Thursday, October 13, 2005

I saw it. I want it.

It was at the top of the escalator at Barnes & Noble. When I saw it, I gripped the rail for balance, to prevent myself from stumbling backwards and rolling down the stairs. I tried not to look directly at it, because it was so beautiful. But I couldn't resist. I was almost in tears. The siren call was too seductive. I wanted it too much.

I was looking at The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.

Three hardcover-bound editions, collecting every single piece of the best comic strip we've ever had the pleasure to read. A display copy was open at the top of the rack, allowing customers to take a look. And time stopped for me. I don't know if I had anything else to do yesterday, but if I did, I forgot about it.

Has it really been 10 years since Bill Watterson ended "Calvin and Hobbes'" magnificent run? At that point, I wondered if I'd ever read the comics page regularly again. It certainly wouldn't look the same. Nothing else would compare. And nothing else does. I've found other comic strips that I love and read every day. Some of them might even be funnier on a daily basis. But "Calvin and Hobbes" didn't just make you laugh. It made you think. And once in a while, it was truly poignant. Watterson's artistry and imagination will never be matched. On Sundays, it was like the comics page could barely contain the strip.

I picked up the slipcase and held it. I probably even hugged it. But I didn't buy it. Not yet. The collection comes with a pretty hefty price tag. That's not to say it isn't worth the cost, because it is. I'll buy it someday. Someday very soon. I will have it. Oh, will I have it.

♦ Here's an interview with the talented Mr. Watterson at the Andrews McMeel website. Fans got to send in questions for the reclusive Watterson to answer.

♦ Neely Tucker wrote a terrific retrospective of "Calvin and Hobbes" in last week's Washington Post.

♦ And here's another tribute from Gregory Favre of the Poynter Institute.