I was talking with my mom recently and she told me about how my niece (who turns 8 this year) was reading her Calvin & Hobbes comics over the phone. Of course to fully appreciate a Calvin & Hobbes comic you do have to be able to SEE the comic but Watterson's dialogue was frequenly so brilliant you could still get the jokes even if you couldn't see what was going on. Frankly if I ever went blind I could be content having Calvin & Hobbes comics read to me because I could imagine and remember what Watterson's brilliant strip looked like.
I don't make any attempt to avoid being labeled a snob. Snobs come in myriad forms and in my case I'm snobby about cartoons and comics. Not only do I prefer to get the stuff I like and think is good, I prefer that if possible that my nieces only get exposed to the really cool stuff. Miyazaki, Pixar, Wallace & Gromit, pre-Eisner DIsney, Paul Dini & Bruce Timm's DC cartoons, Powerpuff Girls, all solid stuff. Of course I might end up watching Spirit: Stallion of Cimmaron again some day but perhaps that will be a while. Meanwhile, if my niece wants to watch Coraline and snorts in disdain at High School Musical ads I will be a proud uncle.
Earlier this year I learned my older niece was so enamored of WALL-E she wanted to write a letter to the composer Thomas Newman to thank him for writing such a wonderful soundtrack. She recently showed me a comic book she made from going through one of her favorite comics, a Powerpuff Girls comic she showed me. Yes, I am a proudy geeky uncle.
Of course a proud, geeky uncle must have some awareness of limits. My niece will NOT be seeing The Dark Knight until she's fourteen or so and dad and mom say they're okay with it.
Since I have gotten back to attending a concert or two I want to write at least a little about that but that is for another time.
It's fun to see that a strip I got into in my early teens is a source of happiness for my 7 year old niece now that I'm on the verge of thirty-five. As I blogged here earlier I'm also grateful Watterson retired Calvin & Hobbes when he did. No fizzling out into miserable unfunniness like Berkely with the sad transition from Bloom County into Outland.