Cultural Social Context of Stuffed Tigers/Animals:
|Original design Tigger at left.|
Hobbes is in some ways, arguably less well known. Since Bill Watterson's comic strip ended in 1995, Calvin and his anthropomorphized tiger pal Hobbes are increasing less recognized by people under the age of 12.* Hobbes, who appears as a stuffed animal to all other characters, comes to life when accompanied by his owner Calvin. He serves often as Calvin's voice of reason and is up to frighten Calvin with a good pounce. Hobbes often waxes lyrical about humanity, life and other philosophical subjects. Both tigers who are stuffed animals to one set of viewers but talking, responsive characters to others allow the creators to play with understanding of childhood versus adulthood, the role of toys in a persons life and influences of ones imagination. In an interview with Honk Magazine in 1987 Watterson noted "'When Hobbes is a stuffed toy in one panel and alive in the next, I'm juxtaposing the 'grown-up' version of reality with Calvin's version, and inviting the reader to decide which is truer'", noting the flexibility of signifiers of age.
For the rest of this post, I am going to indulge myself and post some Calvin and Hobbes strips.
*Cultural understanding gauged on an oh-so-scientific study done on the poor visitors at work who are increasingly my public history guinea pigs.