Calvin and Hobbes – a LEGO Retrospective

Today, as many LEGO builders look back at their builds and accomplishments for the year, I’d like to go back a few more decades to December 31st 1995. The last published Calvin and Hobbes comic strip was published 20 years ago today, and I thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at Calvin and Hobbes through the eyes of the LEGO Community, and why we love them so much.

Calvin and Hobbes always held a very special place in my heart. It was the first English ‘book’ I ever actually wanted to read. But what surprises me is that – despite it being 20 years since the last printing – we still see LEGO builders from around the world regularly paying tribute to this wonderful comic strip. In fact, just over a month ago marked the 30th anniversary of the first Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, and I built a little scene to commemorate the occasion. I was quite shocked when I had someone message me to say “thank you” for reminding them of Calvin and Hobbes, and all the good memories.

Spaceman Spiff

Many LEGO builders have a certain amount of nostalgia for the comic, which is always just waiting for you to pick up and read again – just as Hobbes often waits to give Calvin a tackle-embrace (built by Adam Dodge):

Ready to pounce!

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read the comic how heartwarming, fun, and sometimes poetically deep the comic is. But as Calvin inevitably forgets Hobbes behind the door, I always forget these little facts as I flip through the pages, and occasionally one hits me like a 200 pound tiger.

The story of Calvin and Hobbes is really about a boy and his imagination, which most often manifests itself in the form of Hobbes, his stuffed tiger. But this imagination is something I think many builders out there share, the ability to create their own worlds. For Calvin, any situation could be a dangerous adventure. And we LEGO builders use the same imagination to explore and literally build our own worlds. Perhaps Calvin’s most famous imaginary adventures are those of Spaceman Spiff, the fearless interplanetary explorer, recreated in this build by Blake Baer:

Spaceman Spiff!

There’s also Calvinball – where rules are made up as they play. LEGO builders actually have their own version, though I don’t think it has a snazzy name. But there does seem to be quite the (inter)national sport of ‘new and interesting connections’. Most sports come with a defined set of rules, but Calvin chooses to ignore these and make up his own. Similarly LEGO pieces were designed to be generally used for specific purposes, but there’s a great joy within the LEGO community when someone discovers an innovative new way to fit two pieces together.

And let’s not forget that Calvin is actually a builder …not with LEGO, but with snow! Who can forget the normal, and slightly less normal, snowmen Calvin has created over the years (built by Matt De Lanoy):

Snowman Building

But in the end, the story of Calvin and Hobbes is a story of friendship, and it’s surprising how many friendships are formed around the LEGO hobby. I have the pleasure of calling many builders around the world my friends. And for LEGO builders going to conventions, there’s something special about working together and building something bigger than yourself. This last creation was a result of such an effort between my friend Evan Bordessa and myself:

Calvin and Hobbes

Despite being in different time-zones and different continents, it didn’t stop us from using our imagination to build something nostalgic from our childhoods.

So today as we mark the 20th anniversary of Calvin and Hobbes and look into the new year, I look forward to many new builds and many new LEGO adventures.

It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!

2 comments on “Calvin and Hobbes – a LEGO Retrospective

  1. wunztwice

    Wonderful! Thank you for collecting these MOCs into one place! I may be inspired to create a Calvin-esque snowman (probably in LEGO, not real snow) as a celebration.

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