Calvin and Hobbes ran in newspapers from 1985 – 1995 and in that time Bill Watterson churned out no small amount of strips, both singular jokes and lengthy stories. Here are the main collections in order of their release. If you see other books called ‘The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes’ or ‘The Essential Calvin and Hobbes’ or something, I wouldn’t bother – they’re just compilations of these originals.
Calvin and Hobbes (1987)
Probably the weakest one, Watterson hadn’t quite found his feet at this point and some of the strips are clearly failed pilots for ideas. Still bloody good by normal standards though.
Something Under the Bed is Drooling (1988)
The drawings still look a bit ill-defined here but the jokes are much sharper and more satirical.
Yukon Ho! (1989)
My personal fave, the story of Calvin’s seceding from his family to the Yukon is side-splitting.
Weirdos from Another Planet (1990)
Features the only ever appearance of Uncle Max, and he’s badly missed after this.
The Revenge of the Baby-Sat (1991)
The first to make a big deal of Calvin’s hated baby-sitter Rosalyn, and the opinion poll jokes come hard and fast too.
Scientific Progress Goes “Boink” (1991)
One of the funniest, this one doesn’t put a foot wrong.
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons (1992)
According to Calvin, what’s the moral of this book? ‘Snow goons are bad news.’ That should be applicable in other areas of life then.
The Days Are Just Packed (1993)
The first ‘big’ book, colour rains gloriously down upon these strips for the first time.
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat (1994)
Probably has the best cover of the lot.
There’s Treasure Everywhere (1995)
Watterson really got on the ball with Calvin’s imaginary alter-egos in this one. Brilliant stuff.
It’s a Magical World (1995)
A sparkling ending to the series, with a final panel that really tugs at the ol’ heartstrings.