This one is quite the edge case. Prompted by this hot SE network question Did Calvin ever realise that Hobbes was not real? Is it on topic for SFF?


  • He's a Sunday paper comic
  • It's not a fantasy setting, it's a little boy pretending
  • There's no direct sci-fi
  • Maybe a better fit for Literature.SE?


  • Spaceman Spiff ('nuff said)
  • We deal with other literary fictional works that are sci-fi/fantasy -ish (i.e. )
  • Hobbes, one of the central characters of the series, is really a stuffed toy. Or is he a friendly tiger? Hmm...
  • There's benefit to SFF in discussing where the fantasy portion of Hobbes ends and Calvin begins.

I'm inclined to let it stay but it could be argued that it needs to go. What say you all?

  • 8
    It incorporates significant elements of fantasy as well as some scifi. The seems close enough to me
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:32
  • 6
    If we ban it, I motion we ban Ratatouille as well. <and let the holy war begin!> Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:49
  • 2
    just arguing against the "no" column which I think are mostly incorrect assumptions to begin with. Being a newspaper comic shouldn't matter - Superman and Star Trek have been newspaper comics also. Additionally, they have been collected into volumes. Format doesn't matter we've already decided (ie - video games). Since when did pretending != fantasy. Seems like the very definition, no?
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 4:01

2 Answers 2



As you've noted, the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons incorporate significant elements of science fiction and fantasy, quite a lot of which is internally consistent and intrudes into Calvin's reality. At the very least, asking about these is perfectly acceptable.

Additionally, the question about whether the entire strip is fantastical seems to have been well-received by the community. I think we can accept that discussions about this aspect are also well within scope.

Spaceman Spiff
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Stupendous Man
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Galaxoid and Nebular
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Captain Napalm
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X-387 Robot Probe enter image description here

Transmogrifier enter image description here

Time Machine
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  • 1
    You might want to mention the duplicates; that's even more conclusive in my opinion.
    – Mithical
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:23
  • @Mithrandir - What duplicates?
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:25
  • 9
    The strip where Calvin uses his cardboard box to duplicate himself.
    – Mithical
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:28
  • @Mithrandir - There are quite a few of those. Did you have a specific strip in mind.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 13:03
  • 1
    He uses the cardboard box variously as a Duplicator (creating an army of clones), Transmogrifier (becoming a - very short - tiger) and Time Machine. All on topic I would say. Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 14:57

It's not a fantasy setting, it's a little boy pretending

Isn't "pretending" the literal definition of "fantasy"?

From Merriam-Webster:

Fantasy: a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived: such as

  1. a fanciful design or invention a fantasy of delicate tracery
  2. a chimerical or fantastic notion His plans are pure fantasy.
  3. fantasia 1 the organ fantasy of Johannes Brahms
  4. imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters spent the summer reading fantasy —called also fantasy fiction
  • 4
    I think the argument here is that we, the audience know that it's not real. It's like JD's fantasies in Scrubs or Ally McBeal's hallucination-breaks.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 19:00
  • 1
    Yeah, but in this case, Hobbes is a titular character. He's at the core of the strip.
    – Logan
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 1:52

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