This week we got a GJI tip from A.V. Club collective favorite user (and Commenter Of The Year) Cookie Monster, who recommended we check out an online continuation of Bill Watterson’s beloved comic strip Calvin And Hobbes:
Web comic artist decide to update Calvin & Hobbes, where Calvin now grownup, who give Hobbes to daughter. He only do four strips, but it capture spirit of original really well, to point where me get tear in googly eye from being drawn back into Calvin's world.
Sure enough, back in 2011, the comic strip Pants Are Overrated (which ended that year) did a non-contiguous four-strip series (read them in order) called Calvin And Bacon, where Calvin is married to his old arch-nemesis Susie and they have a little girl named after Francis Bacon, continuing the philosopher naming scheme. While one of the strips is largely devoted to Calvin and Susie’s mighty adorable, playful adult relationship, the rest take up a new generation of Hobbes-and-kid adventures, with Bacon as a rambunctious kid following in her dad’s wild footsteps, and Calvin reconnecting to his childhood through her. The strips got a lot of attention when they first posted, and Watterson fans often point back to them.
About a year after Pants Are Overrated dropped the idea and ended, cartoonist Terra Snover picked it up with a small handful of strips continuing the Hobbes And Bacon idea, and crediting Pants Are Overrated’s Dan and Tom Heyerman. And the cycle continues: In February 2013, Phil Berry at DeviantArt started posting his own, more elaborate Hobbes And Bacon strips. (Three so far.)
Meanwhile, a fourth artist, DeviantArt’s DomNX, has spent the past year churning out his own still-ongoing Calvin And Company strip, which has a slightly darker, sadder feel. Calvin and Susie are again married, but this time, they have Calvin-esque twins—named Camus and Simone, because of course they are—and Calvin hands Hobbes over in hopes that he’ll be able to help get them through childhood as well. While some of the strips are open homages to specific Watterson strips, others feature Calvin and Susie worrying about parenthood and decision-making, and some of the rhythms and punchlines recall the wry dejection of early Charles Schulz.
Naturally, none of the artists has entirely captured Watterson’s style, though Berry comes closest with the art, and Calvin And Company has some thoroughly enjoyable takes on specific kinds of Watterson humor, like the “Dad teases the kids by inventing facts” routine. But all these strips feature some spark in the way the creators invest their work with their love of the original. As Cookie Monster puts it, “Me hoping web comics community just keep running with this.” Fine by us. Anything’s better than more decals of Calvin peeing on things, or more speculations about whether Jef Mallett’s Frazz is a secret Bill Watterson project, or an unlicensed, unacknowledged Calvin And Hobbes sequel itself.
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