÷ ÷ ÷
My Christmas shopping tends to begin and end in a fevered rush on December 24, but chances are it will include Bill Watterson's The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, which to my mind is among the most remarkable American creative achievements ever put between two covers (or six, in this case — it's a three-volume set).
For the uninitiated, Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip detailing the antics of an unruly six-year-old and his misanthropic stuffed tiger. The boy, whose vocabulary is packed with more 10-dollar words than a GRE flashcard set, is named after John Calvin, the Reformation-era theologian who preached the doctrine of predestination. The tiger, who comes to life only in the boy's presence, is named after the 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes (the life-is-poor-nasty-brutish-and-short guy). Not your typical funny pages fare.