Review by Woodrow Phoenix
This is the seventh collection of Bill Watterson’s newspaper strip about six-year old Calvin and his best friend, a tiger called Hobbes. Calvin lives in a vividly surreal world of his own where the stuffed toy that everyone else sees is completely alive to him, particularly when nobody else is looking. It’s not quite as simple as Calvin having a big imagination, because there are some strange overlaps between his world and that of his parents, schoolfriends and others, making it hard to determine exactly whose reality is the accurate version.
In this volume, Calvin’s dad decides it’s time for him to learn to ride a bicycle, but it’s not going to be easy because the bike has other ideas. How does anyone get their head get caught in a bicycle chain? There’s bitter defeat for the G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS) club’s plan for a water balloon assault on Suzie. Hobbes is captured by the other side and the unthinkable occurs: he smooches the enemy. Can the club survive this traitorous action?
Every winter Calvin makes snowmen of various styles and the sequence of strips that gives this collection its title starts when Calvin decides to bring one of his creations to life… and then it tries to destroy its creator, building an army of deadly snowmen allies to overpower him. Other strips involve appearances from Spaceman Spiff, Stupendous Man and private eye Tracer Bullet. In one final hilarious sequence Calvin modifies his duplicator, last seen in volume six, to create another duplicate of himself to do all of his homework and his chores. This time he’s added an ‘ethicator’ switch to the duplicator so it only copies his good side, and this idea works out superbly until his duplicate is too nice to Suzie.
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons is a very funny book indeed. It’s also the last of the yearly strip collections to be in the square, black and white format. From the next volume onwards, the Sunday pages are reproduced in colour and the strips are printed much larger.