in the comic strip, it can be assumed he is. Another frequent thing about Calvin and Hobbes' relationship is that Hobbes will often scuff Calvin up, by doing such things as tackling him when he's about to enter the door or throwing snowballs at him when he's unaware or just showing off his tiger skills. Hobbes appeared, along with Calvin, in Bill Watterson's first strip in which Calvin "catches" Hobbes, by using a tuna sandwich, one of Hobbes' favorite foods.
Often, with his childish hyperactive imagination, Calvin pretend, or believe he is, other person, or animal, or thing. Those alter ego are almost every time personifications of the child's heroes, favorite animals and characters.
Almost every time he adopt a alter-ego, along with it, the world around him seems to change in a more appropriate scenario for the character he plays. This include other persons becoming beings that would fit the story of the character he is portraying.
Spaceman Spiff - Spiff explores the deepest places of the universe in a flying disk, which he usually crashes in a desert like planet. He carries a weapon most know as the Death Ray Blaster - which normally represents spitballs. Per usual, the Spaceman battles some evil alien who tortures him, seeking for human historical or mathematical "secrets" - the teacher. Also seen fighting an alien executor - the doctor. For example, finding himself in a class room, Calvin's imagination trends to transform the teacher in a horrendous alien, and the room around them in hot desert planet, as Calvin himself incarnate the extraterrestrial world explorer: Spaceman Spiff! Calvin actually meets Galaxoid & Nebular as a regular boy.
Or when confronted with a math problem he may at that moment decide to become Spaceman Spiff in an effort to figure out the problem and Spiff will be found trying to put together Planet 6 and 7 (math problem being 6 7) and he would come to the conclusion the answer is 7 as that was the bigger planet and it obliterated 6 when the two collided (as planets cannot merge).
Stupendous Man - Impossible? Why, nothing's impossible! Not for...Stupendous Man! Stupendous Man is the superhero version of Calvin. His powerset and morals are very similar to Superman's and his theme song also appears to be based on Spider-Man's. His arch nemeses are Rosalyn, his babysitter, the "Evil Mom-Lady," and Susie Derkins AKA "Annoying Girl." Stupendous Man has exhibited tremendous speed and strength, being able to stop the Earth from rotating and turned it in the opposite direction, going back in time.
Tracer Bullet - A very classic old school detective with the usual gun and hat. Drinks and smokes.He also says what he sees/thinks out loud, for example, "The Dame said she had a case.She sounded like a case herself , but I can't choose my clients."
Calvin's other alter egos include: Dinosaurs, A Lizard, A 2-dimensional Version, A Bird, An Owl, A Slug, A Tiger, A Safe, An Adult, A Light Particle, A Color Film Negative, A Whale, Godzilla, A Giant, A Bat, A Living X-Ray, A Pilot, An Elephant, The "C" Bomb, An Octopus, Captain Napalm, Safari Al, Calvin the Criminal, Calvin the God, Calvin "The Human Insect", A Dragon, A Doctor.
Major Story Arcs
After being forced to clean his room by his mom, Calvin decides to secede from his family. He takes his Toboggan, packs sandwiches and supplies (comic books, dart gun, space helmet), and then heads out to the Yukon with Hobbes. After walking for 20 minutes, they take a break. Calvin and Hobbes get into a fight over who gets to be the leader, Hobbes wins. Calvin, mad at Hobbes, decides to leave Hobbes and go home. Once Calvin gets home, he realizes he left Hobbes in the woods. Unable to find him, Calvin becomes really upset. Calvin’s mom gets his dad to find Hobbes in the woods. His dad finds Hobbes and Calvin sees him first thing in the morning.
Attack of The Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
After making a snowman, Calvin uses the power invested in him by the mighty and awful snow demons to bring it to life. It comes to life and chases him inside. Calvin and Hobbes try to stop it, but the monster continues to make more snow goons. After making a fort and trying to come up with a plan to stop them, his mom calls in Calvin since it is his bedtime. He later sneaks out at 10 o’clock at night and uses the garden hose to freeze all of the snow goons. His dad goes out and tells him to come in, but slips on the ice and falls. Calvin is punished and sent to his room. The moral Calvin learned from all this was “snow goons are bad news”
Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”
In order to make duplicates of himself, Calvin combines the technologies of the transmogrifier and a photocopier, so instead of merely making a reproduction on paper, the machine actually creates a real duplicate (turned a cardboard box on it’s side.) After making one, Calvin’s duplicate runs off. Calvin goes outside looking for it, but the duplicate was sent to Calvin’s room by his mom. When Calvin comes back, he finds out that four more duplicates were made while he was gone. Calvin’s duplicates wreak havoc at home and school. Calvin eventually stops them by tricking them into hiding under his box and transmogrifying them into worms. The lesson Calvin learns is… He didn’t learn any lesson. The
Revenge of The Baby-Sat
When Calvin’s parents go out for the night, they hire Rosalyn as his baby sitter again. Calvin doesn’t like Rosalyn because she sends him to bed at 6:30 and doesn’t allow him to watch TV or horse around. In order to get revenge, Calvin steals Rosalyn’s notes she was studying for an exam. He runs into the bathroom and locks the door. After Calvin threatens to flush her notes down the toilet and blackmail her for a few hours, she tricks him into thinking she called the fire department to open the door. As soon as Calvin pops his head out, Rosalyn catches him and sends him to bed. As a result, Rosalyn charges Calvin’s parents extra for the night.
Weirdos From Another Planet!
Fed up with the way grown-ups have fouled up the world, Calvin refuses to inherit a spoiled planet so he decides to leave. Along with Hobbes, they decide to go to Mars to avoid Earth's pollution. They pack and leave using their wagon as means of transport. They clear orbit and head for Mars. Calvin realizes sees the Earth as a tiny blue speck in the infinite reaches of space and wonders about the mysteries of creation. He wonders if mankind is all part of some great design, no more or less important than anything else in the universe. He thinks surely everything must fit together and have a purpose, a reason for being. When they land on Mars, they see the old "Viking" spacecraft that landed in the '70s. They then unpack and set up camp. They decide Mars might be a little dull, but it's better than earth. They have the whole planet to themselves. Brand new and unspoiled. No people, no pollution. Nothing but rugged, natural beauty as far as the eye can see. But when Calvin and Hobbes see a rock move, they see some sort of creepy, tentacled, bug-eyed monster and scream. They later realize, the monster was scared of them. They decide to leave and fix up their own planet before they go around messing up other people's planets. After all, there is only one Earth, and it's got to last them a while.
Calvin's stories have many recurring themes, including:
- Wagon and Toboggan rides with Hobbes, philosophical conversation while sauntering through his backyard forest, Making snow sculptures and snowmen, often deranged, comparing "high art" and "low art".
- Convincing his dad to read his favorite story "Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie" over and over again, being attacked by his "Killer Bicycle", and the mysterious & nefarious "NOODLE INCIDENT"
- Water balloon or Snowball fights, usually with Hobbes or Susie.
- Going on camping trips with his family. Calvin and his mom both hate these trips, but his dad loves them. Talking to and making polls about his dad on how he could be better as a parent
- Playing Calvinball, football, baseball, or other sports with Hobbes. There are no set rules to Calvinball. They must invent the game as it is played. Rosalyn once played and captured Hobbes.
- G.R.O.S.S. ( Get Rid of Slimy Girls) club meetings where Calvin and Hobbes usually wear paper hats, argue about what position they are, and make plans on how they are going to terrorize Susie Derkins
- Schooltime with Miss Wormwood and daydreams about his adventures as Spaceman Spiff, Being bullied by Moe
- Trying to avoid Mom giving him a bath
- Being tackled by Hobbes as he opens the front door, his back is turned, or if he opens a can of tuna.
- Asking his Father philosophical questions about life, in which his Calvin's Dad will respond with an outlandish answer.
- Talking with the monsters under his bed, in his drawers, closet, etc.
- Reading comics and watching Saturday morning cartoons.
- Archaeological expeditions, interplanetary visitation
- His strange experiments. Usually have something to do with a cardboard box his beanie came in.
Calvin uses a cardboard box for the majority of his inventions. When upright it is a time machine, when upside down it is his "transmorgrifier", when on its side it is a "Duplicator". He also added a dial to the duplicator so he could choose to make a good or bad clone. He used another cardboard box to create a time machine.
His other inventions include a device that increases his intellect (a "thinking cap"), a flying carpet from a hallway rug, and a Transmorgrifier Gun from a water gun which does the same as the cardboard box "transmorgrifier" but its portable.
Powers & Skills
Calvin has shown to be capable of doing absolutely anything he desires thanks to both his imagination and his intellect. It can be debated whether Calvin is truly doing these things but others are unable to see the truth because they do not have the mind of a child, or he is merely making things up as everyone tells him. He has created devices that have allowed his brain to increase in size, to change the species of beings, duplicate himself, create a version of himself that is purely good. He also has an imagination that allows him to see the world in many different perspectives usually involving him becoming his super personas such as Spaceman Spiff and Stupendous Man who have a variety of powers all their own. On other occasions he has gained powers that he did not desire, such as being immune to gravity, as he feared he would fly off the Earth and later he grew to such a massive size that he was larger than the Earth itself.
Television is the idol that Calvin worships. Calvin has mastered "television-watching" in order to make it a complete forfeiture of experience. In order to accomplish this, he keeps his jaw slack, so his mouth hangs open. He tries not to swallow either, so he drools. He keeps his eyes half-focused so he doesn't use any muscles at all. He takes a passive entertainment and extend and extends the passivity to his entire being. He becomes utterly inert.
In the end, Susie Derkins is ousted, Calvin despite making a Thinking cap to boost intelligence remains an oafish student of Miss Wormwood is friends with Susie Derkins, got along with Rosalyn, and always bullied by Moe. He refuses to eat his Mom's home-cooking and officially did at least one good-deed for Santa. In fiction, He is the 20th Century's most philosophical 6-year-old boy, and Hobbes is the most philosophical tiger.