Hobbes and Calvin comic

Hobbes and Calvin comic

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Hobbes and Calvin comic

Bill Watterson’s Hobbies and Calvin is an American daily comic strip that has gained popularity due to the exciting, amusing and educational information that is captured. The author excellently makes use of the comic strip characters Hobbes and Calvin who are a direct reflection of the famous philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Calvin. Hobbes is portrayed as intelligent, good-natured, welcoming, and animated. These traits alike with those of Thomas Hobbes who was a philosopher during the early decades who used his liberty to challenge the political society and combat for independence as shown in his Leviathan. Similarly, the cartoon named Calvin features the real theologian John Calvin as they both act as directors to express curiosity to explore the ordinary world and the way things are the way they are. Watterson in his cartoon comedy demonstrates the old legends traits into more in-depth details relating them to the modern society. In this paper, the significance of the comic ‘Hobbes and Calvin’, its relation to the philosopher whom the idea was brought from by the author and how the comic is a modern way to take the Hobbes and Calvin philosophies.

The author of this cartoon clip applies a unique technique where he uses the life of famous philosophers in contrast with many comedians who make use of their real-life experience. The philosopher Thomas believes that freedom of move is an essential human right and people are free to examine anything that is within the law. The same belief is shown in the comic strips where Hobbes is the voice of reason saying as he stands with the facts and in many instances contrary to Calvin. The independence of doing what pleases a man is given so far it is sovereign in this occasion Calvin’s fancy, close relatives and teacher keep the two colleagues within the bounds of law set by the supremacy figures (Watterson, page 7). The same idea is similar to the one Thomas Hobbes portrays out in his favorite work Leviathan. The cartoon has the same traits as Thomas regarding following the rule of law. With this everyone should have the authority to do what one pleases, even though Thomas Hobbes have faith in the supreme mandate which is the sovereign and people have to follow the rules they set down.

On the other hand, John Calvin who has an intent interest in exploring the natural world is similar to the cartoon Calvin who is always inquisitive and has interest in knowing more about what surrounds him. The theologian is well known for his doctrine of predestination that is based on the question of the power and control that God applies to flora and fauna. Out of his curiosity, he comes up with Calvinism religion that is common even today showing that the adventure still goes on. All this is similar to the traits portrayed by the Calvin in the comic strips as his eagerness and curiosity of knowing about the surrounding nature and facts keeps the author’s adventure going on and also involves the other characters. The cartoons go on to explorations and give answers to the emerging questions that disturb its mind (Borodo, page 22).

It is true that the Hobbes and Calvin comic strips explore the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Calvin. The author applies literary knowledge in bringing the resemblance, and the main similarities set up the path of the two main characters in the comic. Calvin at all the time goes out to discover nature without bounds, however, is much assisted by his colleague Hobbes who makes an effort to keep Calvin in check in many sections. The author chooses a perfect combination of famous philosophers that makes his comic work exciting and acceptable to the society. However, this can raise an insisting question why use Thomas Hobbes and John Calvin and not any other philosopher? From the comic strips, the author intended to pass the message to the American community about the importance sovereignty and the urge of exploring to come up with different ideas which lead to growth and development (Coats, page 51).

Furthermore, in consideration of message passed by the comic strips the Hobbes and Calvin’s philosophies are still relevant today as they are a reflection of the things going on in the modern society. Hobbes was much interested in the political environment and the existence of a sovereign government which is also an underlying issue up-to-date. In the modern society, many nations have independence which came from a struggle and realization of the need for a stable government in enhancing peace and unity. Calvin, on the other hand, has the essence of exploring and coming up with solutions even to the most challenging interrogations. It is convenient in the modern world as there has been scientific and industrialization revolution which solves many technological challenges and enhances technology advancement (Mitchell, page 72). Hobbes and Calvin’s philosophies can change the world as they make people learn the importance of having independence and the urge of having the interest to do research and come up with techniques of solving the contradicting issues in the world.

According to the discussion above, Hobbes and Calvin comedy strips are crucial in peoples’ life not only as entertainment tool but also as learning and guiding devices. They are based on the real-life situations that we face on a daily basis and helps the reader to relate the philosophies of the famous theorists Thomas Hobbes and John Hobbes with the today’s world. The comic is relevant to all the people in the society from the children to the elderly. Watterson’s work is very significant to the American society and has to a great extent facilitated positive thinking which leads to social development.


Borodo, Michał. “Exploring the Links Between Comics Translation and AVT.” TranscUlturAl: A Journal of Translation and Cultural Studies 8.2 (2016): 68-85.

Coats, Karen. “Calvin by Martine Leavitt.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 69.4 (2015): 207-207.

Mitchell, Whitney. “The 6-Year-Old and His Stuffed Tiger: Understanding Why Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes Continues to Thrive.” Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research 7.1 (2015): 1.

Watterson, Bill, and Waltraud Götting. Calvin und Hobbes. Hors collection, 2015.