We have a reasonably complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes books. Our ownership of them dates to the time when Julia was eight, and had surgery to correct a congenital defect of her aorta. What with the surgery and the ensuing complications, she (and we, her parents) ended up spending most of 10 days in the cardiac care unit at the UCLA Medical Center, an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone, least of all a fun-loving, energetic, constantly-in-motion eight-year-old.
Her doctors and nurses were wonderful. My wife, Linda, and the members of our family who helped her through that time, were wonderful. But ultimately, nothing could relieve the stress (and boredom) of being trapped in that unit for that long. By the time Julia had been there for a week, she was showing signs of what the nursing staff referred to as “ICU psychosis,” in which she’d wake up in the middle of the night to the pain and noise and needles and tubes and blinking lights, and not know where she was, locked in an open-eyed nightmare, sobbing and clutching at us and talking frantically about things we couldn’t see.
Those were among the worst of times. But there were also better times, when we could help her find a brief escape to a happier place. And the thing that worked better than anything else for that was Calvin and Hobbes.
Anyway, I know Bill Watterson values his privacy, and has had enough of gushing fans to last him a lifetime. So I’ll just express this thought here, where he probably will never see it: Thank you. You made a huge difference to a little girl at a time when she really needed it, and I owe you a debt of gratitude I can never repay.
Anyway, here’s a little Calvin and Hobbes on the Web. Catch it fast, before the copyright police at Universal Press Syndicate shut it down, as they’ve done with so many other sites:
- 25 Great Calvin & Hobbes Strips – From the people at ProgressiveBoink.com.
- Calvin and Hobbes’s Magical World – An interview early in the strip’s life from Honk magazine.
- Speech by Bill Watterson – The commencement address Watterson gave to his alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1990.
- ‘Calvin’ Creator’s Secret Hideout – from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, covering a little about what Watterson was up to circa 1998.
- Fight Club – The Return of Hobbes – Pure weirdness from metaphilm.com.
- Calvin and Hobbes from reemst.com. Includes news of the upcoming Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a 1,440-page collection containing every strip, due out in September, 2005.