On December 31, 1995, Bill Watterson, award-winning creator of Calvin and Hobbes, retired at the height of his cartooning career, issuing the following statement:
This is not a recent or easy decision, and I leave with some sadness. I believe I've done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises. I have not yet decided on future projects, but my relationship with Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU) will continue.
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes collects every Bill Watterson cartoon in a three-volume slipcased set. The book includes every Watterson strip (3,160 to be exact) appearing between the cartoon's launch on November 18, 1985, to its final run on December 31, 1995, along with new art and a revealing introduction essay by Watterson.
During its syndication, Calvin and Hobbes ran in more than 2,400 newspapers. Worldwide sales of Watterson's 17 existing Calvin and Hobbes book collections surpass 30 million copies, making Watterson's heartwarming depiction of precocious six-year-old Calvin and his imaginary, pouncing pet tiger Hobbes unquestionably one of the most popular and beloved comic strips of all time.
Whether a poignant look at serious family issues or a round of time travel (with the aid of a well-labeled cardboard box), "Watterson's imaginative approach to his material and his inventive graphics have made Calvin and Hobbes one of the few universally admired by other cartoonists," writes Charles Solomon for the Los Angeles Times.
Weighing 23 pounds per complete set (or 250 metric tons for the entire first print run), The Complete Calvin and Hobbes is composed of more than 34,957 reams of paper and 12 metric tons of ink (for the first printing alone!). More than 125 twenty-foot shipping containers were used to transport the paper from the mill to the printer.