If you have not read the lovely, sparkly, and amusing comic Heavenly Nostrils, I'll give you some time to get acquainted here. Now that you're back, let's talk about the big stuffed tiger in the room: Heavenly Nostrils is a lot like Calvin and Hobbes. There are even small moments of complete homage like this strip that makes it very clear that artist Dana Simpson probably has a dog-eared copy of a Calvin and Hobbes anthology somewhere.People have been constantly comparing the strip to Calvin and Hobbes and finding it lacking.
I think that it's because they expected the exact same comic as in C&H but with a girl and a unicorn instead of a boy and a tiger. Same philosophical quandaries, same bold political statements from the artist, same adventures with dinosaurs and rocket ships. Thing is, that wouldn't be genuine to the character and the story. Yeah, Phoebe is not a complete girly-girl , but she shows a healthy appreciation for the fanciful and magical world that a lot of young girls get into at her age. I remember being really into horses and/or stories told from an animal's POV. I loved things like My Little Pony and making up stories with my barbie dolls. In short, I know what it's like to be that kind of girl, and that kind of girl would rather put unicorns in 4-14s because unicorns. Phoebe is not at all like Calvin because she is her own character with her own background, and that should be a mark of a non-derivative character ,right? Reading through the comic has really brought on a wave of nostalgia for the kind of childhood I had and the kind of things I imagined(with more unicorns).
This kind of taps into the whole "Boys=Universal, Girls=Niche" problem with society. As much as a boy living in a big back yard with a stuffed tiger is the ultimate childhood fantasy, having a magical unicorn as a friend who takes you on adventures and introduces you to their magical friends is also a big childhood fantasy.The only difference is that people expect girls to have the fantasy of the unicorn friend and the tiger in the back yard. The world with unicorns and candy dragons that...barf ice cream should really be a universal thing because unicorns (while vain) are pretty awesome, but there seems to be a gender imbalance in acceptable unicorn fantasies.
I can understand if Heavenly Nostrils is not your cup of tea, but to say it's a bad version of Calvin and Hobbes is kind of missing the point because the comic is made by a different person writing about a different experience.I really like that while Heavenly Nostrils is inspired by Calvin and Hobbes, it's doing some things different. Phoebe deals with issues that lots kids deal with such as having a friend of the opposite sex who you don't antagonize (something Calvin had trouble with) and having that one girl(or boy) in school who you both wanted to impress and make as miserable as they made you.
In conclusion, I really wanted to share this comic that I like.