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Calvin and Hobbes Books In Order

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Publication Order of Calvin and Hobbes Books

Calvin and Hobbes (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Something Under the Bed is Drooling (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Yukon Ho! (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Weirdos from Another Planet! (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Revenge of the Baby-Sat (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Scientific Progress Goes (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Days Are Just Packed (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
There's Treasure Everywhere (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
It's a Magical World (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages, 1985-1995 (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon

Created by Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes have long been a mainstay in American newspapers, and have been published in syndication since the cancellation of the strip in 1995. Telling the tale of a hyperactive, precocious six year old boy, Calvin, and his laconic, anthropomorphic stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Hailed as being interesting and complex enough for adults, but containing humor and wit that a child could understand, it was a breakthrough cross-generational strip that pleased both demographics without becoming patronizing or pretentious.

The inception of the strip came while Watterson was working at an advertising firm, and was cartooning in his spare time. Rejected numerous times, he was finally picked up by Universal Press Syndicate after modifying the strip he was writing to better reflect the popularity of two minor characters,the titular Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. First published in 1985, it rose to become one of the most popular comic features in its medium, and has been reprinted in syndication in hundreds of publications.


A six-year-old boy that is usually depicted in a red and black striped shirt, black shorts or pants, and with and burgundy sneakers, with a shock of unkempt yellow-orange hair, his agile and sometimes biting intelligence isn’t reflected in his schoolwork, where he does rather poorly. His best friend is his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, who appears as a normal toy to everyone else in the strip, but to him as a terse and sometimes unwilling participant in some of Calvin’s more zany or far-fetched schemes. He is depicted as a typical six-year-old boy, rambunctious, imaginative and mischievous.

Named after the 16th century theologian, John Calvin, the inspiration for Calvin comes from Watterson’s perceived need to have a character that misbehaves, approaches very adult content and issues, but does so in a harmless and innocent way. Watterson wanted a character that had no filter, not because he was crass or vulgar, but because he simply didn’t know any better. Calvin explore deep philosophical questions and moral dilemmas through the eye’s of a child, often with hilarious results that also leave the reader thinking.


Calvin’s best friend and ersatz accomplice in the majority of the strip, Hobbes is drawn both as a stuffed, inanimate tiger and as an living, anthropomorphic tiger. Often Close lipped or skeptical of Calvin’s more outrageous ideas and plots, he nonetheless has a deep seated affection and cares about Calvin. When seen by other characters of the strip, such as Calvin’s Mom and Dad, he appears as a tiger toy that is often askew, with a blank-eyed stare. Conversely, he is show as larger than Calvin, and has ideas and feeling of his own, feeling that are often at odds with Calvin’s. He is usually drawn as being if not outright opposed to his best friends wacky and dangerous plans, then sarcastic and nonchalant. Ofter ascorbic and sarcastic, he acts as a foil to Calvin and tries, often unsuccessfully, to stop or mitigate the damage caused by his best friend.

The series

Appearing in newspapers and other publications, the series is regulated because of the size and scope

of its medium, oftentimes being only a single panel. This highly compact form required Bill Watterson to create strips that had a lot of content plugged into a small medium. This was continually challenging for Watterson, as the themes that he wanted to explore in the strip were complex and complicated, ranging from philosophical ideas to political issues. Although many cartoonist’s and writer’s use the medium as a front to present political or moral beliefs, Calvin and Hobbes’ was unique in that it explored and illuminated often contentious issues while maintaining a relatively unbiased stance. It forced readers into thought, while remaining nonjudgmental and fun to read.


Theme’s explored throughout the series include the juxtaposition of the different realities experienced by the characters. While most of the time the reader is placed in Calvin’s point of view, seeing Hobbes as a walking, talking character in his own right, the strip will often switch to the other character’s point of view in which Hobbes is an inanimate plush toy. This duality explores the nature of reality, leaving it up to the reader to decide which reality truly exists.

Also showcased in Calvin and Hobbes are real life debates and debacles that center around actual events. Though never explicitly mention names, dates, or places, it explores in a roundabout way many popular and controversial topics that encourage independent thought in the reader without preaching or condemning either viewpoint.

Calvin and Hobbes is one of those rare cartoons that contains intelligent and informative content, but never loses its childish sense of humor and stays true to its fantastical nature. Each strip illuminates a different facet of Calvin’s highly imaginative world, revealing a rich and colorful universe where the boy’s imaginative reality takes front seat to the dull and routine scenes of the other characters.

Supporting characters

Though Calvin and Hobbes appear in almost every strip, they are sometimes accompanied by various secondary character’s, including Calvin’s parent’s. Never named in the series, the artist incorporated the characters to display the differences between Calvin’s sense of reality and the actual world. They also act as alternatively antagonist or supporting characters, as when Calvin’s father challenges his son to improve, or the jokes about him not being Calvin’s real father. They do not see Hobbes at all as their son does, seeing him as just a toy and potentially dangerous crutch.

Susie Derkins

This character acts sometimes in unison with Calvin, sometimes against him, but there are often similarities between the two that neither recognize. For example, Susie has a stuffed rabbit, “Mr. Bun”, that is she treats strikingly similar to the way that Calvin treats Hobbes, as well as having a mischievous and sometimes violent side, much like Calvin. Unlike Calvin, she is shown to be polite, and does well in school.

About the author

Bill Watterson was born in Washington D.C. In 1958. Growing up in Ohio, he attended Kenyon College and received a Bachelor’s Degree in political science in 1980. Calvin and Hobbes is is his most successful comic strip, and has be reprinted in trade paperbacks, syndication, and online in a multitude of different venues.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Calvin and Hobbes

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