The cartoonist Bill Watterson noted in an anthology of Calvin and Hobbes strips that many people assume Calvin is based on his childhood or his own child. Watterson said that in fact he was a rather well-behaved kid and that he has no children. He explained that he enjoys writing Calvin because so often he disagrees with what Calvin does, but it allows him to express another part of himself that usually doesn’t see much light. Calvin allows Watterson to express a part of himself.

For example, imagine this bit of dialogue:

Jessica: “Stop with all your God talk! Stop trying to shove your religion down my throat!”

Mary: “Heh, knowing where your throat’s been? I’d rather not.”

Now, I would never say such a thing in real life, and I think it’s a deplorable comment. Still, I can’t help but savor some of the deliciousness of this comeback. The great thing about fictional characters is that you can explore different personas (diva/charlatan/fool) without the experiencing the repercussions of their behaviors.

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