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Bootleg merchandise

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Hamster Huey

Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie

In 2004, a real version of Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie appeared for sale online, purportedly written by Mabel Barr and illustrated by Nick Goettling.

Some fans of Calvin and Hobbes consider the book to be idea theft and an attempt to cash in on the series' continuing popularity. This is supported by a variety of evidence:

  • The book is not affiliated with Universal Press Syndicate or its publisher Andrews McMeel, but rather with Hamster Huey Press, which has released no other content. It also contains no plot elements from Calvin and Hobbes. However, one of the reviews on the back cover is from a Calvin and Hobbes fan site, indicating that the publisher was aware of the connection.
  • The aforementioned fan site was created in 2004, the year of the book's release, and only updated to renew its promotion of Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie and include a link to purchase The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. The site is registered by Paul Spadoni, to whom is also registered the promotional website. The webmaster, Lindsey Noelle, lives in the same area as Paul Spadoni.
  • The book's promotional material: the tagline describes Hamster Huey as a "renowned hero", despite having never previously been featured outside of Calvin and Hobbes. Also, whereas the quotes on the back cover correspond to real people, the author and illustrator do not.

Irreverent bootlegs

Main article: Licensing

Except for the books, two 16-month calendars (1988–1989 and 1989–1990), and a children's textbook, virtually all Calvin and Hobbes merchandise are bootleg. Some bootlegs, such as Calvin and Hobbes on T-shirts depicted as binge drinking or Calvin urinating upon a sports team or corporate logo, are blatantly unauthorized. After threat of a lawsuit alleging infringement of copyright and trademark, some of the sticker makers replaced Calvin with a different boy, while other makers ignored the issue. Watterson once wryly commented "I clearly miscalculated how popular it would be to show Calvin urinating on a Ford logo." Other stickers showed a more pious Calvin, such as an image of Calvin kneeling before a Christian cross and praying "Dear God, forgive me for my destructive behavior on other people's windshields". Ironically, that image was copied from a strip where Calvin is committing an act of gimmickry idolatry by offering a bowl of pudding to a TV set.

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