#TypesTuesday – Calvin and Hobbes: Excitement and Conscience

Types Tuesday

by Guest Contributor Oscar Harding

Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, which ran from 1985 to 1995, is to my mind the greatest comic strip of all time, surpassing even Charles Schultz’s Peanuts. Besides Watterson’s stunning art, profound philosophy and brilliant wit, it is the core friendship that has ensured that the strip has been remembered for many years since it finished. Named after Philosophers with rather dour opinions of humanity, Calvin is a 6-year-old boy and Hobbes is his stuffed tiger, real only to him. What is surprising about these closest of friends is just how different their character types are. But it goes to show that opposites attract, and these two bring out the best and worst in each other because of their character types.

Named after Philosophers with rather dour opinions of humanity, Calvin is a 6-year-old boy and Hobbes is his stuffed tiger, real only to him. What is surprising about these closest of friends is just how different their Character Types are. But it goes to show that opposites attract, and these two bring out the best and worst in each other.

Calvin

Calvin could be argued to be the ultimate Power of Excitement character. Indulging in fantasies as superhero Stupendous Man, intergalactic warrior Spaceman Spiff and hardboiled detective Tracer Bullet, when he’s not making the lives of his parents and teachers an absolute nightmare, he’s wreaking havoc as an inventor of disastrous machines out of cardboard boxes. Calvin ticks every box for a Power of Excitement character- he is an explorer, believing life should always be one big playground where he gets his way. He very rarely veers from his pursuit of fun. He is certainly the life of the party, and there is never a dull moment with Calvin. He represents both the light and dark side to the character type- his escapades are fun to read, but you can only imagine the destruction his ‘junkie mentality’ is causing others around him, as he can never get enough of what he believes to be fun.

Calvin ticks every box for a Power of Excitement character- he is an explorer, believing life should always be one big playground where he gets his way. He very rarely veers from his pursuit of fun. He is certainly the life of the party, and there is never a dull moment with Calvin. He represents both the light and dark side of the Character Type- his escapades are fun to read, but you can only imagine the destruction his ‘thrill junkie mentality’ is causing others around him.

Hobbes

Hobbes is part philosopher and all Tiger. No matter how insightful he can be about life in general, he has all the instincts of a “Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat”. Power of Conscience characters believe they are their brother’s keeper. Hobbes is forever the reluctant participant or sits out Calvin’s most outrageous schemes. Many strips often end with Hobbes trying to persuade Calvin not to do the wrong thing, or showing his viewpoint to be wrong. These characters also adhere to what they believe to be indisputably right- in this case, the laws of nature. Hobbes always stands up for the natural world and his fellow animals

These two work so well together because they balance each other out. Hobbes usually has incredible fun when he’s with Calvin, but at the same time, he is the equivalent of an angel on Calvin’s shoulder- although it often falls on deaf ears. One could technically be considered “good” (Hobbes) and the other “bad” (Calvin). The boy has growing up to do, and the Tiger could lighten up.

For more examples of all the character types, you can purchase my in-depth e-books at the ETB shop, or you can read more articles on all the “Power Of…” types including James Bond, Doctor Who, Batman and Sherlock Holmes, every Tuesday.

There are also 9 pinterest boards full of character examples online. Check them out and let us know at ETBHelp@gmail.com if you have any other suggestions or questions.

 

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