I was very excited to see this exhibition at the Cartoon Festival in Angoulême. I discovered Calvin and Hobbes online when I was about 16, and there was something about the nostalgia for childhood mixed with imagination and a light philosophical questioning of life that I really connected with. Next time I went to the local library,I borrowed (and devoured) a collection of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. I love that they tend to make me laugh, smile wryly and think a little deeper all at the same time. It was fascinating to see the originals at different stages of the drafting process, as well as to see the french translations. Since I was with my french friend Angela, I would often try to explain the cartoon – unfortunately, with my limited vocab, I ended up feeling like I was explaining a joke to which I’d forgotten the punchline. It was nice to be able to see the french versions of the cartoons, where the key notions of the strip were summed up neatly in a few lines, with none of the excess explanation or elaboration needed when you don’t have the words necessary to translate a pun.
It was also great to see the progression of the strip. I discovered that Calvin, with his signature spiky hair-do originally had bowl cut with a long fringe- and no eyes to see by! I think the suggestion of the editor to give Calvin a haircut was a wise one, as the eyes are really expressive, and can make a strip so much more engaging because it’s easier to see just how Calvin feels.
For those who haven’t met Calvin or his tiger Hobbes, you should go meet them now: