The world is ruled by iconic duos.
Batman and Robin.
Jordan and Pippen.
But there is one duo that surpasses them all.
Now, this was a hard choice.
I mean just think of all the possibilities. You could go with an iconic film duo like Thelma and Louise, or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
In fact, that’s almost exactly what I did. This article had its nexus in an exploration of the smuggling galactic twosome of Han Solo and Chewbacca.
But then, I realized there’s an even more iconic option.
And that’s who this piece will focus on.
The terrific twain.
The prolific pair.
A brace of characters to rule them all.
Side note, did you there were that many synonyms for the duo? I didn’t but Google sure did.
In case you haven’t guessed or looked at the image atop the article. I’m talking about Calvin and Hobbes.
One’s a precocious and troublemaking child with a habit of making life difficult for teachers and parents alike.
The other is a ferocious feline with a taste for tuna sandwiches.
Calvin and Hobbes are one of my favorite things. I loved the comic strip as a child. I was five when it ended, but by then I was already a faithful reader, well more or a looker with some occasional reading.
After it ended, I got the compilation books and spent hours and hours reading them and drawing the pictures.
25 years later, I still love Calvin and Hobbes. It’s actually the wallpaper on my phone.
They were created by the reclusive artist Bill Watterson. The comics version of J.D. Salinger as the man avoids all press.
Bill Watterson is probably the reason these characters have stuck with me for so long.
I love the comics, but the behind the scenes stuff is just as interesting. Watterson is an artist’s artist and refuses to compromise quality for money.
He refused to keep to the single line that most comics used, stating that he didn't want the space to dictate what he drew. And he stuck to his guns, refusing to do the comic if forced to comply with the arbitrary standard, and the newspaper caved. He was willing to walk away rather than have his art watered down, no pun intended.
That’s also the reason there isn’t a Calvin and Hobbes movie, or any merchandising. Reportedly, he’s been offered huge sums of money but he refuses, content with what he has and what he’s made.
And what he’s made is extraordinary.
When you read the comic as a kid you see the world as Calvin does. You love his imagination. You love the pretend adventures. And you get his conflict with parents and teachers. What kid couldn’t identify with not being able to make sense of arbitrary rules. Plus, what kid wouldn't want to hangout with a tiger?
Then you get older and realize that sometimes the parents and teachers have a point.
But of course, the best thing about the comics is Calvin and Hobbes's relationship. Calvin has a best friend with him all the time. Someone to play with. He’s never alone because his best buddy is always there.
This point is driven home in my favorite strip where Calvin finds a dead raccoon and it’s the first time he has to deal with death. He and Hobbes talk it out. They ask big questions about life and what it means.
And in the end, they come to the conclusion that the important thing is they have each other.
And it’s panels like that that make them the best duo ever.
Go ahead and name a better one. It’s okay, I’ll wait.