'CALVIN MINUS HOBBES': Even Miss Wormwood might shudder at this new math
courtesy of Jeff Ocean / Calvin Minus Hobbes
"Garfield Minus Garfield" is a joy to read, with a twist that's not just sending up the strip but also spinning it with a winningly surreal bent. Then, on the flip side, there's the new "Calvin Minus Hobbes."
Dan Walsh's Garfield-parodying webcomic wryly claims to plumb the "existential angst of a certain Mr. Jon Arbuckle" by removing the titular kitty from the sarcastic and assaultive proceedings. But what happens when you expunge the "alive" feline from Bill Watterson's beloved strip? Well, to be honest: I'm still not sure what I'm feeling.
Surreal? If anything, it's perhaps too real.
The seed of genius with "Calvin and Hobbes," of course, lies in the comic's boundless sense of imagination. But when Hobbes is rendered only as the lifeless "doll" version of the tiger -- just as everyone but Calvin saw him -- not only the toy sits limp. So does the boy -- and the sense of Calvin as a true, fantasy-rich 6-year-old.
As DailyCartoonist.com's Alan Gardner reports this week, the "Calvin Minus Hobbes" creator Jeff Ocean is ending the exercise. "They're too sad," Ocean says. "If any brave soul wants to take up the project, a la Garfield minus Garfield, have at it."
Perhaps the early exit is a good thing, before it all got too sad and it tonally morphed into "Calvin and Hobbes: When Derkins Met Durkheim." Beyond that, if nothing else, these attempts at addition-by-subtraction exercises reveal at least a little about how we feel about the original strips and characters.
Meantime, if any brave soul wants to take up a new project, might you consider "Pearls Minus Fourth-Wall Pastis"? "Blondie Minus Eight Decades of Botox"? Or "Beetle Minus a Homicidal Sarge Constantly Expressing Unresolved Conflict With Mom/Dad/His Own Sense of Cosmic Impotence"?
Just don't touch our Hobbes.
If you've got a reaction to "Calvin Minus Hobbes," then hey -- fire away.
| June 11, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories: The Comic Strip | Tags: Bill Watterson, Calvin Minus Hobbes, Dan Walsh, Garfield Minus Garfield, Jeff Ocean, Jim David
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