One of the perks of working for a newspaper—in the old, pre-Internet days—was that you could read and learn things before the rest of the world.
I was a sportswriter at a small Virginia newspaper in 1985. And while I can't say for sure that I worked on Sunday night, November 17, I am fairly certain I would have followed my usual routine: at some point that evening, I would have walked back to the composing room, where we laid out the pages (by hand—imagine that!), and I would have read the comics slated to appear in the next morning's paper.
If indeed I worked that night, then I was one of the first to witness history, though I didn't know it at the time: A new comic strip was making its debut the next morning, November 18, 1985. A strip about a little boy, his imagination, and a stuffed tiger.
A strip called Calvin and Hobbes.
It was a strip that would captivate me, and much of the world, for the next 10 years.
A strip that would revolutionize the comics pages, elevating the art—yes, art—to new heights with arguably the smartest and best series we'll ever see.
A strip that would tackle social, philosophical, moral, ethical, and cultural issues with intelligence, wit, and snark, making you think and laugh at the same time.
A strip whose titular characters were named after a 16th-century French Reformation theologian (John Calvin) and a 17th-century English political philosopher (Thomas Hobbes). Fitting namesakes, because in the strip, Calvin is a rabble-rouser who's always questioning authority and pushing the envelope, while Hobbes is the voice of reason.
A strip that delivered on everything you could possibly ask of a cartoon, and more.
No way anyone ...