Friday, June 3, 2011


The idea pot is stirring again.

Last Friday Girls With Slingshots finished up a week long dedication to newspaper comics, with a strip featuring Hazel and McPedro reenacting, in their own way, the last strip of Calvin and Hobbes.  It was cute and I thought little about it, until I happened to read the news post attached to the strip:

"I really debated putting GWS characters in the place (almost exactly) of Calvin and Hobbes in their final strip, because it seemed a little blasphemous."
The emphasis is mine because that what caught my eye.  Blasphemous.  This is the internet, nearly nothing should be considered blasphemous, they have Jesus dildos for pete's sake!  But this gets a bit of worry over being blasphemous?

I think it stands out for me because it's about Calvin and Hobbes.  My Newspaper line of articles may have stalled a bit, but I think if you read them, it's obvious I was hinting at this being probably the best newspaper comic of all time, it's certainly my favorite.  I think a great many people doing webcomics today feel the same way, and there's this odd respect for the comic.

There are a lot of reasons, but I think the key one is that most people wanted to make a comic just like Calvin and Hobbes.  Thus they want to pay it respect.  In fact, I can only think of one instance where there was no respect given to it, a horrible comic that was immediately derided by just about everyone, and I'm not even going to bother hunting it down to link it.  The other comics, Garfield, Peanuts, Blondie, and especially Family Circus get cut to ribbons and we all laugh along, but crossing Calvin and Hobbes is likely to earn the scorn of the entire internet.

So how does one pay tribute to such a revered comic without being blasphemous?  Well, for one, I think GWS did fine with it, capturing the iconic moment of the original comic without actually making it into something vulgar or unpleasant.  Sinfest showed it's rather obvious inspiration by taking the topic head on and in a way that fits the style of Sinfest.  That seems important to me, that the very nature of the webcomic needs to be expressed in the dedication to Calvin and Hobbes, and I think that keeps things from going over the line.

Which is where a pair of strips from Pants Are Overrated, a comic I haven't read or reviewed (as of yet).  He features a pair of comics that feature Hobbes and Bacon.  It's basically created as a sequel to Calvin and Hobbes and I think strikes a cord with people who see it and loved the original.  It countered that horrible comic I mentioned earlier almost perfectly, while also capturing what people loved about Watterson's work.  The problem, of course, is that the webcomic artist set his bar high, and due to legal issues, odds of any more strips are unlikely at best.  Still, it does make me want to read the main comic, just to see what else he can do.

In fact, the only comic that actually manages to take Calvin and Hobbes and run with it is Weapon Brown, for reasons so different than the others in this article that there's no way to actually compare them.  It doesn't touch the essence that most people associate with Calvin and Hobbes, but takes the tropes associated with it and twists it over and around.  Yet, I wouldn't call this comic blasphemous either, as it isn't about Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, it's about the artist having fun with it.

In the end, what is blasphemous and what isn't depends on how much one feels about the work being parodied.  Calvin and Hobbes, of course, triggers a great swell of emotion amongst most people who grew up with it, and are now the main force behind most webcomics and the internet as a whole.  Other comics, aren't nearly as strong a pull and likely can be made more fun of, but I think as long as the spirit of the comic is kept, blasphemy doesn't really exist.

Okay, that's enough for this week, see you next time kiddies. 


  1. Is there a way to contact you. I would like to know if you take requests?

  2. You can just post comments and make suggestions or recommendations for comics and other things. I get so few comments, I can kind of keep track of them pretty easily.