Watterson - by comparison a rank newcomer - is already syndicated to more than 500 newspapers from Finland to Fiji, and his Calvin and Hobbes books sell by the multiple million in America. Luckily he has so far continued to be funny. Calvin is a six-year-old kid who leads a vivid fantasy life with his toy tiger Hobbes. Like the members of Schulz's gang of baby neurotics, Calvin is a hybrid, a child-man constantly haunted by the chasm separating desire and performance, dream and reality, language and truth. This of course is the moral territory of almost all comedy, but where children are involved the danger of charm eliding into cutesiness is always there and Watterson is not entirely immune. Yet he has one priceless advantage over Schulz: he is a great draughtsman. When he departs from his everyday Peanuts-like minimalism and pulls out the whole box of tricks for a big coloured strip peopled by marvellous monsters - a weekend special - he achieves a power which Schulz and Charlie Brown can only dream about.
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