This might be a bit of a cheat or a rambling mess, because in general, I love everything about Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. However, I wanted to focus on this one collection in particular, the 10th anniversary book.
It’s a beautiful collection not only because of the amazing strips that are in there, but also because of Watterson’s commentary on characters and specific strips/storylines. There are also a few essays on the nature of the strip, how Watterson wrote and drew the comic, his feelings on the nature of comcis and commercializaton, and more. I think that alongside Scott McCloud, Watterson was one of those people that got me critically thinking about comics and cartooning, perspective, art and writing experimentation, and about weighing options on the commercial aspect. He was punk rock without knowing it, because to him it was simply wanting to do what he wanted, the way he wanted.
Watterson’s art, writing, and experimentation with Sunday strip layouts made Calvin and Hobbes an amazing comic strip. His views on comics culture and the industry are just as fascinating, but in a way, a different sort of creature. You have to look at it in the same way that Watterson did it, isolating his comic from time and external influences outside of his own.
I have a bunch of Calvin and Hobbes collections and found this on a whim killing time at a Barnes & Noble recently, but it’s probably my favorite of all the books (except for the complete collection, which I don’t have (at least, not yet). I can’t really convey how much I love this comic or how lovely this book is without becoming a blubbering fanboy mess, but suffice to say, if you love newspaper comics and art in general, and Watterson’s work in particular, you should get this.