Monday, August 14, 2006

Book-A-Day #28 (8/14): The Complete Calvin & Hobbes, Book One by Bill Watterson

First of the three books in the big slipcase.

This is a gorgeous edition, with all of the watercolor art (collection covers, the new storybook-style stories, and other random stuff) interspersed where it makes the most sense and with all of the strips in chronological order (with dates!) except occasionally where the Sundays aren't in the same continuity as the dailies. It's an absolutely wonderful book, as well it should be for the arm and a leg it costs.

The only possible criticism is that its so damn heavy, but that's a feature as much as it is a bug -- it's published on very nice paper, and that stuff is heavy. (As is the half-cloth binding and big thick boards.)

Of course, the great thing about an edition like this is being able to read straight through several years of a strip, and see how it changed. Watterson's art style changed only a bit; he started out a bit looser and with more blacks, but tightened up quickly and, as far as I can see, keep the same style consistently from about the summer of 1986 through the end of the strip in 1995. As far as stories go, he clearly got more confident as time went on, and was willing to run a story for two or three weeks, but Calvin & Hobbes was the same kind of strip several years in as it was when it began (and I'm pretty sure I'll find when I hit Volume 3 that it ended as the same kind of strip it had always been).

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