Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pearls Before Calvin and Hobbes 2

Last week (Pearls Before Calvin and Hobbes) I did a short analysis of Steven Pastis' tribute to Calvin and Hobbes. That sequence was published on a Monday, and for the next three days Pearls Before Swine continued the where-are-they-now? riff. And each one is brilliant.

(Click on images to enlarge)

The first calls attention to a comic strip convention that's largely overlooked: characters wear the same clothes all the time. Even when a gag requires that they become tattered or torn, the next day the clothes (costume?) is shown intact. Bill Waterson's Calvin and Hobbes ran for a specific period of time, then stopped. His characters didn't overstay their welcome (quite the contrary!). So Pastis' depiction of a character who aged in his clothes still stuck in time is a mordant observation on the conventions of long-running strips.

 The last two sequences are two halves of the same coin -- in later life, a character turns into the opposite of what they were.

So Hobbes morphs from super-liberal to super-conservative, and Moe moves from neanderthal bully to born-again Christian. The juxtaposition creates the humor, but at the same time, it's an insightful observation. People can change over time, especially as they move from childhood to adulthood. Only the central character -- Calvin -- seems unable to move on. Funny, and thought-provoking stuff!

I only wish Pastis had shown us what happened to Suzie...

No comments:

Post a Comment