In Endpapers (Book Review, April 17), Charles Solomon captures a great deal of the wonder Bill Watterson creates in "Calvin and Hobbes." This strip is really too fine a representation of life to be called, too casually, a cartoon, a satirization of life; it is life. Watterson's ability to draw expressions of amazement, anxiety, terror and absolute inner peace both for Calvin and Hobbes is matched by his remarkable sense of being that places these two in situations we recognize so well.
I would differ with Solomon only when he says that Hobbes is "imaginary." Hobbes is as real and true as the joys and fears of Calvin. And they are the stuff of life, not of a stuffed tiger.
In addition to Hobbes, who is real and vocal only when alone with Calvin, Watterson has given Calvin parents who, while occasionally exasperated with him, usually react with understanding, even at the most ludicrous exploits Hobbes is supposed to have gotten Calvin into. Watterson would have Calvin's father show a resigned expression when confronted with a list of negative, fatherly features, but also search the woods when Hobbes is lost, so he could be placed upon Calvin's pillow.
Solomon didn't really review the book, "Something Under the Bed Is Drooling," he told us that part of the reason we become involved with these characters is that Calvin speaks an educated, adult language while facing all the childhood imageries we adults still encounter--but Calvin can transmogrify himself into an outrageous fighter, with Hobbes at his side--and we cannot.