Take the time to visit my new site: reemst.com - about web
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: A New Calvin and Hobbes Collection!
Great news! The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
is published October 4, 2005, containing 3 large hard-cover albums featuring all Calvin and Hobbes cartoons that ever appeared in syndication.
The list price is $150, but it's now available for only $99.00
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
New print fully available again!
Welcome, you've come to the place where Calvin and Hobbes® once were honored with a great tribute and fan-site, "Calvin and Hobbes at Martijn's". Unfortunately the copyright owners didn't agree with that and made me shutdown the entire site. The biggest success of the site was the Calvin and Hobbes Strip Search, which received thousands of visitors every single day.
I want to thank for all your visits and nice comments. I've received hundreds of emails because of this shutdown; thanks for all the nice comments! It would take way too much time to reply to all of them, so don't think I don't read them. I've read every single one of them and appreciate your comments.
If you want, you can send me an email as well.
For completeness, here's a list of all available Calvin and Hobbes® books, with direct links to buy them.
Calvin and Hobbes
Something Under the Bed is Drooling
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury
The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book: A Collection of Sunday Calvin and Hobbes Cartoons
Weirdos From Another Planet!
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury
The Revenge of the Baby-Sat
Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
The Days are Just Packed
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat
The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book
There's Treasure Everywhere
It's A Magical World
Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
If you want to have all strips, but not all books (i.e. the least amount of books, but have every single strip) then you need to buy this list of books:
Of course you could also buy "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" listed above!
Martijn is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Calvin and Hobbes is copyright © Bill Watterson and Universal Press Syndicate. Calvin and Hobbes are registered trademarks of Bill Watterson and Universal Press Syndicate.
Comic strips have been licensed from the beginning, but today the
merchandising of popular cartoon characters is more profitable than
ever. Derivative products - dolls, T-shirts, TV specials, and so on -
can turn the right strip into a gold mine. Everyone is looking for the
next Snoopy or Garfield, and Calvin and Hobbes were imagined to be the
perfect candidates. The more I thought about licensing, however, the
less I like it. I spent nearly five years fighting my syndicate's
pressure to merchandise my creation.
In an age of shameless commercialism, my objections to licensing are not
widely shared. Many cartoonists view the comic strip as a commercial
product itself, so they regard licensing as a natural extension of their
work. As most people ask, what's wrong with the comic strip characters
appearing on calendars and coffee mugs? If people want to buy the stuff,
why not give it to them?
I have several problems with licensing. First of all, I believe
licensing usually cheapens the original creation. When cartoon
characters appear on countless products, the public inevitably grows
bored and irritated with them, and the appeal and value of the original
work are diminished. Nothing dulls the edge of a new and clever cartoon
like saturing the market with it.
Second, commercial products rarely respect how a comic strip works. A
wordy, multiple-panel strip with extended conversation and developed
personalities does not condense to a coffee mug illustration without
great violation to the strip's spirit. The subtleties of a
multi-dimensional strip are sacrificed for the one-dimensional needs of
the product. The world of a comic strip ought to be a special place with
its own logic and life. I don't want some animation studio giving Hobbes
an actor's voice, and I don't want some greeting card company using
Calvin to wish people a happy anniversary, and I don't want the issue of
Hobbes's reality settled by a doll manufacturer. When everything fun and
magical is turned into something for sale, the strip's world is
diminshed. 'Calvin and Hobbes' was designed to be a comic strip and
that's all I want it to be. It's the one place where everything works
the way I intend it to.
Third, as a practical matter, licensing requires a staff of assistants
to do the work. The cartoonist must become a factory foreman, delegating
responsibilities and overseeing the production of things he does not
create. Some cartoonists don't mind this, but I went into cartooning to
draw cartoons, not to run a corporate empire. I take great pride in the
fact that I write every word, draw every line, color every Sunday strip,
and paint every book illustration myself. My strip is a low-tech,
one-man operation, and I like it that way. I believe it's the only way
to preserve the craft and to keep the strip personal. Despite what some
cartoonists say, approving someone else's work is not the same as doing
Beyond all this, however, lies a deeper issue: the corruption of a
strip's integrity. All strips are supposed to be entertaining, but some
strips have a point of view and a serious purpose behind the jokes. When
the cartoonist is trying to talk honestly and seriously about life, then
I believe he has a responsibility to think beyond satisfying the
market's every whim and desire. Cartoonists who think they can be taken
seriously as artists while using the strip's protagonists to sell boxer
shorts are deluding themselves.
The world of a comic strip is much more fragile than most people realize
or will admit. Believable characters are hard to develop and easy to
destroy. When a cartoonist licenses his characters, his voice is
co-opted by the business concerns of toy makers, television producers,
and advertisers. The cartoonist's job is no longer to be an original
thinker; his job is to keep his characters profitable. The characters
become "celebrities", endorsing companies and products, avoiding
controversy, and saying whatever someone will pay the to say. At that
point, the strip has no soul. With its integrity gone, a strip loses its
My strip is about private realities, the magic of imagination, and the
specialness of certain friendships. Who would believe in the innocence
of a little kid and his tiger if they cashed in on their popularity to
sell overpriced knickknacks that nobody needs? Who would trust the
honesty of the strip's observations when the characters are hired out as
advertising hucksters? If I were to undermine my own characters like
this, I would have taken the rare privilege of being paid to express my
own ideas and given it up to be an ordinary salesman and a hired
illustrator. I would have sold out my own creation. I have no use for
that kind of cartooning.
Unfortunately, the more popular 'Calvin and Hobbes' became, the less
control I had over its fate. I was presented with licensing
capitalize on its success mounted from then on. Succeeding beyond
anyone's wildest expectations had only inspired wilder expectations.
To put the problem simply, trainloads of money were at stake - millions
and millions of dollars could be made with a few signatures. Syndicates
are businesses, and no business passes up that kind of opportunity
without an argument.
Undermining my position, I had signed a contract giving my syndicate all
exploitation rights to 'Calvin and Hobbes' into the next century.
Because it is virtually impossible to get into daily newspapers without
a syndicate, it is standard practice for syndicates to use their
superior bargaining position to demand rights they neither need nor
deserve when contracting with unknown cartoonists. The cartoonist has
few alternatives to the syndicate's terms: he can take his work
elsewhere on the unlikely chance that a different syndicate would be
more inclined to offer concessions, he can self-syndicate and attempt to
attract the interest of newspapers without the benefit of reputation or
contacts, or he can go back home and find some other job. Universal
would not sell my strip to newspapers unless I gave the syndicate the
right to merchandise the strip in other media. At the time, I had not
thought much about licensing and the issue was not among my top
concerns. Two syndicates had already rejected 'Calvin and Hobbes', and I
worried more about the contractual consequences if the strip failed than
the contractual consequences if the strip succeeded. Eager for the
opportunity to publish my work, I signed the contract, and it was not
until later, when the pressure to commercialize focused my opinions on
the matter, that I understood the trouble I'd gotten myself into.
I had no legal recourse to stop the syndicate from licensing. The
syndicate preferred to have my cooperation, but my approval was by no
means necessary. Our arguments with each other grew more bitter as the
stakes got higher, and we had an ugly relationship for several years.
The debate had its ridiculous aspects. I am probably the only cartoonist
who resented the popularity of his own strip. Most cartoonists are more
than eager for the exposure, wealth, and prestige that licensing offers.
When cartoonists fight their syndicates, it's usually to make more
money, not less. And making the whole issue even more absurd, when I
didn't license, bootleg 'Calvin and Hobbes' merchandise sprung up to
feed the demand. Mall stores openly sold T-shirts with drawings
illegally lifted from my books, and obscene or drug-related shirts were
rife on college campuses. Only thieves and vandals have made money on
'Calvin and Hobbes' merchandise.
For years, Universal pressured me to compromise on a "limited" licensing
program. The syndicate would agree to rule out the most offensive
products if I would agree to go along with the rest. This would be, in
essence, my only shot at controlling what happened to my work. The idea
of bartering principles was offensive to me and I refused to compromise.
For that matter, the syndicate and I had nothing to trade anyway: I
didn't care about my notions of artistic integrity. With neither of us
valuing what the other had to offer, compromise was impossible. One of
us was going to trample the interests of the other.
By the strip's fifth year, the debate had gone as far as it could
possibly go, and I prepared to quit. If I could not control what 'Calvin
and Hobbes' stood for, the strip was worthless to me. My contract was
so one-sided that quitting would have allowed Universal to replace me
with hired writers and artists and license my creation anyway, but at
this point, the syndicate agreed to renegotiate my contract. The
exploitation rights to the strip were returned to me, and I will not
license 'Calvin and Hobbes'.