Calvin and Hobbes — Off the Ritalin and High on Life!

A number of readers found yesterday’s “Calvin and Hobbes on Ritalin” comic depressing. Luckily, I have a follow-up. Hope this makes you feel better…

Calvin and Hobbes — Off the Ritalin and high on life

67 replies on “Calvin and Hobbes — Off the Ritalin and High on Life!”

“still sad: it’s just not convincing 🙁
how could hobbes fight back when he’s gone?”

Love is greater then everything else 🙂

i saw the depressing one yesterday (you know the one where hobbes ‘dies’) and, though it may sound silly it shocked me. all day it really depressed me, i felt like a part of my childhood had died! this has made me feel so much better, thank you so much! thankyou thankyou thankyou!

Consider yourself redeemed. You almost had a very big, very angry mob on your hands. Close shave, to be sure.

Much more like it. I wouldn’t want to think of a Calvin & Hobbes strip where Hobbes was “just a toy”….

when the first came out, i was planning to the author of the calvin and ritalin strip up, but this makes up for it

After looking at yesterday’s…
‘Dear lore! That’s suicidally depressing, ‘Gloomy Sunday’ has nothing on this. Is there nothing sacred – killing a child’s imagination! I need some tissues.’

After looking at today’s…
‘Oh, thank goodness! The chemical kosh is a brutal thing. I still need some tissues but now they’re tears of joy.’

The first strip was genius. It’s exactly the kind of strip Watterson might have made himself were he to deal with the looming specter of the fact that so many kids and adults today are needlessly drugged.

This second strip is a cop out. If Watterson had done it, it would only come after a couple of weeks of dealing with Calvin’s mind locked down and his parents struggling to come to terms with what they had done and perhaps take him off the pills. (Despite the fact that drugged children are often easier to deal with.)

Mood altering pharmaceuticals are not entirely evil; some people literally cannot cope unless they have their brain chemistry balanced with man-made drugs. But that number of people is much smaller than the number of people who use actually are prescribed anti-depressants.

Cross-decked to

Damn you drugs, burning up my childhood, but I needed them. I was too wild a child without some assistance.

Aww, Ritalin did not work… Poor Calvin better stick to his plushy tiger, because that is the only friend he will ever have. Sooner or later he will find the bazooka and flamethrower he so deeply wants and start shooting at those “fat alien teachers”, get diabetes from all the sugar he eats, become a problem for his future wife rather than his mom, and hey… He beats the heck out of that “dinosaur spy”. He will will find out there are other ways to “molest” his female neighbor. And guess what! With no impulse control, he will indeed do it. Education? Forget about education, the poor kid cannot be present anywhere! Either a lonely young man with no life to call his own, or a badass mofo mostly spending time in jail with his boyfriend big black Jim.

Yeah guys, the truth is too sad, so lets paint everything in a better color no really there is war in Iraq as we speak, but let us do what we usually do, close our eyes and pretend like American soldiers leave for Iraq to be best friends with the plushy tigers there.


This strip is merely a cop out, a way for the drawer to say: Hey, I had one idea, but if you do not like it, I will sure use a couple of days to show you that I got no respect for my ideas whatsoever.

No really, I am crying too.

Adhd medicine is not about handling your childen, sadly, some parents are lazy bastards and stick pills down their kids throats to the point where they become zombies, this is indeed true. Yet it is about helping the kids handling THEMSELVES.

What consequences does real life Calvin suffer when he cannot be at the moment at any time? Will this issue resolve on its own? Does he have a toy tiger as a friend because he wants to? Its not like anyone wants to be his friend is it? Is it possible that Calvin may WANT to be able to sit quiet at times and may deep inside desire to behave decently? What about his future? The day will come where he realizes that his only friend is a plush, that he needs something else, that he wishes he could get decent grades, that he just wants to sit still and think about these issues… But nah… his body has about 500 cups of coffees worth at all time, his parents never did the effort to at least try out a solution in time because “ritalin is EVEL!”.

Cop out.

Ps: what did Hobbes encourage Calvin to “snap out” from? From the present moment? So in other words, some toy plush sent Calvin back to the world of fantasy where there is no present at all?

Well, the first dose is a little weak.. maximum effect is expected in 6 weeks or so. Poor Calvin, he will get good grades, some real friends, improve relationships with his family, eat healthier, get a ladyfriend and much more, yet… still respect the toy that was his friend for so many years, yes ladies and gentlemen, sooner or later he would have “snapped” out of it and discovered the truth, then again, he may never have had, and spent the rest of his life in a psychiatric institute speaking with a plush toy and running in circles in order to fight the inner discomfort.

Cop out.

you have no idea what your doing with calvin and hobbes. ive seen some jacked up stuff in my life like people getting hit in the nuts, dudes getting their heads sawed off, and even 2 girls 1 cup. but nothing has offended me as much as your depiction of calvin and hobbes with ritalin. i realize you were being creative and in a way it was but you should never mess with peoples childhood. i was very upset with this even though you made a part 2 and “fixed” it. However, i feel like Bill Waterson would be highly offended by this play on his masterpiece. please, for the sake of mine and everyone elses childhoods and imaginations, leave Calvin and Hobbes to Bill.

Talk about an over-reaction. You are venting in a way that would be appropriate if somehow Calvin and Hobbes were being officially republished under a different author. This was a private creative effort by someone presumably out to make a point about the effect that medicating children might have on the imagination. As an adult, you should be intellectually mature enough to distinguish between the actual Calvin and Hobbes canon and this and various others spoofs, satires, etc. involving these characters.

I think the original strip is a lot more powerful without the happy-ending. Making people sad is not necessarily a bad thing, being thoughtful about life often means being melancholy. In fact the parallel phenomenon to Calvin’s pill is the massive over-prescription of anti-depressants, with often unclear efficacy and unknown effects.

The fact that this cop out was made is depressing. Although it’s true that many C&H strips were aimed at tickling the funny bone, Watterson was never afraid to explore areas that weren’t all laughs, and that was one of the things that made C&H great. After all, Calvin’s world more often than not involved Calvin being forced to “build character” against his own will, and if the tragedy of life is indeed what dies in a man while he lives, then the entire setup of C&H surely demands that it be a (brilliant) tragicomedy.

Some of the best strips were brutal but beautiful: the KaZAM from his room window, the box of new crayons, the racoon, the break in, the Calvin Day parade, “The world isn’t so bad if you can just get out in it”, “Tomorrow’s another big day”, “We don’t read about dinosaurs” (and that’s just all I can recall off the top of my head).

When I saw the first strip, I actually thought I recalled the ending strip wrongly because it is without a doubt what Watterson would have done (probably in the way described in Zanibarium’s excellent post above). C&H was always full of social criticism, and the needless drugging up of kids is certainly something to be commented upon (whilst keeping in mind that there are those with ADHD who do genuinely need it).

This second strip, though seemingly inevitable, reeks of insincerity. It is utterly inconsistent with the principles present implicitly in C&H (even though Calvin “pragmatically turns his whims into principles”), and frankly I feel worse off for having seen it.

But since we all apparently demand happy endings, I’ll return to the original point: kudos for the first strip, it left me stunned and with a tear or two to shed, and really was sheer genius worthy of a place in the annals of C&H history.

While mood altering drugs aren’t evil (My friend needs some of them, b/c if she doesn’t take her pill in the morning she’s VERY hyper, and can’t stand still for mor then than 5 minutes. Also, she can’t really pay attention to anyone, so if she’s acting really crazy, we usually ask her if she took her pill. If she didn’t she just smiles a giant smile and giggles.) I think some people need then, like my previously noted friend. But sometimes it’s just purely a childs imagination, which I believe should flourish, because if a child doesn’ have an imagination, they can’t be sucsessfull in real life. (FYI: My friend is NOT a mindles robot like Calvin was after taking her pill, she’s just a liottle toned down.

jeez Gerson ur taking this too seriously! Its just about a little kid who is basically living the same year over and over with his favorite toy as his sidekick in his adventures. its not like hes ever actually gonna grow up.
I do have to say tho that the follow up is kinda lame :L

You do know that you can’t just “snap out of” that stuff right?
that is some of the craziest stuff. (i have to take it all the time)
You are ALWAYS hungry on it to :[

and BTW below this is a test lol. :p

It’s great that there’s something that helps some students to focus when they need to. And it’s also important to retain your sense of imagination, even as you grow up. A time for work, a time for play. Now, go play!

I may or may not have cried…maybe.

I’m glad someone made a follow up of that other comic, even if it was fake. Although I agree with the message being conveyed…please leave my childhood out of it. =(

Wow. Gerson… you honestly made me mad. I’ve got much more than ADHD. I have ADHD, Manic/Depressive, Aspergers, and schizophrenia. And I am fully capable of handling all of these without meds.
“Poor Calvin better stick to his plushy tiger, because that is the only friend he will ever have”
Just so you know, though I had imaginary friends at home as a child, I was perfectly capable of having friends. Maybe he’s like I was, and needs Hobbes because he feels neglected by his parents? How do you know?
I think it’s sad. You think people like me would be problems for people because I have problems? No. You’re a problem for people like me, because you think what I have makes me a problem. I’ve been a lab rat for medications my whole life because unfortunately for me, my mother is like you. I’ve been on ritalin, seroquil, ambien, trileptol, trazedone, and many, many more drugs, each making things worse, each with side effects both emotional and physical.
Poor Calvin, he will get good grades, some real friends, improve relationships with his family, eat healthier, get a ladyfriend and much more,
This made me laugh. Off medications, I was perfectly capable of passing school. I was the top of my class in math and history. I have many, many friends. My ADHD does, in no way, cause me to eat differently. I’ve had a few girlfriends, too. I have one right now, believe it or not. 🙂
Haha. You know what? You’re absolutely right. If someone fails in school, it’s not at all the parents fault for not motivating them, it’s not because they don’t pay attention, it’s not because they literally just don’t care, it’s because they have ‘problems.’ If someone has no friends, it’s not because they’re simply shy, or don’t want to talk to people, or just like to be alone.. it’s because they have ‘problems.’ If someone’s overweight, it’s not because they have a poor diet, or possibly an actual physical problem that causes it, or because their parents let them eat too much junk food as a child.. it’s because they
have ‘problems.’ And if someone doesn’t have a partner, it’s not because they’re shy, want to be alone, treat people terribly, or just don’t really care… it’s because they have ‘problems.’
In case you didn’t notice.. -points at sarcasm-
anyways.. what actually helps me with my mental disorders is support. Not people who sign me off as a ‘problem’, or people who can’t be bothered to talk to me, and instead send me to a therapist… or a therapist that only cares as long as they get their 150 dollars when I leave… but someone who really cares, someone who really listens, and someone who I can actually trust.

I feel like people are forgetting one important thing. Calvin is six years old! He should be able to have a childhood, and the people saying that every part of his life will continue as it has and not change at all should think for a minute about who Calvin is. He is a smart (unmotivated) young man with an inquisitive mind and an imaginary friend. If not having a perfect life laid out before you at six is wrong I don’t want to be right.

He will grow up and grow out of Hobbes but let him do it in his time and when he needs is ready.

And yes, if Hobbes is around when he is into his teens then we have a problem.

Calvin snapped out of a life where he could have finished his homework, grown to become someone decent.

Hold your Tiger tightly Calvin, because fake as he is, he is all you have left, and all you will ever have….

Sniff, I love happy endings… a great example on why you should not allow your kids to try ritalin, I mean, it would actually make them boring people that cannot entertain others with their comic strips again!

Life is now a comic Calvin, reality is something mom and dad where to proud to give you a chance to face.

@JoshM.. being similarly afflicted, I couldn’t agree more on the value of genuine support and understanding.

@Gerson.. and have you no answer to what JoshM posted? Given your neuroses in plaguing this discussion with your aggressive advocacy of the indiscriminate use of drugs, you might need more than Ritalin. Might I suggest a serving of anti-psychotics along with your daily dosage?

Oh and your last sentence was unintelligible . Or was that the Ritalin wearing off?

@JoshM you are right about it not being the drugs that keep kids healthy. thank you.
@anderj dang right he’s just a kid! kids should be ENCOURAGED to run around outside and play! i have a 7 year old little sister and it would just break my heart to see her repressed on ritalin.
@Gerson Stop ranting about the marvels of ritalin and how the made you happier. kids should be free to be themselves. if I had been in public school i would wind up on ritalin, miserable and depressed.

imagine all of Calvin’s alter egos ( Spaceman Spiff, Tracer Bullet, and Stupendous Man) all were the ones who showed up and yelled at him “Snap out of it!”

To everyone above:
You are all making one big mistake as to the reality of this strip. THIS IS NOT A GRAADUATE THESIS ON CHILD PSYCHOLOGY!!! This is a COMIC STRIP in which all characters can be subdued to different aspects of reality for either purely symbolic purposes or just for entertainment. This strip is not one that you could assault the metaphysical aspects of, it is an imaginary creation (I don’t see anyone critiquing “Garfield”) full of symbolism. Yes, there are imaginary moments, such as calvin’s alter egoes; they exist purely for entertainment, and their imagination is never questioned. THOSE are watterson’s direct allusions to basic childhood. @Gerson-My good sir, we all enjoy how much you care about Calvin’s future, but in case you haven’t noticed, Calvin’s age NEVER changes. Though several years are shown to have gone by in the strip, Calvin is still six, and still in the same class with Susie Derkins (mind you, Calvin is failing, while Susie is excelling in their class). This just again showing that Calvin and Hobbes series has its own, multilayered perspective of reality, more abstract than not.
And another thing: following up the conepts listed above, Hobbes IS NOT A FIGURE OF CALVIN’S IMAGINATION!!! Bill Watterson himself says so! Neither is Hobbes a magical doll that comes to life when Calvin’s around. Hobbes’ reality is purely symbolic, unlike most oher characters, an ambassador of a different aspect of reality and introspective views that Calvin, for one, is part of. Perhaps there are other characters, unintroduced, that would see Hobbes as his alter, sentient, self, who share Calvin’s views (to an extent, of course). Besides there is an equal amount of evidence both for and against Hobbes’ reality, with Bill Watterson juxtaposing the two (as a sidenote here, Watterson couldn’t have drawn this strip, because it would mean the ultimate fall of his gigantic attempts to portray calvin as two figures instead of reducing it to one; so Hobbes couldn’t have dissapeared as a result of Calvin’s failure of imagination. unless of course Bill decided to make his greatest symbol commit suicide, which is ludicrous). This this strip is paradoxical to the main gag of the series. The proper way to end this would have been ending with the first one, and having Calvin say something like “OK old buddy, start packing the snowballs, and I’ll be out in half an hour. Prepare to eat Snow!” (He’s in the first grade so his report couldn’t be longer than about one hour- the first half passed before this strip). And by the by if Watterson did want to get rid of Hobbes, thus sealing off the magical world from Calvin, since hobbes was the only one with enough imagination to play with him in it, there were three ways to do it without pushing the self-destruct button on his own ideas: 1) Have Hobbes “die of old age” somewhere in Calvin’s early teenage years (Bill Waterson is the only person who could have made a strip of Calvin’s later years, but seeing as how it would violate the ageless world of C&H, I can see why he didn’t chose this) 2) Having Hobbes moving away, and saying good bye to Calvin for Calvin’s own good because of Calvin’s parents thinking Calvin is a Schitzophrenic. This solution though might have angered some readers, and might have led to a situation as was with A.C. Doyle when he “killed” Sherlock Holmes. Besides, Calvin’s personality might have caused him to start an argument with his parents as to Hobbes’ reality, with proof of both aspects going to war, and would have destroyed Watterson’s juxtoposition of Hobbes. Of course Bill might have portrayed only Hobbes’ departure, but that would lead to paradoxes with Calvin’s nature and leave more loose ends than any other ending. 3)Not adress Hobbes’disappearance in the first place. This was no doubt, the best decision, which watterson, needless to say took. Although we were all expectin g a sealing off of the magical world as with the return of Odysseus and the destruction of Phaiacian hospitality in Homer’s ODYSSEY, but alas, in C&H, this course of action would be suicide.

People say that Calvin and Hobbes was a strip for kids… But really.. was it? Sure, kids can read it and relate their imagianation to Calvin’s (or maybe not). But remember the strip when Calvin is explaining how they’ll play war, and he tells Hobbes that whoever gets hit dies and loses. They both get hit, and Calvin says “What a dumb game”. Would a 8 year old kid get that? I’ll let you fill that in.
Now, moving onto the above strip..: I didn’t exactly like thebefore strip where Calvin was on ritailin. Not a happy thing, as even though Calvin and Hobbes had a message, it was warming, funny, and happy. Hobbes wasn’t just Calvin’s plush toy, but I guess he was sort of.. Calvin’s other half. Yes, it is a weird thing, but hey, who really knows how a kid’s imagianation works? As Hobbes being an essential part of Calvin and **Hobbes**, he really shouldn’t dissapear. Maybe the author had a message of his own? Maybe multiple? Like people up there have mentioned before, maybe he’s talking about the over use of drugs, maybe he’s saying something different, maybe he actually wanted a few reactions, or maybe he was thinking “Hey, what if…”.
The second one here was maybe just something to try to fix amends with the multiple angry Calvin and Hobbes fans. Maybe he even felt bad about it.
Like one guy said, Calvin doesn’t age. He repeats the same year over and over. Maybe Calvin was even the sadstory of the weird kid at school, and the strips are just one way of saying Hey, the kids weird, you love him, but what about that weird kid in your class back in grade one?
When you were in grade one, (or even higher), did you enjoy school all the time? Did you always eat healthy? Did you like mom’s weird looking oatmeal? Did you never ever play with your imagianation?

That last comic was the most depressing thing I had ever seen. This follow-up is the most uplifting thing I’ve ever seen.

I could cry.

Cop out? No. Pointed transition? Yes. It’d be much less powerful if the author had spent several days doing more strips on parental guilt, interaction, etc. You wouldn’t have the juxtaposition of philosophies and effects of drugs on kids that the stark contrast between the two strips has.

A cop out would be much less useful. A random “Happy!Hobbes and Happy!Calvin” strip would be a cop out. This is not a cop out.

Also, if anyone is going to respond to this, know that I don’t follow this blog. Heh.

Dude really, the first comic is good the second is terrible.

One had meaning and made a statment, the other is just a simple feel good piece of junk maybe add some hearts around the border

@facepalm- Dear sir,
I agree with you as to the sharp distinctions between the stips in terms of climax differential, but the poor juxtoposition of philosophies was made from the first strip. THAT strip was a violation of C&H philosophies (see my blog above). These disproportionate strips may possess a prodigious dimension of depth, but they should not have been manifested with particularly C&H.

We, as fans of the series, prefer not to see poor imitations of the brilliant comic we enjoy as relaxation literature. Especially one thats displayed instantly when C&H are looked up on Google.

gah. huge flashback/epiphany. The last time I read calvin and hobbes was in the 5th grade. Im 18 now, and I had a huge flashback on my child hood from 1st grade and up. I used to be just like calvin. In fact, I personally think I mightve had a few screws loose and unbelievably imagintive. Now I smoke, drink, drugs… I miss have innocence. Im going to go cry my eyes out now thank you very much for listening…

Oh and btw… I beg of you to keep on making more. Yours are great, it would be incredible to see the series go on.

This second one would have been much better if there was internal debate within Calvin, showing Hobbes alive and all his alter egos. Hobbes should ask Calvin what he chooses. Only after deep thought should Calvin reinstate Hobbes’s reality. That or the parents have to go through a long guilt trip before taking Calvin off the medication.

Truth is… you can’t please everybody. This guy used Watterson’s creation to make a point, I doubt he’s trying to take over the strip. No one knows what Watterson would have done, not even himself, until he’s done it. Relax. He may not have every thought about putting Calvin on anything. I believe he simply wanted to convey his idea of what a child with an active imagination could be capable of and the joy of having an imagination.

I believe the guy that did this strip made a point in showing how this issue needs to be looked at by using an image that we all grew to love and how sad it would be to lose just that part of him. Face it, Hobbes will one day take a back seat in Calvin’s life as he grows up. Throwing snowballs at girls will turn to kisses. No one ever said that Calvin was an hyperactive child with A.D.D. and in need of any medication. The fact that he’s a beloved comic-strip character, his childhood will last forever and so will the joy of his imagination (Hobbes).

The first strip was rather saddening… it would have been befitting of a final work… albeit a dark one. The second did come off as bit of a “cop-out”, but I don’t think he intended to make everyone that read the first to get so bent out of shape either.


@ Ziyou: I don´t think so. I think everything that happens within Calvin don´t have to be said, or better is said in this few panels in a perfect way… But that´s just my opinion.

Depressing ?? not to me ! If anything it shows a happy ending.Everyone should have a hobbes.
Biggest Calvin and Hobbes Fan

Beautiful…just amazing I am a huge calvin and Hobbes fan and this is amazing even though it is fake and it goes to show that the friendship between Calvin and Hobbes is unbreakable even by drugs.

I think that it should have been more like Calvin got done with his work, looked at Hobbes and said, all done! Let’s go! Showing that when you have true imagination, medicine only makes you focus, not forget. 🙂

What next? Are we going to see Hobbes slowly lose Calvin to “reality” as he fades into the nightmare world of personality destruction through drug dosing to cure the imaginary disease of ADD/ADHD/whatever, otherwise known as being a little boy with a fantastic imagination and a lot of energy? Will we be treated to zombie Calvin finally snapping and going to school one day to murder as many of his classmates as he can, maybe after butchering his parents because they put him on these monstrous medications?

I’m at a loss to understand what would motivate anyone to make a cartoon out of child abuse, which is what the administration of Ritalin and the other psychotropic drugs to children certainly is. This is not funny, it’s sick.

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