Looking for Calvin and Hobbes is an affectionate and revealing book about uncovering the story behind this most uncommon trio - a man, a boy and his tiger. From the get-go, it was obvious that this was ordinary comic strip. Calvin was named after the 16th-century Protestant theologian who believed in predestination, Hobbes after the philosopher a century later who once observed that life is 'nasty, brutish and short'. Watterson injected real philosophical questions into his strip and coupled his commentaries with groundbreaking artwork. His lavish half-page Sunday strips completely re-envisioned the potential of the comics, while never detracting from his poignant humor. Bill Watterson was completely different from most comic strip creators because he never wanted to see Calvin & Hobbes turn into a commercial molith. A longtime liberal and former political cartoonist, he staunchly refused to have the characters merchandised - a decision which could have netted him millions of additional dollars in income per year - and rarely made public appearances or granted interviews. When Steven Spielberg called him to talk about making an animated Calvin & Hobbes movie, Watterson didn't take the call. As a result, dozens of bootleg items have flooded the market. There were only 3,160 strips ever produced, but Watterson has left behind an impressive legacy. Calvin & Hobbes references litter the pop culture landscape and his fans are as varied as they are numerable.
Nevin Martell is the author of Dave Matthews Band: Music for the People and Beck: The Art of Mutation. He is a Contributing Editor at Filter magazine and a music journalist. He lives outside Washington, DC, where he develops documentaries and non-fiction television for Story House Productions.