For a shot of pure joy, I think there’s nothing better than Calvin and Hobbes. This is a beautifully printed large format set, each of the three volumes being 10.75 x 12 x 1.5 inches, the whole weighing about twenty pounds! It’s worth every ounce. Some customers, as I, have had some problems with the slipcase, but the books themselves are well-constructed. The slipcase has a rather shoddily attached pastedown, which tore loose (!) when I first tipped the books out.
Aside from a somewhat short but quite informative introduction by the reclusive artist, Bill Watterson, the book is otherwise unencumbered by text, which is completely appropriate in the case of Calvin and Hobbes. In addition to all the black and white daily strips and the Sunday color strips, there are also included the special larger format watercolored pieces done for the various book collections Watterson put together throughout the years.
Being of a supremely nostalgic and quite affective nature, I alternately giggle, tear up, or sigh wistfully with nearly every page. There is no other regular comic strip that has ever pleased me in so many ways as this one, with only Charles Schultz coming in a fairly distant second with Peanuts. Unlike so many (most? all?) modern comics, Calvin and Hobbes is not just a collection of visual or verbal gags, or oddities and cruelties, or dated political or social crassitudities, but rather has its roots in a powerful combination of love and imagination, two particularly human gifts from the Divine.
In short, I highly recommend it.
(Clicking on the picture above takes you to the publisher’s site. A little bird told me the collection may be purchased at a nearly 50% savings at Costco.)