How Well Do You Know "Calvin and Hobbes"?



By: Monica Lee

6 Min Quiz

Image: Bill Waterson

About This Quiz

Bill Watterson tapped into the joy, as well as the trials and tribulations of a precocious, mischievous and adventurous 6-year-old boy and his real-only-to-him tiger in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Over 2,400 newspapers around the world carried it, making it one of the most popular comic strips of all time.  Which may be why you know it so well. 

Calvin's excessively vivid imagination kicks into high gear when he finds himself in unpleasant situations, like being in school, or having to eat vegetables. That's when he uses the Transmogrifier to change himself and Hobbes into different animals. Or they jump into the Flying Time Machine and go back to prehistoric times. Or even better, Calvin will use the Duplicator to let him go about having fun while the duplicate Calvins complete the unpleasant tasks. Why the need to escape daily responsibilities? Calvin (actually Bill Watterson) said it best, "There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do." 

Watterson not only created engaging characters with Calvin and Hobbes, the minor characters from Moe, to Susie to Mom and Dad, are strong, humorous and recognizable personalities in the life of a 6-year-old boy. Walk down memory strip with this all-time classic, that comments on the bigger issues in life with wonderful child-like enthusiasm.

Who do we have to thank for writing Calvin and Hobbes?

Bill Watterson wrote the strip every day for 10 years! Calvin and Hobbes was syndicated from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995.


The comic strip was based on what?

Most people assume that the comic strip is based on Watterson's son or his own youth, but it isn't true. It's just his imagination. Watterson said he named Calvin after a sixteenth-century theologian who believed in predestination.


Where did the name "Hobbes" come from?

Hobbes is named after a seventeenth-century philosopher with a dim view of human nature. Bill Watterson said that many of Calvin’s struggles are metaphors for his own struggles. Now it makes sense why Calvin and Hobbes were named after theologians and philosophers.


What is the name of the character who had polls that showed the fallout from his behavior toward Calvin?

Calvin was constantly consulting poll results on his father's popularity. Many strips had Calvin asking his father when the next election for the role of "Dad" would be.


The best game is the one where you can't use the same rules twice. What was the name of Calvin and Hobbes' favorite game?

In many of the comic strips that were about Calvinball, it showed Calvin and Hobbes wearing black eye masks hitting a croquet ball while singing and dancing.


It's a secret club named G.R.O.S.S. What does that stand for?

G.R.O.S.S. is an acronym that makes you laugh as well as keeping girls (like Susie) out of Calvin's and Hobbes' secret club.


His mother made it for him, it's his favorite costume, what is it?

Calvin would dress up as Stupendous Man and read his favorite comic strip, Spaceman Spiff. But we all knew Calvin was stupendous, didn't we?


It's amazing, but the Transmongrifer, Flying Time Machine and Duplicator all are the same object(s). What is it?

The big cardboard box was amazing. It could do so many things by simply entering it and exiting it. The adventures ranged from time travel to changing shape.


What does the Transmogrifier do?

The Transmongrifier changes Calvin and Hobbes into different animals with a slew of new adventures including hunting prey and being prey.


What does the Duplicator do?

Calvin duplicates himself so one of his duplicates can do his homework, do his chores and other things while the real Calvin plays.


Jump in the Flying Time Machine with Calvin and Hobbes and where might you go?

Like many kids, Calvin was fascinated with large, scary dinosaurs and would travel to prehistoric times to interact with Tyrannosaurus Rex and others.


What else did Calvin use the cardboard box for?

Besides a desk to sell things, the box is used as the "box of secrecy" to hold his secret club meetings (when it's not in the tree house) as well as a "Cerebral Enhance-o-tron"with the help of a few wires and a colander.


When Calvin is using his box to sell things, what is one of the things he has tried to sell?

Although all of them, except for the puppies, sound like Calvin, the only one of these that appeared in the comic strip was a swift kick in the butt for one dollar. Calvin usually sells something that no one wants.


Besides making trouble, Calvin has had his troubles as well. What was the name of the bully who sometimes beat up Calvin and took his lunch money?

Whether it's a fight or taking Calvin's lunch money or a toy truck, Moe is Enemy #1. However, Calvin is smarter than Moe and often leaves the conversation with Moe silent and looking totally confused.


What do Calvin and Hobbes wear when they are in the Flying Time Machine?

The visual clue was the goggles, and the box in flight, to know that Calvin and Hobbes were using the Flying Time Machine.


Which of these character traits describes Calvin?

Watterson used all these descriptions to paint a picture of Calvin's personality. Physically, he had blond, spiky hair and a distinctive red-and-black striped shirt, black pants, and sneakers. But mentally, he was much older than his years.


What did Rosalyn do for Calvin's family?

Word gets around when there is a kid like Calvin in the neighborhood. Hence Rosalyn raised her babysitting prices accordingly and also, she was the only babysitter who would take the job.


Besides Moe, there is another enemy (kid) that Calvin needs to look out for. Who is she?

Susie Derkins is sweet, polite, well, everything Calvin isn't, which is why Susie is Calvin's enemy. But also they have a secret crush on each other. Love is complicated.


What does Susie Derkins like to do?

Susie liked to play pretend with Calvin, but Calvin had to be the house-husband while she was a high-powered lawyer or politician.


Although Hobbes is a stuffed animal, he was modeled off a real cat. What is the name of that cat?

A gray tabby cat named Sprite, owned by Bill Watterson, was the inspiration for the looks and personality of Hobbes, but not the name.


How closely were you reading these comic strips? Do you recall the name of Calvin's mom and dad?

All that mattered to Calvin was that their names were mom and dad, so it never came up in the comic strips what their actual names were.


Even Calvin, such a little guy, was on the school baseball team. What position did he play?

Although there was plenty of time to daydream in left field, there was hardly any action. So Calvin played one game and quit.


Calvin liked to pretend he was Spaceman Spiff. When was this character created by Bill Watterson?

The fearless Spaceman Spiff, interplanetary explorer, gave Calvin plenty of adventures. This alter-ego of Calvin's was created by Watterson in high school and then reworked in college to become Spaceman Moe. Then he was introduced in the comic strip as Spaceman Spiff.


Did Watterson just write the strip or did he do more?

Bill Watterson not only wrote the strip, but he was involved in all aspects of the technical production from the script writing to the drawings to the coloring. He used a red, sable brush and Indian ink on a Strathmore Bristol Board for drawing.


What's an example of a snowman scene that Calvin might build?

Snowmen were a running gag in the comic strip. It was used for social commentary, revenge or pure enjoyment. Here's another example: one snowman eating snow cones scooped out of a second snowman, who is lying on the ground with an ice-cream scoop in his back.


Calvin loved to Transmogrify, but he never changed into this character. Which one is it?

Inventive and hilarious, when Calvin Transmongrified he always looked the part, whether he was a large lizard or tiger. Watterson's cartoon strips could be a work of art.


Bill Watterson commented on big issues in life. Which of these quotes came from the comic strip?

Bill Watterson admitted that he uses Calvin "as an outlet for my immaturity, as a way to keep myself curious about the natural world, as a way to ridicule my own obsessions, and as a way to comment on human nature. " Which he does in all these quotes.


Bill Waterson was inspired by who to create Calvin's dad?

According to Bill Watterson, "Any strip about how suffering 'builds character' is usually a verbatim transcript of my dad’s explanations for why we were all freezing, exhausted, hungry and lost on camping trips."


Calvin's mother is what kind of mom in the comic strip?

Calvin’s mom loves Calvin, but his exploits tax her sanity. According to Watterson, "I’ve tried to keep Calvin’s parents realistic, with a reasonable sense of humor about having a kid like Calvin."


Calvin's teacher has the best name ever, what was it?

Watterson made Mrs. Wormwood real with hints that she’s waiting to retire, that she smokes too much and that she takes a lot of medication.


How would someone describe Hobbes?

The friendship between the Calvin and Hobbes is the core dynamic of the strip. All of these comments have been used to describe Hobbes.


Watterson used his comic strip to rename the "Big Bang Theory". What did he call it?

Watterson coined the term "Horrendous Space Kablooie" which caught on informally among scientists and was often shortened to "the HSK." The term has also been referred to in newspapers, books and university courses


Calvin and Hobbes frequently ride downhill in what, depending on the season?

Calvin and Hobbes frequently ride downhill in a wagon, sled or toboggan. In most cases the comic strip ends in a spectacular crash. Sometimes Hobbes hops off before the ride even begins.


In the G.R.O.S.S. secret club, what is Calvin's title?

Calvin has awarded himself the position of "Dictator-for-Life" and has given Hobbes the title of being "President-and-First-Tiger".


Who is "Tracer Bullet"?

Tracer Bullet is Calvin's alter-ego when he wants to be a hard-boiled private eye. Calvin describes himself as having eight slugs in him ("One's lead, and the rest are bourbon.").


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