In an era when cable TV and video games were just starting to compete for our attention, the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes inspired a generation of kids to have a renewed appreciation for the wonder of the outdoors and the versatility of cardboard boxes. But the cartoonist, Bill Watterson, was always adamant that his strip never be merchandised in the way comics like Peanuts and Garfield had been. So, outside of a few book collections, readers were left with few options when it came to celebrating their fandom. Thankfully, LEGO is a product that encourages you to build anything your imagination can conceive of. And Simon Liu has taken advantage of that fact to grace us with brick-built versions of Calvin and his feline companion.
This build recreates one of the more famous images of the pair, a shot of them balancing on a log which first appeared in The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book. It’s everything I’d want to see in a hypothetical licensed LEGO set. Not only are the characters perfectly realized, but the attention paid to the wilderness base they stand on has all the hallmarks of Watterson’s art. The soft palette of colors evokes the watercolors that were often used on supplemental book images. And details like the log’s crooked tiling and the small dip in the creek give the environment the same realistic feel that landscapes in the strip were known for. While Watterson may not ever want to see this as a set for sale, I’ve no doubt that seeing the effort that Simon put into honoring his creations would make him smile.