Comics today

I made the mistake the other day during a fit of intense boredom to flip open the local rag to the apparently mislabeled “Comics” section. I say mislabeled because I was under the impression that comics were supposed to be funny, or at the least, entertaining.

Having not really read comics in a paper for several years, I was rather disappointed at what I found. Half-assed political “humor”, old jokes, and man-bashing. Where was the wit? Where was the joke worked so cleverly into three panels that if you weren’t careful you missed it? In short, where was Bill Waterson?

I’m guessing that maybe three of you have never heard of, or read Calvin & Hobbes, and if you’re one of those three people, shame shame. I read a lot of Calvin & Hobbes, right up to the very last comic. My younger brother has every collection of the comics that was released.

If you asked me what was so great about Calvin, I wouldn’t begin to be able to formulate an answer in a short period of time. It had wit, it was touching, Calvin’s adventures appealed to the child in me for their fanciful nature, just as his philosophical outlook appeals to me now as an adult.

I’m not going to wax too nostalgic about C&H, at the risk of boring you. One thing that made it great was the way it ended. The last panel has Calvin and Hobbes riding his sled into a fresh blanket of snow with the words “Let’s go exploring!” I still tear up a little bit when I read it.

Below, you’ll find one of my favorite works from Waterson, the poem “Yukon Ho!” which was released with the collection of strips by that same name.

Yukon Ho!

My tiger friend has got the sled
And I have packed a snack.
We’re all set for the trip ahead.
We’re never coming back!

We’re abandoing this life we’ve led!
So long, Mom and Pop!
We’re sick of doing what youve said,
And now it’s going to stop!

We’re going where it snows all year,
Where life can have real meaning.
A place where we wont have to hear,
“Your room could stand some cleaning.”

The Yukon is the place for us!
That’s where we want to live.
Up there we’ll ge to yell and cuss
And act real primitive.

We’ll never have to go to school,
Forced into submission,
By monstrous, crabby teachers who’ll
Make us learn addition.

We’ll never have to clean a plate,
Of veggie glops and goos.
Messily we’ll masticate,
Using any fork we choose!

The timber wolves will be our friends.
Well stay up late and howl,
At the moon, till nightmare ends,
Before going on the prowl.

Oh, what a life! we cannot wait,
To be in that arctic land,
Where we’ll be masters of our fate,
And lead a life that’s grand!

No more of parental rules!
We’re heading for some snow!
Good riddance to those grown-up-ghouls!
We’re leaving! Yukon Ho