Let's Go Exploring
A fascinating investigation of a beloved comic stripThe internet is home to impassioned debates on just about everything, but there’s one thing that’s universally beloved: Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Until its retirement in 1995 after a ten-year run, the strip won numerous awards and drew tens of millions of readers from all around the world. The story of a boy and his best friend — a stuffed tiger — was a pitch-perfect distillation of the joys and horrors of childhood, and a celebration of imagination in its purest form. In Let’s Go Exploring, Michael Hingston mines the strip and traces the story of Calvin’s reclusive creator to demonstrate how imagination — its possibilities, its opportunities, and ultimately its limitations — helped make Calvin and Hobbes North America’s last great comic strip.

Let's Go Exploring Details

TitleLet's Go Exploring
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 1st, 2018
PublisherECW Press
ISBN-139781770414136
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Art, Sequential Art, Comics, Humor

Let's Go Exploring Review

  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    At one time, before the advent of that internet thing, we all read newspapers, pretty much everyday. And, on Sundays, we devoted hours to going through all the Sunday sections, most particularly, everyone's favorite section - the Sunday funnies. Nowadays newspapers barely exist and their buildings such as the LA Times building are vacant and deserted and lifeless. I haven't picked up a paper in ages except the complimentary hotel copies. But the Sunday funnies ruled and in the eighties - besides At one time, before the advent of that internet thing, we all read newspapers, pretty much everyday. And, on Sundays, we devoted hours to going through all the Sunday sections, most particularly, everyone's favorite section - the Sunday funnies. Nowadays newspapers barely exist and their buildings such as the LA Times building are vacant and deserted and lifeless. I haven't picked up a paper in ages except the complimentary hotel copies. But the Sunday funnies ruled and in the eighties - besides Peanuts -there was Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes was the best!This fairly short book examines the comic strip, talks about how wonderful it was, and how Bill Watterson ended the strip, and went into seclusion. Great book. Doesn't try to make the comic fit into any preconceived ideas.
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  • Laura (Book Scrounger)
    January 1, 1970
    Let's Go Exploring: Calvin and Hobbes was an entertaining and informative book for me since, although I very much enjoy Calvin and Hobbes, I didn't discover it until well after its newspaper run had ended (I didn't learn to read until about halfway through it, and we were overseas for the rest). So while some fans may be well aware of the timeline of the strip, this was all new information to me, so very interesting.Aside from tracing the evolution of the strip and creator Bill Watterson's caree Let's Go Exploring: Calvin and Hobbes was an entertaining and informative book for me since, although I very much enjoy Calvin and Hobbes, I didn't discover it until well after its newspaper run had ended (I didn't learn to read until about halfway through it, and we were overseas for the rest). So while some fans may be well aware of the timeline of the strip, this was all new information to me, so very interesting.Aside from tracing the evolution of the strip and creator Bill Watterson's career, the author spends some time analyzing what it was about this strip that made it so beloved by nearly everyone, covering major characters and familiar elements -- as he mentions early on, there are "haters" for just about anything, but very rarely for Calvin and Hobbes. This part (the first couple chapters) was enjoyable and can help fans feel a sense of commonality in their appreciation of the strip, without getting bogged down in details or overanalysis. The final chapter covers the numerous tributes and homages that have continued to try and help fans fill the gap left by Calvin and Hobbes since its end. This was slightly less interesting to me, but at the same time it also ponders the question of why so many felt the need to find closure in the first place, and demonstrates the degreee to which Calvin and Hobbes has become a pop culture icon, even without lucrative licensing.(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)
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  • Dessa
    January 1, 1970
    The trouble with this book is that it instilled an instant, insistent urge in me to run out and buy the definitive box set special edition of Calvin and Hobbes and read nothing else for the next week. This books does a couple of things, and all of them well: it’s a history of Calvin and Hobbes (of which I knew nothing) and a run-down of how daily newspaper strips used to work, and a philosophical and media-studies look behind the hood of both the strip and its wider cultural significance. Finall The trouble with this book is that it instilled an instant, insistent urge in me to run out and buy the definitive box set special edition of Calvin and Hobbes and read nothing else for the next week. This books does a couple of things, and all of them well: it’s a history of Calvin and Hobbes (of which I knew nothing) and a run-down of how daily newspaper strips used to work, and a philosophical and media-studies look behind the hood of both the strip and its wider cultural significance. Finally, it’s a love letter to the strip, one which communicates Hingston’s love for Calvin and Hobbes without making him the centre of the story - which, as we learn, writers seem to have a hard time doing with Calvin and Hobbes, and which I hugely appreciated here. Also now I’m addicted to Pop Classics. At least they’re going to look beautiful on my shelf when I finally get them all together.
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  • Nathan
    January 1, 1970
    A great, short read about the advent of Calvin & Hobbes, stories of its creator, brief tellings of its impact on our culture, and our fasciation with both the author and his creation. I don't really know anyone who doesn't treasure the old comic strip, and Hingston is inviting us along to analyze, remember, and appreciate it for what it is, and not what we think it should be. Naturally, due to the iron grip Watterson has on C&H, don't expect any animated examples in the book, but please A great, short read about the advent of Calvin & Hobbes, stories of its creator, brief tellings of its impact on our culture, and our fasciation with both the author and his creation. I don't really know anyone who doesn't treasure the old comic strip, and Hingston is inviting us along to analyze, remember, and appreciate it for what it is, and not what we think it should be. Naturally, due to the iron grip Watterson has on C&H, don't expect any animated examples in the book, but please don't let that dissuade you from reading. I would imagine that most anyone thumbing through these pages will at least learn a little about the beloved series. Lots of information, it's an easy read, and highly recommended. Many thanks to NetGalley for the advance review.
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  • Ben
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I've read previous entries in the Pop Classics series and really enjoyed them - it gives you a slim, in-depth look at the deeper meaning and legacy a piece of pop culture might have had. Calvin and Hobbes feels like a perfect selection for this series, but the actual look into its legacy makes some good points about what it has to say about imagination, childhood, and creative control of your artwork, but never rea I received a digital copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I've read previous entries in the Pop Classics series and really enjoyed them - it gives you a slim, in-depth look at the deeper meaning and legacy a piece of pop culture might have had. Calvin and Hobbes feels like a perfect selection for this series, but the actual look into its legacy makes some good points about what it has to say about imagination, childhood, and creative control of your artwork, but never really chases any of these points down fully enough to be satisfying on any of them. This is a pretty slim volume and breezy read, but I wanted it to go further.
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  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    My family and I were/are huge C/H fans. We bought our sons every book published and bought replacements when they wore out. So I am very enthusiastic about this book. The author has done his research and presents an entertaining and insightful book. Highly recommended.My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    A detailled look at the history of Calvin and Hobbes. This was a fun pop culture read.
  • Ameema Saeed
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced reading copy of this book, from the publisher (ECW Press), in exchange for my honest feedback. An entertaining and informative read about the creation of everyone’s favourite comic, Calvin & Hobbes. More than just a biography of the comic’s creator (Bill Watterson) - this book takes you through the comic’s evolution - and explores why we all loved Calvin & Hobbes so much. This was a short read - but it packed a big punch! The first few chapters explored the communi I received an advanced reading copy of this book, from the publisher (ECW Press), in exchange for my honest feedback. An entertaining and informative read about the creation of everyone’s favourite comic, Calvin & Hobbes. More than just a biography of the comic’s creator (Bill Watterson) - this book takes you through the comic’s evolution - and explores why we all loved Calvin & Hobbes so much. This was a short read - but it packed a big punch! The first few chapters explored the community and the fandom surrounding Calvin & Hobbes - which really sucks you in, so you feel connected and invested in the story. Towards the end, the book also explores the future of Calvin & Hobbes - including homages to them, and how they continue to develop new fans every day.A short, fun read - especially great for already existing Calvin & Hobbes fans, as this is sure to bring up some nostalgia!
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  • Christopher Schmitz
    January 1, 1970
    I got a chance to peek under the hood at the newest Calvin and Hobbes book… So, it’s more of a Bill Watterson book than a Calvin and Hobbes book, but I was excited nonetheless. Michael Hingston’s Let’s Go Exploring is an interesting peek at the inner battles between the famously reclusive Bill Watterson (one of my personal heroes) and the monstrous men in black, the corporate suits that controlled the evil comics’ syndicate.It’s maybe not as black and white as all that and really came down to on I got a chance to peek under the hood at the newest Calvin and Hobbes book… So, it’s more of a Bill Watterson book than a Calvin and Hobbes book, but I was excited nonetheless. Michael Hingston’s Let’s Go Exploring is an interesting peek at the inner battles between the famously reclusive Bill Watterson (one of my personal heroes) and the monstrous men in black, the corporate suits that controlled the evil comics’ syndicate.It’s maybe not as black and white as all that and really came down to one man standing up to the corporate machine and refusing to sell out his principles. While I really wish there were more Calvin and Hobbes coming, there are not. Watterson is far too principled a man to allow such a thing. Hingston’s book shows us some of the inner workings of that syndicate and the pressures that they famously exerted to try and milk the tiger for every penny while Watterson stood in their way, unwilling to budge.Truly, his principles may have galvanized the late gen-xers such as myself into the generation that so often refused to sell out.I proudly own paperbacks of every Calvin and Hobbes book ever printed and have dog eared them and passed them on to my children. They might very well be the best philosophy books to have emerged in the 20th century.Hingston draws most of the information in his text from both personal experiences and from public records and other widely known sources as he weaves a narrative depicting many struggles: Watterson’s conflicts with the syndicate, his struggle to maintain Calvin’s wonderful world, and his personal fight against a world that sought to exploit the very thing that he had created (as well as keep his mental sanity as the media tried to rob him of the very things that made Watterson unique and which trickled down into Calvin like bottled lightning.)It’s an interesting book. I got a free copy as an advanced review.
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  • Joe K
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this in exchange for a fair review from NetGalley.I really enjoyed this book. I'd previously read Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip by Nevin Martell, and I was a little hesitant to read this, thinking it would be more of the same. I was happily surprised, as it gave a bit more background information, and read like journalism, instead of the work of a super intense fan. I felt like I came away from I received a free copy of this in exchange for a fair review from NetGalley.I really enjoyed this book. I'd previously read Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip by Nevin Martell, and I was a little hesitant to read this, thinking it would be more of the same. I was happily surprised, as it gave a bit more background information, and read like journalism, instead of the work of a super intense fan. I felt like I came away from "Let's Go Exploring" book with more of an appreciation of "Calvin and Hobbes", but I do wish there had been more (although that's typically the case with the "Pop Classics" series). Overall, it was nice to get more info, especially because I was very young when the strip ended, and didn't get the full effect until later in life when I purchased all of the collected books. I definitely recommend this to anyone who is a big fan of the strip, although many of them may know a great deal of this already. Quick and easy read; left me feeling informed, but still wanting more.
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  • K.
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a long-time fan of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, just like the book asserts many people are. No one actively dislikes the comic and it’s easy to see why. With its layered look at the world and its ability to stretch the imagination, the comic allowed us to escape reality and view life from a new perspective.The book gives great insight into the history of the comic, spanning from Bill Watterson’s background to the storylines we saw featured during the strip’s ten year run. Howev I have been a long-time fan of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, just like the book asserts many people are. No one actively dislikes the comic and it’s easy to see why. With its layered look at the world and its ability to stretch the imagination, the comic allowed us to escape reality and view life from a new perspective.The book gives great insight into the history of the comic, spanning from Bill Watterson’s background to the storylines we saw featured during the strip’s ten year run. However, while its insight into why the comic works on multiple levels is a welcome addition to the historical overview of Calvin and Hobbes, the book could have benefited from some visual examples of the strips. While I’m guessing it had to do with licensing issues, the textual overview of the works felt disconnected from the comics themselves without this comparison available.Overall, if you’re a fan of the comic strip and want to get more in-depth about what it was all about, this book is a welcome read. But, like Calvin, you’ll have to rely on your imagination to see the world being created in full color. Somehow, that seems a little bit fitting in light of the topic.
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  • Nate
    January 1, 1970
    I’m glad I came across this book. It’s a great little overview of Calvin and Hobbes and its history. Like millions of others, I love Calvin and Hobbes and it’s been important to me since I was a kid. While there aren’t a ton of new insights into the strip itself, this volume was a fun read and did answer some questions I had about its creation and aftermath.It’s to author Michael Hingston’s credit that he doesn’t come across as sycophantic in this book when discussing Bill Watterson. Though he d I’m glad I came across this book. It’s a great little overview of Calvin and Hobbes and its history. Like millions of others, I love Calvin and Hobbes and it’s been important to me since I was a kid. While there aren’t a ton of new insights into the strip itself, this volume was a fun read and did answer some questions I had about its creation and aftermath.It’s to author Michael Hingston’s credit that he doesn’t come across as sycophantic in this book when discussing Bill Watterson. Though he does write about Watterson’s life and desire for privacy, he clearly respects the man and doesn’t obsessively mine for information about him like other journalists and writers have. The last two chapters, about Watterson’s activity since Calvin and Hobbes and the comic’s legacy, are by turns heartwarming and sad.I think any fan of Calvin and Hobbes (i.e. most people) would get something out of this book. It doesn’t present much information that isn’t already out there, but it’s an accessible and enjoyable appreciation of a beloved comic.
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  • Audrey Adamson
    January 1, 1970
    As an educational reference for the unforgettable Clavin and Hobbes, Let's Go Exploring gives a lot of background and explains why we lost Calvin and company too soon. If you are a casual fan, you won't like this book. This isn't some fun insight into the comics. At first, I was discouraged by the lack of strips, but it made sense as I truly understood what this book was about. For a fan like me, this book gave me closure. I learned a lot about how the comic industry works and how cartoonists ar As an educational reference for the unforgettable Clavin and Hobbes, Let's Go Exploring gives a lot of background and explains why we lost Calvin and company too soon. If you are a casual fan, you won't like this book. This isn't some fun insight into the comics. At first, I was discouraged by the lack of strips, but it made sense as I truly understood what this book was about. For a fan like me, this book gave me closure. I learned a lot about how the comic industry works and how cartoonists are treated. I learned a lot about Bill Waterson and the history of Calvin and Hobbes. It was like learning more about your middle school best friend who moved away and you didn't know why and then you connect on Facebook years later and get the whole story. I received an ARC through NetGalley; all opinions are my own.
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  • Nathaniel Darkish
    January 1, 1970
    Overall an interesting book about my all-time favorite comic strip and its creator. Well-written and researched, interesting while avoiding becoming boring.
  • AUstralian First Time
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating investigation of a beloved comic stripThe internet is home to impassioned debates on just about everything, but there’s one thing that’s universally beloved: Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Until its retirement in 1995 after a ten-year run, the strip won numerous awards and drew tens of millions of readers from all around the world. The story of a boy and his best friend — a stuffed tiger — was a pitch-perfect distillation of the joys and horrors of childhood, and a A fascinating investigation of a beloved comic stripThe internet is home to impassioned debates on just about everything, but there’s one thing that’s universally beloved: Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Until its retirement in 1995 after a ten-year run, the strip won numerous awards and drew tens of millions of readers from all around the world. The story of a boy and his best friend — a stuffed tiger — was a pitch-perfect distillation of the joys and horrors of childhood, and a celebration of imagination in its purest form. In Let’s Go Exploring, Michael Hingston mines the strip and traces the story of Calvin’s reclusive creator to demonstrate how imagination — its possibilities, its opportunities, and ultimately its limitations — helped make Calvin and Hobbes North America’s last great comic strip
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  • Lyle Blosser
    January 1, 1970
    A very enjoyable retrospective on Calvin and Hobbes and the man behind the panels. In addition to the thorough yet very approachable analysis of various aspects of the strip, I especially enjoyed learning more about Mr. Watterson's post-C&H time, and the wide range of tributes to him and the strip that have continued to appear. The author came across as being thorough and compassionate in the telling of Watterson's dealings with the syndicate and the reading public; one truly feels for the a A very enjoyable retrospective on Calvin and Hobbes and the man behind the panels. In addition to the thorough yet very approachable analysis of various aspects of the strip, I especially enjoyed learning more about Mr. Watterson's post-C&H time, and the wide range of tributes to him and the strip that have continued to appear. The author came across as being thorough and compassionate in the telling of Watterson's dealings with the syndicate and the reading public; one truly feels for the artist in the end, and that helps to lessen the pain of having no more new Calvin and Hobbes material, and ultimately serves to increase the appreciation of what we do have.
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  • Janki
    January 1, 1970
    I received this novel from a Goodreads giveaway and as a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, it was nice to read about the history of the comics.
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    Calvin and Hobbes was my generations' reason to read the newspaper, and Michael Hingston examines why. This book kept me reading way past bedtime. It made me happy/sad. Let's Go Exploring is written conversationally which I really appreciated. He captures all the whimsy and yes, the sadness that Calvin and Hobbes is no more. Mr Hingston gives the background on the strip's creator and his reasons for stopping the strip. I was not aware that the comic's creator never licensed the Calvin and Hobbes Calvin and Hobbes was my generations' reason to read the newspaper, and Michael Hingston examines why. This book kept me reading way past bedtime. It made me happy/sad. Let's Go Exploring is written conversationally which I really appreciated. He captures all the whimsy and yes, the sadness that Calvin and Hobbes is no more. Mr Hingston gives the background on the strip's creator and his reasons for stopping the strip. I was not aware that the comic's creator never licensed the Calvin and Hobbes images and the reasoning behind his decision. Calvin and Hobbes have stood the test of time, and Michael Hingston does them and their creator, as well as their impact, justice. I can see this book as a discussion group selection, as I certainly want to share, discuss, and debate.
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  • Holly Senecal
    January 1, 1970
    Our family are all huge Calvin and Hobbes fans so having the opportunity to read and review Lets Go Exploring was really amazing. I appreciate Michael Hingston and all his efforts to put the new perspective on one of the most loved comic strips of all time. I hope the word has gotten out about this book because it's captivating and page turning, loved it.
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