Coffee and cigarettes…

February 11, 2009

yea, verily, i say unto thee – “THIS!”

Filed under: the precious — techrat @ 12:40 am
Don't put away your childish things. Save them for your child.

I don’t think I really need to say anything else here.

EDIT: Apparently, I do. Because some people don’t Get It.

I’m sorry if you don’t understand it, and actually feel sorry for you because you lack the capacity to look beyond yourself and the things YOU cherish, and embrace the universe that is. I’m sorry you can’t stomach that *gasp* Calvin could mature – though, really, it’s Calvin… he was already pretty damned mature for a six-year-old.

Nothing is static in this life. Sacred cows make the best hamburgers. All things grow, and change, and we adults are supposed to pass on the important lessons we’ve learned to our progeny, in order to help them do even better than we did.

I didn’t create this image… but I wish I had. Because it depicts, in metaphor, something that I’ve done literally with my own daughter. I gave her my own stuffed tiger and watched as it came to life for her, just as it had for me. I hope, in due course, she will pass the torch to her kids.

I taught her to read using Calvin and Hobbes. She’s learned to think critically and creatively because of C&H. We’ve made the Snowmen of Horrors (though, we’re in Florida, so they’re really Sandmen of Horrors). Great epic battles have taken place with dinosaurs flying fighter jets, and Spaceman Spiff has met his match in a blonde-and-blue pixie who takes great delight in teasing him for his taste in spacesuits.

Within the pages of the many books of collected strips, I’ve shown her important life lessons – including the one that most people miss: Of all the assets you have in this life, your imagination is the only thing without limits. Well… some people’s imaginations, at any rate.

And, my favorite lesson is one she pointed out to me: If someone DOES try to limit you, they do so at their own peril, for a tiger’s vengeance is legendary.

So… don’t limit those of us who want to give our children the best of what we’ve had ourselves. There’s plenty of us who DO like the image and what it represents. If you don’t like the image, move on.

There’s a great big Internet out there.

Let’s go exploring.


  1. Where did you find this? Any idea who made it?

    Comment by Ryan — March 3, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  2. I found it in, of all places, a Fark thread, where it was posted as a rebuttal to the apocryphal and vile “Calvin on Ritalin” fake.

    Me likee, me swipee. ;)

    Comment by techrat — March 3, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  3. This is wonderful. it’s been picked up on reddit. Is this original, or did you forget to attribute it?

    Comment by Calvin Lawson — March 3, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

  4. Ahhh…from fark. sry, should read the comments.

    Comment by Calvin Lawson — March 3, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  5. [...] Found at Coffee and Cigarettes, where they claimed it was found on a Fark Thread. If you know where this image or poster cam from, [...]

    Pingback by The Great Geek Manual » Motivational Poster: The Future — March 4, 2009 @ 9:01 am

  6. this almost put a tear in my eye

    Comment by Chaos — March 5, 2009 @ 11:29 am

  7. I daresay Watterson would approve.

    Comment by S. Oelek — March 8, 2009 @ 4:13 am

  8. Can anyone pls explain this? I didnt get it.Thx.

    Comment by Dodo — March 8, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  9. [...] and Hobbes fame, as an adult. To describe most of them as “treacly” would be kind (take this one, for [...]

    Pingback by Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources — March 12, 2009 @ 10:50 am

  10. I understand the sentiment behind this and all, but ultimately for me, if Watterson didn’t draw it, it should be considered sacrilege. If you’ve got something you want to say about growing up as an artist, create it yourself. Don’t co-opt the characters you used to love whose creator has pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t want other people co-opting. That’s pretty childish.

    By the by, I’m not trying to rag on the owner of this site for just reposting this. I just call into question the intent of the anonymous artist who spent time working this up.

    Comment by Kiel Phegley — March 12, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  11. Great!

    Comment by Cels McClane — March 12, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  12. Um… it’s a comic. “Sacrilege”? Really?

    No, it’s art. And, really, all art is the co-opting of images and ideas.

    Comment by techrat — March 12, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  13. I daresay Watterson would not. As I recall, he gave up C&H because he was being pressured to merchandise more, and he didn’t want to, and he was getting ripped off every other minute. So it’s just one more rip-off of someone who was truly original and truly creative and put in the time and the work to make something that we all enjoyed. And then we (speaking metaphorically) just made free with it.

    And if it’s art, and not “just” a comic, all the more reason that it shouldn’t be “co-opted.” Even if art is the “co-opting of images and ideas,” the expression of those images and ideas has to be ORIGINAL or it’s NOT ART. So, sorry, no, it isn’t all right to “co-opt,” that is, steal.

    Comment by LeslieC — March 12, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  14. Ah… but it is art.
    It’s made people think. And express those thoughts. And have dialogue.
    It’s reached beyond mere thought into the emotions.
    It made me smile. It’s pissed you off.

    THAT is what art does, don’t ya know.

    Just because it’s not art YOU agree with… doesn’t make it not art.

    Comment by techrat — March 12, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  15. I’m afraid that’s a false argument. True that art is capable of pissing people off. But only if it’s the message that is a disquieting one. I don’t disagree with the “art.” I disagree with the stealing of intellectual property. Not the same thing at all. This same drawing could have been done without referencing C&H and still been successful, but the person drawing it would have had to do the work to communicate the idea without falling back on the shorthand of someone else’s creation.

    Comment by LeslieC — March 12, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  16. I can see your point, techrat, but ultimately even if we consider the above art, making someone think or react isn’t necessarily the same thing as being good art. The original Calvin & Hobbes strip interacted with its audience on multiple levels, asked big questions, entertained in terms of humor and occasionally drama and generally have a very unique and original point of view. I’d argue that the above has none of that.

    And more to my original point, if we’re assuming the artist of the above image loves and respects the original work (which I think everyone can agree that this person is a fan of Calvin & Hobbes) then their choice to use Watterson’s characters despite his expressed desire to not have anyone use them is a very selfish and ethically bankrupt act as far as the creation of art goes.

    If someone wanted to use Calvin & Hobbes to satirize Watterson’s own staunch refusal to merchandise his characters or some other direct confrontational idea, I’d be more open to granting them their right to do so (I wouldn’t agree with their point, but I could accept that they do have a “right” as artists). The above is a simplistic statement that cobbles together two different popular works (a classic strip and a highly stylized marketing campaign) with what I would say is a bare minimum of craft or uniqueness. Ultimately, it’s hollow and unoriginal, which in light of the achievements of the original work, I find to be pretty worthless and a little offensive.

    In short, POSTER = FAIL.

    Comment by Kiel Phegley — March 12, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  17. Leslie – Actually, it’s a true and valid argument. It doesn’t fail any test of logic.

    The message doesn’t need to be a disquieting one in order to piss people off. How many pieces of art have been vandalized or destroyed not because of their message, but just because of their form? The Venus de Milo, broken asunder by the Catholic Church? The Buddha statues in Afghanistan that were blown up by the Taliban?

    Just about all art and literature references other art and literature, going back to the Bible and beforehand. (Hell, visual art is itself a shorthand representation of things that have actually been seen or imagined, so reality is the ultimate reference that gets “stolen” from all the time.)

    Words and ideas have cumulative meaning to each of us because of all the things we’ve experienced that add their individual contributions to those meanings.

    And lastly… since you’re bringing in the pissing match of intellectual property (which is its own can of worms): much to the surprise of every hypersensitive artist out there, derivative works CAN be made, legally and ethically, if there is no attempt to profit from them and if there is no attempt to represent them as the original work. This piece does neither. So, legally, you’ve not a leg to stand on. See also: parody.

    Comment by techrat — March 12, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  18. Kiel – I respect your opinion, and the way in which you’ve presented it. We will simply need to agree to disagree.

    I rather like the message created by the original artist, as I’ve said repeatedly in the OP and comments both.

    My understanding of Watterson’s refusal to merchandise was that he didn’t want to reduce the characters to mere monetary objects. That he wanted the ideals represented to remain just that – ideals, inspirational ones at that. I rather think the artist (still unknown to me, by the way) respected that aspect – nothing is being commercialized, or reduced to the lowest common denominator. The child-like sense of wonder that we tend to lose as adults is shown being passed to the next generation… something that doesn’t happen much in the real world, as most parents try to get their kids to grow up too fast and never explore those sides of themselves.

    The ultimate message here is one of positivism and hope. That’s very much in keeping with Watterson’s original.

    (Save the hate for the assclown who made the “Calvin on Ritalin” strip. THAT was vile.)

    Comment by techrat — March 12, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  19. It appears that the issue of intellectual property is the only issue that was being brought up, techrat, not that of the “art.” And, yes, it is its own “can of worms,” precisely the can of worms in question. You seem to be missing the point, or at least deliberately twisting the discussion in order to bring up a lot of pretentious twaddle about “art,” which has nothing at all to do with the argument.

    Comment by kansas — March 12, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  20. Actually, Kansas, it was Kiel who brought art into the discussion. If the creator is an artist, then it’s gotta be art, cuz that’s what artists do.

    I originally posted this as just a “wow, this is a nifty sentiment” to my friends, who are all that ever really read my blog.

    Only when the art argument began to fail did the IP aspect come in… and as I have pointed out, this is perfectly legal and protected speech under several clauses of the copyright code.

    So… go back to school for some reading comprehension.

    In the meantime, grown-ups are talking.

    Comment by techrat — March 12, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  21. The image file is associated with StumbleUpon, and I Stumbled it. I love it as a total image, arguments notwithstanding. ;)

    Comment by Red Wolf — March 14, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  22. This picture is simply a must see form people who thnks comics isnĀ“art.

    The waterfall of emotions that transmits the look of tiger and the arm in top sayin goodbye is simply unbeliable.

    Comment by John Constantine — March 16, 2009 @ 7:15 am

  23. ha. well, i found this page, golly, i don’t quite remember how, but here i am. when i first saw the picture and read your lil thing about it, honestly, it brought tears to my eyes. (i’m a girl about shit like that)
    and then i read all the comments, and laughed, and had to join in.
    first of all, none of us can say if Watterson would have liked it or not. but, i’d really have to agree with the argument that he would have because of the warm feelings it conveyed and blah blah blah, it’s not like making shit toys about it, ya know?
    anyhow, i just have to say i love calvin & hobbes, and this picture touched my heart.

    Comment by ami — September 30, 2009 @ 1:02 am

  24. Watterson was against his characters being commercialized and pushed into a static one-dimensional state of existence. He didn’t want his characters to be seen as talking heads who barked out whatever a company was paying them for. He wanted his comic to be art, not merchandise.

    The art posted above is not trying to turn a profit. It’s not hollowing the characters out, leaving them flat and lifeless. It’s making a statement.

    It’s funny, one of the things Watterson hated was the idea of a stuffed Hobbes doll. He argued that it would create a false answer to the question: “Is Hobbes real or a stuffed tiger.” The answer, of course, is that Hobbes is Calvin’s best friend, and to the parents he’s a stuffed tiger, and neither perception of reality is more important or more official than the other one. The above tribute plays with that beautifully, yet people are arguing that it’s ripping Watterson off. Crazy.

    Comment by Izmo — December 28, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  25. This is fantastic. I really do like this. not being a parent myself but an uncle, i gave one of my favourite toys to my nephew :D so this made me smile. Fantastic

    Comment by Bonesy — December 28, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  26. It’s so true. Hang on to those childhood dreams, toys, memories and treasures and if you end up not having any kids, when you’re an old man like me, you can sell them for top prices on eBay!

    Comment by John Cornell — December 30, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  27. This image floored me. It’s such a sad idea, that Calvin eventually lets go of his childhood. Your explanation killed me. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by geoffr — December 31, 2009 @ 12:24 am

  28. These comments are taking this poster way to serious! Its supposed to be a fun, inspirational image to remind us of our childhood. The sad thing is, you people that rag on this poster are probably the exact ones this poster was made for. Also I would hope that watterson would not mind someone using C&H to promote such an innocent idea.

    Comment by Jameson — January 5, 2010 @ 2:07 am

  29. As a father of three who grew up on comics, toys that still litter the house, and all the trappings of youth, I absolutely love everything about that image, and since it in no way seems to have been made to profit from the characters in a fiduciary sense nor treats them in a manner disrespectful, I really do think Watterson himself would have had a smile on his face looking at that. It’s just a simple little nod to so much, an homage really.

    Comment by Steve — January 7, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  30. Sorry I got this one late, but I wanted to chime in a bit. I recently read the Calvin and Hobbes 10th anniversary edition and read what Bill W. thought about his comic. It’s hard to know, honestly, what he would have thought, but I certainly think he would like the idea because he believed that Calvin and Hobbes was more than just a Sunday strip. It was something from his heart and the idea that we will pass something that was dear to us on to our children would make him smile. Quite the opposite of the decals on the back of trucks with Calvin peeing on things.

    I personally have tried to do the same things with my kids…from Calvin to TMBG. If she likes them great, if not, I let her make up her own mind.

    Thanks for sharing..

    Comment by Sirpoins — January 8, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  31. For all the cynics out there like Kiel and Leslie, something about Forest and Trees comes to mind here.

    For me, I got the point right off. I’m an artist myself and I hate ripoffs as much as anyone, but if I was Watterson, I’d appreciate this homage and the sentiment simply for what it is.

    Comment by daveconrey — January 13, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

  32. I think it’s stinkin’ AWESOME and, as was stated before, I think Watterson would, too.

    I think the artist captured the spirit of C&H perfectly.

    Comment by Tom — January 20, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  33. I like the way hobbes turns back, and gives that look.

    Comment by Ebby — February 9, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  34. When talking about art, the number of words you use is inversally proportioned to your chances to figure out something about it. I’m talking to you, Kiel.

    This image it’s beautiful, I love it and I really thank you for posting it. :)

    Comment by Abufinzio — February 12, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  35. I’m just wondering why everyone is referring to Bill Watterson in the past-tense……to my knowledge, he’s still alive and well. I love this, by the way, and unless Mr. Watterson comes onto this site to complain, I really don’t think it’s necessary for the self-appointed Copyright Police to be ranting on so.

    Comment by Raeta — March 24, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  36. Okay, I get it, don’t stifle the imaginations of your children, but who does that anyway? I didn’t need to endorse someone else’s fantasies to bring up my girls with active imaginations, we had our own. Now one is a gifted teacher and the other is a cutting-edge graphic designer–and we never once read a Calvin and Hobbs comic. Those that can will, those that can’t will read the comics.

    Comment by vernon marsh — March 24, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

  37. Blah blah blah blah!!! WHY must people take things so fucking seriously! It’s a comic strip which we all love and reflects our own thoughts! Nothing is original anyways, so take what you love from the world around you and make something of it!

    Comment by Sidney — March 24, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

  38. There is a huge difference than fanart and merchandising. Merchandising is stripping art of it’s creative value for it’s money value. Fanart is a very pure form of art about reflecting on something you love… or just making it porn.

    I think Bill would like this a lot,and I just love Hobbes looking back at Calvin.

    Comment by Natalie — March 24, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

  39. people didn’t get it? Sometimes I worry about the people who can look at a picture that pretty much is self explanatory and say ummm I dont get it. the idea of it is something I could understand in grade school wtf?

    Comment by haley — March 24, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  40. Isn’t this interesting…peoples reactions? The self righteous indignation, the intellectual postering, hee hee..peoor old Marcel DuChamp would have had a good ticking off by some of these commenters! I would be glad if my child had a tiger behind her back!… woman who run with wolves…Blake if one wants to read more layers of symbolism..

    Comment by Amy Jane Whittaker Nuttall — March 25, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  41. why the attitude? you get a thumbs down. your blog is a cartoon you found somewhere. If people don’t get your intention maybe that is because you had no original content? No comment?

    Then when you do comment it’s to tell a stock story about your little girl. Whatever, dude. I will go elsewhere, right after clicking the thumbs down button.

    Comment by david — March 25, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  42. The arguments/debates that have taken place here, don’t and can’t come close to the truths held by the subject of “art.”
    For the most part, these ideas and views here are snippets, equivalent to sound-bytes; they’re views and opinions drowned in contradiction.
    There are very real and serious issues when dealing with definitions of art and many people talk and think too loosely when dealing with or conversing these matters. Art is in a very fragile and perilous state due to the many scattered, free-believed, and unfocused that travel along biases and catchy phrases or trends. The problem here is that whether or not one is an expert on the matter they spout falsehoods, allowing the spread of and aiding the demise of art’s truths.

    Comment by -isan — March 25, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  43. Its completely fine to remix old things into new things, and legal under fair use. It’s an avenue that is not void of creativity, meaning, or artistic value.

    NOTHING IS sacrilege. NOTHING. If you believe anything is be prepaid for the world to show you otherwise. Everything you are sensitive about will be needled, poked, and prodded. Your soft spots will be romanced only to be ripped out. Sacrilege? Bahahahaha.

    Watterson would not approve of the use of his characters. He quit while calvin was still hot, saving us all from the misery of calvin devovling into crap. He kept merchandise to a minimum as to not dilute calvin’s impact thru over satiation. He’s been quoted as hating those calvin pissing on ford mud flaps, and has pointed out people love to pirate particular images. But know what? Tough shit. He created calvin… but he belongs to the world now. He’s ours, and no amount of QQing is going to give you exclusive rights to him. He will be pirated, misappropriated, torn, splintered, and mutilated… And Watterson should be honored that he has created thing that has moved millions. We each feel as if we know calvin… and in our own way we LOVE SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER EXISTED.

    You are going to say its sacrilegious to draw one of our loved ones? ARE YOU HIGH?

    Comment by Unknown — March 26, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  44. We recognize this as Watterson-esque. At first blush, it does not offend, but reminds us of the truth of Calvin & Hobbes. Sometimes this is the best way to reach a lot of people. There is no point in dissing the creator of this piece or the person who posted it. I doubt either are attempting to make money from it, let alone ‘ripping off’ Bill Watterson. It uses the imagery of Calvin & Hobbes to convey a nice message. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of it.

    Comment by bill — March 26, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  45. What a bunch of nattering dorks on this thread. I love sentiment expressed by the pic. I hope when I have kids that I will be able give them all of good aspects from my childhood and heritage with fewer of the negative things. God-willing.

    Comment by mattnnz — March 27, 2010 @ 2:22 am

  46. techrat, using the internet to convince us of your point using the biggest words you can muster is pretty lame.

    Do you think if you muddle your point with incomprehensible blabber it will make you seem smarter? Your point more clear? More clever?

    Sorry. Artists create original art. They don’t manipulate another’s images into some personal distortion of their own, like this cheap peice.

    Watterson created these images and has been outspoken on his desire to prevent them from commercialization. It is clear he had a personal connection (obviously) to his characters. For other people to take those characters and create something that was never intended is wrong. Make the statement in your own, original way. You argue that Watterson wouldn’t disapprove because of no commercial gain. Are you saying his characters can be taken, twisted, recreated, and strewn about the internet as long as no money is being made and he would be okay with that?

    The fact is, this is the INTELLECTUAL property of one person. If you aren’t that person, well, you don’t have the right to distribute the images and then make claims as to what the owner would approve or disapprove of. No matter how “inspiring” YOU make believe it to be.

    Comment by Mork — March 29, 2010 @ 3:13 am

  47. Wondering if there’s a bigger version of this image. I’d love to have it on my wall.

    As to the whole “rip-off” argument… while I think Watterson might in fact actually like this one, the only way to know for sure is if he were to comment on it himself. Maybe that would resolve the issue…

    Comment by Kino — March 29, 2010 @ 9:53 am

  48. “Can anyone pls explain this? I didnt get it.Thx.”

    Dodo, it’s based on an American comic strip called Calvin and Hobbes. The guy waving in the background (Calvin?) used to own the tiger, but now he’s grown up and given it to his kid, I guess. Hope that clears things up.

    Comment by Sean — March 29, 2010 @ 9:55 am

  49. Very well said. Bravo, and if I’d like to say, I challenge any artist out there that is bold enough I’d like to see this adult Calvin stuff continued on in a webcomic or something. Nice article on top of the art as well. I’ve been store-housing my old calvin and hobbs comics for when I have kids.

    Comment by Jenn — March 29, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  50. Grief, can’t anyone here appreciate the message without shooting the medium and the messenger?

    Comment by Sasha — March 29, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  51. to all the people arguing, it’s a fanart. It’s someone who admires the original work, and did their take on it. It’s not for profit, and if you don’t like it, you can exit the browser

    Comment by Emilija — April 1, 2010 @ 8:41 am

  52. Just a thought – It could be possible that the artist who drew this was not aware of Watterson’s stance on others using his work in way such as this. I’ve always liked C&H, but I don’t spend time reading about Watterson.

    Comment by Grimmash — April 1, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  53. “Nothing is static in this life. Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.”

    Dude, I think this is my new mantra.

    May your path be straight.

    Comment by Dan — April 8, 2010 @ 7:12 am

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