Calvin is a six-year-old
boy, named after the 16th century theologian John Calvin (Protestant reformer).
John Calvin was somebody who believed in predestination. Although both
Calvin's may have very different opinions, the cartoon Calvin has an ability
to argue and express himself worthy of the theologian. Readers of the strip
may think that Watterson has children himself, but that's not the case.
He found it amusing to create Calvin whose attitudes were so different
to his own. Indeed Calvin is a young lad who wants everything and wants
it now, at whatever cost (not doing homework, having baths or tidying his
room). To discover more I'd recommend Calvin's
Hobbes is a tiger, Calvin's best friend. However everybody else only sees Hobbes as an old cuddly toy. Whether or not Hobbes is real is of no importance to the author, Bill Watterson, who believes that everybody sees things differently. The name Hobbes comes from the 17th century philosopher who had a great insight into human nature. The tiger Hobbes is a dignified individual, full of common sense like most animals. The comic aspect of his character comes partly from his human behaviour. Although he seems to be a mild-mannered tiger, he still has "tiger instinct", and always pounces on Calvin the second he gets home (See "I'm home"). Although he has never been to school, he seems to know a lot. He talks continuously about how perfect tigers are. For example, Calvin once asked why tigers don't go to school. He said, "No room for improvement". Calvin often wishes he had a tail, or retractable claws, etc. Hobbes is also a lot taller than Calvin, therefore when they play contact sports, such as football, or, in their case, any other sport, Hobbes usually ends up clobbering Calvin most of the time. See also the strip about Hobbes.
Susie is a young girl of Calvin's age. Being a
class-mate, as well as a neighbour, she often has to suffer him and his
tricks. She's the perfect little girl: a hard worker, serious, intelligent
and calm. Always in a love-hate relationship with Calvin she puts up with
his attacks and in some ways encourages his peculiar behaviour.
He doesn't have a name as he is known to the reader only as Calvin's dad. He works as a lawyer in the town. He's in the Father Elections but keeps dropping in the opinion polls among the six-year-old of the house...
Just like his dad, his mum has no name. She's a housewife whose main job is to look after Calvin, and that's no small task. The most difficult things she has to do are puttnig Calvin to bed and making him take a bath.
She is Calvin's primary school teacher. She is
somebody who believes in the value of education. Watterson takes pity on
her because of how she is treated by Calvin. Indeed she's impatient to
retire and the rumour is that she smokes two packets a day, unfiltered,
and she's on medication.
She is Calvin & Hobbes' only baby-sitter. In fact she is the only one willing to look after them. But Rosalyn is probably the only person whom Calvin fears. She spends the evening telephoning her boyfriend Charlie... after sending Calvin & Hobbes to bed at 18:30. Baby-sitting provides her a guaranteeed income: she's always asking Calvin's parents for advances and extra money and they haven't got much choice: pay her or always stay at home. Cf. the strip.
He's a sort of thick brute, one of Calvin's class-mates, who seems to spend most of his time upsetting smaller children at playtime or during PE [ou physical education] lessons. Bill Watterson represents, through Moe, all the children who take advantage of being large for their age to beat up smaller children and, according to Bill, schools are full of them. Cf the strip.
Calvin's alter egos
Using his overactive imagination, Calvin often mixes reality and fiction. He takes on the role of different characters he himself invented, often inspired by American culture, cartoons (the famous Comic books) and films...
He's the lone space explorer,
Spaceman Spiff. Calvin, as Spiff, tackles monsters from other planets in
galactic battles or with his death ray blaster; he crashes his red flying
saucer and is often taken prisoner... In fact the Spaceman Spiff character
was created before Calvin and goes back to Watterson's college dates. The
narration of these strips is much like that of the Flash Gordon cartoons.
Indeed the story of Flash is largely told in inserts, which is why Spiff
describes all his actions as they take place.
Cf. the strip.
He's the flying upholder
of the law, defender of freedom. Dressed as Stupendous Man, Calvin tackles
crime, his teacher, his baby-sitter, his mother...
Cf. the strip.
Tracer Bullet, private eye
He's the private detective,
inspired from the 50's detective thrillers... He has to resolve tricky
affairs like math problems...
Cf. the strip.