Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review # 111: "Calvin and Hobbes - 'Weirdos from Another Planet!' and 'The Revenge of the Baby-Sat'"

It's unfair to call Bill Watterson's work on Calvin and Hobbes complacent in "Weirdos From Another Planet!" and "The Revenge of the Baby-Sat" because the quality of work is still very high. However, the strip is clearly in a holding pattern. The family goes camping... again; Rosalyn babysits Calvin... again; Calvin decides to be a tiger... again. Don't get me wrong: these stories are still funny, but a recurring premise only has so much mileage before it starts to go stale.

I'm also a little irritated with some of the preaching from this era. Humans are polluting the world; tigers are endangered. We get it. Even for its time, reciting these facts is just stating the obvious. A major strength this strip had as it evolved was it encouraged readers to think for themselves. The way information is presented in these books is in direct opposition to that philosophy.

Despite that gripe, the positives still clearly outweigh the negatives. Two big recurring bits debut in these books: the formation of the Get Rid Of Slimy GirlS club and the debut of Stupendous Man, the latter allowing Watterson to flex his artistic muscles in an homage to Golden Age comic books. Also, the "weirdos from another planet" line is one of my favourite instances of irony in any fiction.

I can't help but feel while reading these that Watterson is yet to find his groove. But he would find it.

Very quickly.

Rating(s): 8/10 ("Weirdos From Another Planet!"), 8/10 ("The Revenge of the Baby-Sat")

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