Friday, August 7, 2009

Calvin and Hobbes the Documentary

One of the most influential forces in my childhood was the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Calvin and Hobbes is about the adventures of a six year old named Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes. (Whether Hobbes is a real live tiger or only a figment of Calvin’s imagination is a matter left up to the reader.) Calvin and Hobbes was written in an era before Asperger syndrome was known in the United States and long before I was diagnosed. That being said I do see Calvin as a poster child for Asperger syndrome. He is someone with an adult processing system, even if he applies it to a six year old’s understanding of the world, who does not relate to others. Instead Calvin prefers to live in a world of his own creation full of tigers, superheroes and aliens. The other humans in the strip may see Calvin as a misbehaving child, who simply refuses to comply with what is expected of him. The reader, though, knows better; Calvin is special in his own right, who needs to be judged by a different standard.

Watterson retired from the strip in 1995 largely because he refused to commercialize his strip and allow for tie in products. The only tie in product he ever allowed was a limited edition textbook for special education children and that was because teachers begged him to allow them to formally use his work in their classrooms. There are not many people out there who can say that they turned their backs on millions of dollars over a matter of principle. Considering all this, there is a snowball’s chance in hell of there ever being a Calvin and Hobbes movie ever being made. A documentary on this strip, though, is now in the works, called Dear Mr. Watterson. It is a work by fans of the strip, talking about what Calvin and Hobbes means for them.

Teaser from DMW on Vimeo.

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