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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Calvin's general obliviousness to the world around him, intricate, vivid fantasies and general inability to comprehend the motivations of other people are all consistent with descriptions of autism.
  • Designated Villains: Calvin's parents, Miss Wormwood, Susie, Rosalyn and Moe all fall into this trope at different times, since they only react to Calvin's own shenanigans (except for Moe, who will torment Calvin whether provoked or not). Even Bill Watterson himself feels sympathy for Miss Wormwood, whose staid, boring teaching style is just about the least effective way to get through to a kid like Calvin. As for Moe, Watterson writes the following in the Tenth Anniversary Book: "Moe is every jerk I've ever known. He's big, dumb, ugly, and cruel. I remember school being full of idiots like Moe. I think they spawn on damp locker room floors."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Watterson had no plans for Rosalyn beyond her initial story arc, but quickly realized the way she could completely intimidate Calvin, unlike any other character, offered a rich vein of material.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Jerkass Woobie: Let's not sugar coat it. Calvin is lazy, self-centered and a mild example of Small Name, Big Ego...but gets beaten up constantly by Moe, Susie and Hobbes, a Butt Monkey overall and is ignored by his parents. It's made very clear that Hobbes is his only friend. It's really easy to see why he's prone to Jerkass moments. It makes the tender moments he and Hobbes have together all the more touching.
  • Memetic Mutation: THIS THREAD IS NOW INCREDIBLY AWESOME
  • Nightmare Fuel: This strip, where some bubble gum pops in Calvin's face and he remarks, "Good heavens, I think I blew my face inside out!" It actually looks like what he just said, is EXTREMELY detailed, and is a lot creepier looking than described.
    • Not to mention the "Nauseous Nocturne"?
  • Older Than They Think: Watterson revealed in the 10th anniversary book that Spaceman Spiff is actually the first comic he tried to sell to newspapers, which had its origins in a very silly comic he wrote for a college German class. He quickly realized that Calvin's fantasies gave him the opportunity to actually use some of his ideas for Spiff, and occasionally give himself a break from writing Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Tear Jerker: The death of Watterson's cat, Sprite, and the strip he did just afterwards.
  • Toy Ship: Calvin and Susie. It's not really central to the ship -- primarily because Calvin's still at the 'girls are icky' stage of childhood -- but it is hinted at. A popular bit of Fanon is that Calvin and Susie end up getting married when they're older and having kids of their own.
  • The Woobie: Despite being capable of great Jerkassery, Calvin can come across as quite sympathetic when he's getting picked on by Moe or when things are going badly for him. Susie tried to make friends with Calvin before she realized the futility of it, and was genuinely hurt by Calvin cruelly rejecting her time and again. Finally, the entire family were Woobies after their house was burglarized.
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