While reading through this collection, I do my reading in between calls at work, I had it lying on my desk. An older gentleman walked by right as I was finishing up with a call. He took a look at the book on my desk, and the two of us started talking about our favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips.
That is what this comic is, it’s the one true bridge between the generations. Young or old, doesn’t matter, everyone can find something they appreciate in Calvin and Hobbes.
Something Under The Bed is Drooling marks a shift in Calvin and Hobbes, namely it contains the strips in which Watterson decided he was going to do something more than just write and draw a comic strip. He was going to create something with meaning. Two stories illustrate this. The first being the moment when Calvin finds the injured raccoon, only to have it die in the night.
Unless it is used in a black comedy, death is rarely something to laugh at. And the story is not meant to be laughed at. It’s very heartful and entirely sincere. To see something like it in a comic strip was mindblowing when I first read it, and all the more impressive upon this reread. If I had one complaint, it’s that the tonal shift comes out of nowhere, and disappears without a trace.
The other story follows immediately after the first, where the topic of environmentalism is brought up. Unlike other examples of stories with environmental messages, Watterson manages to pull it off by virtue of having a child as his protagonist. Coming from the mouth of a child, the message rings more true, and less like an old tune we’ve heard over and over.
This collection also marks the moment when Calvin and Hobbes starts to have more multi strip stories. This is especially obvious in the latter half of the book, where the format changes to have more connected stories, rather than one off strips. The latter still exists, but it’s in the minority.
This is an important collection as it was the moment when Calvin and Hobbes became what everyone would remember it for. A witty insight into what it means to be human, with all the good and the bad, while always finding room for the best laughs anyone that read it would ever have.
You owe it to yourself, buy it! Something Under the Bed Is Drooling