Bonner Online-Bibliographie zur Comicforschung
Bonn Online Bibliography of Comics Research

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Mahony, Diana L. "The psychological appeal of Bill Watterson's Calvin." In: Humor. International Journal of Humor Research 13 (2000), S. 19–40. 
Resource type: Journal Article
Languages: englisch
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1515/humr.2000.13.1.7
BibTeX citation key: Mahony2000
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Calvin and Hobbes", Psychologie, USA, Watterson. Bill, Zeitungsstrip
Creators: Mahony
Collection: Humor. International Journal of Humor Research
During its ten-year run (1985–1995) Calvin and Hobbes became the third most widely syndicated comic strip in the United States. Although the strip combines art, humor, psychology, philosophy, theology, and social commentary, this paper discusses only selected aspects of the humor and the psychological appeal of Calvin's personality. Calvin is a narcissistic and demanding brat who has never been socialized normally. He is described first in terms of his pattern of motives and then from the perspective of Freud's three-part personality structure. Surprisingly, Calvin's out-of-balance personality is appealing and enviable. Because he has no need for human association or approval, Calvin is his own man; he feels no pressure to conform, comments on the worid honestly, and has retained the originality, creativity, and playfulness usually destroyed by public schooling. Primary sources of humor are exaggeration, aggression, superiority, and incongruity. Examples include Calvin's physical appearance, extreme narcissism, and his contrasting naïvete and precociousness. Calvin's tiger, Hobbes, is an ideal best friend who satisfies all of Calvin's social needs and provides unconditional acceptance. Hobbes is often the straight man for Calvin's humor and the sounding board for his philosophical musings.
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