Where exactly does he get all that urine anyway?
January 17, 2003 12:03 AM   Subscribe

Angry at something? Have Calvin pee on it. (gallery here) Perhaps the most popular form of American expression in the last decade (Aside from Jesus Fish Vs. Darwin Fish), I've personally seen Calvin pee on at least 5 NASCAR drivers, prayed to 2 religions, and given me the finger twice. What does Bill Watterson think about this? Wait... no, I'm sorry, this is what he really thinks about licensing. I think if you've proliferated the rape of my favorite comic strip you should spend an eternity with Jeff Gordon peeing on your head.
posted by Stan Chin (66 comments total)

 
This shirt is called "cycle of violence"

Hilarious...

http://www.cakemusic.com/pinescented/images/pis1.jpg
posted by Sr_Cluba at 12:13 AM on January 17, 2003




Just a joke. And I had trouble with the plastic logo
posted by Stan Chin at 12:20 AM on January 17, 2003


Wow. I think that commentary by Watterson is the first time I've ever seen a picture of him.
posted by Inkslinger at 12:42 AM on January 17, 2003


I despise those freakin' stickers. I always wonder at people's willingness to use their cars for a mobile advertisement, but I really wonder at people's desire to advertise their stupidity so obviously. It's like putting "I'm a jackass" on your bumper and wearing it with pride.

I love this post. Thanks, Stan.
posted by readymade at 12:52 AM on January 17, 2003


There's also this page that has reviews of Peeing Calvin stickers:


posted by geekhorde at 1:03 AM on January 17, 2003


Sorry. Post here.
posted by geekhorde at 1:03 AM on January 17, 2003


on your bumper

That's so 10 years ago. Today, people tattoo it on their ass (and wear it with pride) in the hopes of meeting Johnny Knoxville.

Re: Watterson and licensing ... you go, boy. I'm thrilled to have never had to experience my beloved Calvin and Hobbes as the stars of a truly horrible videogame.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:06 AM on January 17, 2003


Me too, Inkslinger. I always enjoyed his occasional self-portaits* as caricature--now I see he was just being honest. Love the guy.

*Geocities pop-ups
posted by hippugeek at 1:07 AM on January 17, 2003


Great post, Stan. The Watterson piece is a breath of fresh air.

I still read Calvin & Hobbes twice a day: the IHT has the right to run it daily and of course ucomics does as well. The strips are not synchronized so it's a double dose.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:25 AM on January 17, 2003


Men that drive pickup trucks with Calvin pissing on the competition's logo are just, in yet another way, compensating for a small penis.
posted by bwg at 2:25 AM on January 17, 2003


I'm thrilled to have never had to experience my beloved Calvin and Hobbes as the stars of a truly horrible videogame.

It wouldn't have to be that bad. I find it quaint how rural towns still have Dennis the Menace stuff plastered all over the local Dairy Queen (these contests are new to me, though). I'm just glad he managed to get out while it was still enjoyable, and not let it be run into the ground like most of the newspaper strips.
posted by Gary at 2:31 AM on January 17, 2003


I have to admit that I do own one of the bootleg Calvin and Hobbes shirts with the duo dancing. Hey, it was a gift, but I still do wear it.

I still really respect what Watterson did though, and to be honest I wouldn't have bought the shirt myself because of that respect. I think that Patterson's stance is why I can still look through one of the treasuries and chuckle or occasionally surf on to the official site and smile. Most other cartoons (and just about anything else aimed at kids) have so saturated the market with toys, lunch boxes, clothes and direct to video productions that you become bored with them.

I wish that there was something legitimate to buy, but unfortunately I don't think that companies understand anything other than full bore market saturation anymore.
posted by substrate at 4:10 AM on January 17, 2003


the first time i saw calvin praying on the back of a bigass ford f-150 i thought it was calving peeing on the cross. even as a godless heathen, i thought that was pretty offensive.

then i caught up to the truck and saw calvin was praying and it made me sad since i knew somewhere watterson was cringing that his character was being twisted in yet another direction. the fact that people use a stolen character as a form of displaying their devotion to the lord. i'm pretty sure those people are going to hell.

calvin and hobbes remains to be one of my favorite comics. over the years i was hoping that watterson would come out of retirement.
posted by birdherder at 4:34 AM on January 17, 2003


I really enjoyed Calvin and Hobbes up until I finally got around to reading his 10th Anniversary book. In it, he came across to me as one of the most bitter, unhappy people I have ever read.

Before I read it, his cartoons were sly digs at many of the most outrageous notions our society has, mixed with good philosophy and hilarious antics.

Afterwards, they were the cartoon equivalent of the one uncle that is so utterly embittered that he will suck the life out of the room by walking in the door (that all families seem to have). I couldn't read them.

Even now, years later, the strips that used to be my favorites are like ashes in my mouth.
posted by Irontom at 4:39 AM on January 17, 2003


the fact that people use a stolen character as a form of displaying their devotion to the lord. i'm pretty sure those people are going to hell.

jebus.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:40 AM on January 17, 2003


masturbating, farting and peeing, all in under 12 hours!
posted by shoos at 5:00 AM on January 17, 2003


Spaceman Spiff Would Destroy Us All...
posted by golo at 5:15 AM on January 17, 2003


Last night I saw a commercial for Dodge Ram that showed a Calvin-like character sneaking up on the Ram logo and unzipping, only to be scared off by the floating Ram's head.

It was at that point that I really began to wonder about truck owners.
posted by Kellydamnit at 5:47 AM on January 17, 2003


We had a drug-testing firm locally that used Calvin peeing in a specimen jar as their logo, even placing a large sign on the major highway through the city. I never heard why, but they did change the logo after about six months.
posted by kickerofelves at 6:19 AM on January 17, 2003


Muslim Calvin pissing on the star of David. Utterly tasteless.
posted by wfrgms at 6:28 AM on January 17, 2003


I can't believe I was thinking about this very thing last night (after seeing yet another praying Calvin-only this one was a Calvinette complete with wig/girl hair.)

When I was overseas at a market there were tons of the bootleg Calvin shirts over there-only the knowlege of how Watterson felt about it kept me from buying one-wish he would break down and allow the dancing Calvin/Hobbes shirts to be licensed.
posted by konolia at 6:33 AM on January 17, 2003


It was at that point that I really began to wonder about truck owners.

Only at that point?

You really should come South more often. Ain't nothing like sitting at a red light in a Honda Accord and being able to see the OILPAN on the giant truck beside of you.

Here there are actually TWO choices for truck adornment: the Calvin ripoffs in every variation, and the "NO FEAR" with the witty "FEAR THIS" rebuttals.

And they say rednecks are not a thinking bunch.

My personal favorite (I'm not making this up) was the bumper sticker which read "God only wrote one bible, the King James Version".

It makes so little sense on so many levels that you really don't even know where to start.

See what I have to deal with all day? And you guys wonder why I'm sometimes pissy....
posted by Ynoxas at 6:51 AM on January 17, 2003


There was a big-ass truck where I used to live in northern Utah that had a customized Calvin sticker peeing on "ECO FAGS". Lovely.
posted by gottabefunky at 6:55 AM on January 17, 2003


The Praying Calvin bothers me more, I think, because I usually think the people who put them on their cars actually do know the strip (I know form conversations with redneck relatives, etc., they usually don’t know who that little pisson’ kid’s supposed to be). And someone who lives in my building has Calvin, in Uncle Sam getup, pissing on Osama bin Laden (similar to this one). Does one proud, or something.

Last night I saw a commercial for Dodge Ram that showed a Calvin-like character sneaking up on the Ram logo and unzipping, only to be scared off by the floating Ram’s head.

I was going to mention that one myself. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I guess they made him just different enough from Calvin (no striped shirt and he’s wearing a cap) that their lawyers said OK.
posted by sherman at 6:55 AM on January 17, 2003


As a non-driver maybe I'm not getting something here but...

How can you hate a brand of car? What's the deal with Ford vs. Chevy?
posted by JoanArkham at 6:56 AM on January 17, 2003


Can I get a Calvin pissing on a Calvin?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:09 AM on January 17, 2003


JoanArkham -

It's just one more example of the deep-seated human need to make sure there's an "us" and a "them".
posted by Irontom at 7:11 AM on January 17, 2003


JoanArkham - the same way you can love one football (baseball, hockey, whatever) team and hate another, even though you have absolutely no personal connection to either of them whatsoever. Because people are stupid.
posted by starvingartist at 7:20 AM on January 17, 2003


This is the first I've heard of a praying Calvin. Although the concept turns my stomach, I have to admire the (unintentional?) humor of it - since Calvin's name is very obviously taken from the founder of Calvinism.

And yes, it's been said above, but not nearly enough recently in this thread: Watterson's stubbornness about his characters' integrity in the face of commercial pressure is refreshing and encouraging. His discontinuation of the strip - arguably the best comic strip ever - in the face of corporate licensing imperatives is like a real-life Howard Roark (from The Fountainhead) only without the violence.
posted by soyjoy at 7:22 AM on January 17, 2003


has anyone ever seen the calvin praying stickers? of course you have. I've always wanted to make one of calvin praying to a cross that hobbes was crucifed on.

anyways, I see these things all the time but never for purchase. is there some "I'm a christian and drive an 8 cylinder automobile" specialty store somewhere that I don't know about?
posted by mcsweetie at 7:26 AM on January 17, 2003


That Watterson piece was magnificent, but I had a little trouble parsing a couple sentences -- word processing gaffes? Anybody else stop short at these two:

For that matter, the syndicate and I had nothing to trade anyway: I didn't care about my notions of artistic integrity.

and
I was presented with licensing capitalize on its success mounted from then on.
posted by luser at 7:47 AM on January 17, 2003


Paging J.D. Salinger...

(I'd forgotten how much I loved C&H)
posted by BentPenguin at 7:50 AM on January 17, 2003


Actually the "pissing Calvin" is out of character for Calvin. He was much more imaginitive.
posted by jeblis at 7:57 AM on January 17, 2003


Watterson's stubbornness about his characters' integrity in the face of commercial pressure is refreshing and encouraging.

Or, conversely, he's a clueless crank ill-equipped to function in society (not that there's anything wrong with that).
posted by rushmc at 8:00 AM on January 17, 2003


I don't care if Watterson is mad as a hatter, he still drew (wrote?) my favorite comic strip of all time.

Would he seem less nuts if he just opened up and grabbed all the dough he could, stood there grinning a pained smile during all the publicity events and went the Scott Adams route? (Not that there's anything wrong with Adams.)
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:01 AM on January 17, 2003


Gotta admit, I chuckled when it was applied to Microsoft.
posted by NortonDC at 8:02 AM on January 17, 2003


It was at that point that I really began to wonder about truck owners.

Only at that point?

You really should come South more often. Ain't nothing like sitting at a red light in a Honda Accord and being able to see the OILPAN on the giant truck beside of you.


Well, my dad drives a GMC and my husband used to have a Chevy S10, so I can't hold too much against people just for driving trucks. I live out in the country, though. Like "That tractor's going way too slow on the road, I'm going to cut through this ditch here to pass him. No worries, all three town cops are in traffic court tonight." country, so trucks are pretty much the norm.
posted by Kellydamnit at 8:14 AM on January 17, 2003


I'd like a Calvin/DMCA sticker.
posted by mecran01 at 8:31 AM on January 17, 2003


Watterson looks just like Calvin's dad with a mustache. I guess that's because he supposedly modeled him after his father. Hmm, genetic derivatives from real life to comics!

I dearly love Calvin and Hobbes. I can't claim to own every collection (although three of them were among the maybe ten books I took with me to college), but given that my best friend has all the ones I don't, I can say I've pretty much read them all. The last time I read one was the weekend before New Year's Eve, '02 (so like three weekends ago). I'm always struck by how hilarious, original and thought-provoking all the strips are. But this time, I was especially hit by how artfully the strips are drawn. Watterson has a unique gift for manipulating the space of the strip. His use of color, especially when he illustrates Calvin's imagination, is outstanding. Every blip of ink on the page is perfectly evocative (notice especially when he draws things like insects, how the seemingly random splotches of ink outside the thing itself contribute to a more palpable sense of it). When I read C&H, I feel as though I get a subconscious sense of the borders and size of all the elements of Calvin's world, and I can't say that for any other strip. I'd have to say that of all his illustrations, my favorites are the snowmen in existential despair.

Watterson has never struck me as bitter or clueless. His tone in the strips always seems to be a sort of distant amusement. I've always thought of Hobbes' voice as his creator's — constantly poking fun at the human world and its quirks.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:42 AM on January 17, 2003


speaking of vehicular adornment, has anyone actually seen one of these on the road?
posted by goddam at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2003



teddy pissing on a teddy for you webcomic fellas
posted by Peter H at 9:21 AM on January 17, 2003


"Afterwards, they were the cartoon equivalent of the one uncle that is so utterly embittered that he will suck the life out of the room by walking in the door (that all families seem to have). I couldn't read them.

Even now, years later, the strips that used to be my favorites are like ashes in my mouth."

Diz-ang Iron-T, I don't remember feeling that way. Was it specific things that we're said, or just a general anti-humanist, nihilistic, misanthropic world-view you began to sense in Watterson's under-lying message?
posted by dgaicun at 9:40 AM on January 17, 2003


goddam: that's horrible (not as bad as neuticles, discussed here, but close). But also useful: I now know to give anyone with trucksticles or a peeing Calvin a wide(r) berth than I would have anyway.
posted by biscotti at 9:45 AM on January 17, 2003


I have a tattoo of Calvin on my right bicep. I was 18 years old at the time and it was cool for a while; it was way before all the Calvin piss-stickers started appearing on trucks. My best friend and I got the same tattoo (groan)...

I look at that faded tattoo sometimes and think, "sure, it's stupid. But at least he's not peeing on anything."
posted by magnificentsven at 9:53 AM on January 17, 2003


What's confused me most about the stickers is when I see Calvin pissing on a Chevy logo....stuck on a Chevy. This has given rise to debates over whether this represents Calvin marking his territory or a deep-seeded self loathing on the part of the owner. I am willing to posit that it in fact represents the truck owner's startling lack of mental acuity.

I think it's time for the stickers to branch out.

I want to see Jeffy crapping on a Land Rover, Broom Hilda throwing up on a Cadillac, Luann blowing her nose on a Ford. Maybe it's just a crazy dream.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:24 AM on January 17, 2003


Another high quality post from Stan Chin - I'd seen these stickers for years, treating them like warning signs that the driver was a moron. I'd always wondered if Watterson was behind them in any way, good to know. He may be a bitter recluse, but at least he's not a bitter reclusive sell out. Thanks, Stan, great post.
posted by jonson at 10:30 AM on January 17, 2003


"masturbating, farting and peeing, all in under 12 hours!"

So you're the one who's always watching my webcam.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:46 AM on January 17, 2003


McSweetie, I nearly spewed scotch over my keyboard with that one.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2003


is there some "I'm a christian and drive an 8 cylinder automobile" specialty store somewhere that I don't know about?

yes, it's called any locally owned texaco or BP off highway I 35, notably rural Illinois or northern Texas. look for the high profile decal rack next to the "fuck me i'm finished" koozies and the maxim magazines
posted by Peter H at 11:22 AM on January 17, 2003


Me? I'm waiting for the movie.

Please, dear God, let it be true . . .
posted by cinderful at 11:27 AM on January 17, 2003


I find it unlikely that someone so concerned at maintaining the innocence and world of C&H as Watterson is - not the world he created, but the world as the viewers see it - would allow voices upon his characters. I'm sure we all have our own Calvin voice and Hobbes voice (Mine sounds like Sean Connery) in our heads, and I think Watterson would respect that.

Although, what has he been doing in all his spare time anyway? Surely he can't bike and paint all day. It's a wet dream, sure, but what a remarkable gift it would be. Also since Watterson is still (reportedly) without children, I wonder who would have the rights to C&H after he goes to the playground in the sky. I wonder how many strips and things of C&H we have never seen before.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:48 AM on January 17, 2003


While I was in Florida for Christmas, I saw a giant V-12 truck of some kind or other with a sticker of Calvin peeing on "City Boys" -- parked in the shopping center right in front of Best Buy in Sarasota.

Still doesn't quite compare to the red pickup with huge custom spoiler I saw here a few months ago -- on the tailgate was an airbrushed painting of Jesus waving at a red pickup with huge custom spoiler.
posted by Foosnark at 12:11 PM on January 17, 2003


yes, it's called any locally owned texaco or BP off highway I 35, notably rural Illinois or northern Texas. look for the high profile decal rack next to the "fuck me i'm finished" koozies and the maxim magazines

or the mesh hats that say, "I've got one thing money can't buy... POVERTY!"
posted by mcsweetie at 12:47 PM on January 17, 2003


getting back to the whole 'he never merchandized his stuff' discussion. i agree that's its noble and incredible that he resisted the devil's apple there in regard to exploiting his creation - but do you think such a stance where an artist resists millions of dollars for their work is likely unless he has already made (and continues to make) millions off book sales? if he was a starving loser scribbling in a sketchbook and the gods of merchandising showed up do you think he'd have taken just as high a position? he already admits to selling out to a syndicate to get in newspapers. this is all just for discussion sake, natch.
posted by Peter H at 12:50 PM on January 17, 2003


ha, nice mcsweety ...i've always liked the WWJD bandanas and wriststraps always appearing next to the beef jerky rack. IT IS A ONE STOP SHOPPING FIESTA. "honey, can you pick me up some jerky, a poverty t-shirt, some boobie mags, orange juice, four koozies and a 'you dont like america fuckn leave it' bumper sticker on your way out for lil' tyler's first calvin praying sticker?"
posted by Peter H at 12:55 PM on January 17, 2003


Gotta admit, I chuckled when it was applied to Microsoft.

Heh, same here. Haven't seen that one before.

Since I love C&H, yet hate those damned pissing stickers, I try to get a similar "piss on M$" message across with one of these.

p.s. Great link Stan. Very interesting to read what Watterson has to say (and to actually see the guy!)
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:15 PM on January 17, 2003


Oh geez. I just realized that my Hotline user icon is that of a sinister-looking Calvin.

Does that make me a bad person?
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:22 PM on January 17, 2003


I always wanted a Hobbes toy, is that so very wrong?
posted by elphTeq at 2:56 PM on January 17, 2003


This is the first I've heard of a praying Calvin.

You really should come South more often.


As a non-driver maybe I'm not getting something here but...
How can you hate a brand of car? What's the deal with Ford vs. Chevy?


You really should come South more often.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:00 PM on January 17, 2003


I wanted to print myself a decal with a normal Calvin saying "No thanks, I went before we left."
posted by kevspace at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2003


The first one of these that ever registered with me was so idiotic I almost barfed on the spot.

A red pickup truck (this is Silicon Valley), a man and a small child are inside. This Calvin is pissing on the words "My Ex-Wife." With her child inside the car. Oh yeah.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:13 PM on January 17, 2003


but do you think such a stance where an artist resists millions of dollars for their work is likely unless he has already made (and continues to make) millions off book sales?

More power to him. He's making the money, not feeding the profits of General Mills for real-life Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, or a subsidiary record label for AOL Time Warner called G.R.O.S.S. that's got the latest mediocre pap band singing misogynystic songs with the words Calvin and/or Hobbes in them, or ... you get the idea. He worked hard, got rewarded, and knows when it's time to push back from the table for a burp and scratch. Yay him.

Though I too kinda woulda sorta liked a Hobbes plushie
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:06 PM on January 17, 2003


I used to fantasize about having superpowers...the power to instantly smash every window in the world with a Calvin-peeing sticker.

Then I realized it would be more satisfying to have more run-of-the mill superpowers and fly around smashing them each individually.

And then I saw the Calvin praying ones and got really mad...
posted by straight at 7:40 PM on January 17, 2003


dgaicun -

I picked up the book again this morning to check my impressions. Here are a couple of examples from the last 25 pages, after which I had to put it down again:

p183: "Most ignorance is willful"

p185: "As somebody said, we all want to go to heaven, but nobody wants to do what it takes to get there."

p186: "If Calvin thinks school is like this, wait till he gets his first job"

p204: "Newspaper editors sometimes seem to resent that they have to run comics. Well, sometimes, I resent being in their newspapers."

I loved this strip, and he gives me the impression that he wound up hating it. He has a pretty dim view of people, and it just grates on me. I wish that I had never read his commentaries in this book, because then I'd still love his work.
posted by Irontom at 3:58 AM on January 18, 2003


What's confused me most about the stickers is when I see Calvin pissing on a Chevy logo....stuck on a Chevy

I used to have a Chevy S-10. It was such a piece of crap that I seriously considered getting such a sticker.

Regarding the Chevy vs. Ford vs. whatever thing...don't see why preferring one brand of vehicle over another is any different than preferring one sports team over another. Back in the old days, there was a lot more brand loyalty - and the cars were actually different, not squeezed out of the same megabusiness tube that they are now.
posted by groundhog at 6:29 AM on January 18, 2003


A red pickup truck (this is Silicon Valley), a man and a small child are inside. This Calvin is pissing on the words "My Ex-Wife."

Maybe they were into watersports!
posted by rushmc at 2:27 PM on January 18, 2003


« Older Streets of London photoguide....  |  What's that flag? Flags of th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments