—Calvin, after making a snow sculpture of a snowman bowling with another snowman's head.
Calvin, like most other children his age, enjoys making snowmen during the winter. Unlike most other children, though, Calvin's snowmen are almost never regular snowmen; this distancing is often used by Bill Watterson in order to criticize the art scene. On occasions the snowman showed signs of life. They are among the many recurring characters in the comics.
The following is a list of relevant snowmen, sets of snowmen or snow sculptures built by Calvin, in order of appearance. Titles in italics correspond to names provided by Calvin, those in bold to names provided by other characters; the rest of the titles are conjectural.
2/15 1986: First Generic SnowmanCalvin has built a few run-of-the mill, conventional snowmen with carrot noses and tree-branch arms. As the first one predated all other snowmen by a long time, it is possible that Bill Watterson had not yet established Calvin's more irregular snowmen as a running gag at the time. Later generic snowmen were dictated by practical or artistic (see Snow Art and Avant Garde Snowman far below) concerns.
Calvin built the first inside his room (much to his mom's dismay), by opening the window during snowfall. On 1/14 1989, he built another to practice his snowball aim on. On 2/2 1989, he made yet another to safety-test a hill for sledding. These two were smaller than the original generic snowman, probably since their appearance was of little concern. On 1/6 1990, he made one on which he pretended to be performing brain surgery and a heart transplant. Also, the original Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goon was a generic snowman.
2/8 1987: Gigantic SnowmanA gigantic snowman atop a hill, meant to attract tourists. It was never completed; Hobbes refused to carry out the project after getting an idea of its scope (The snowman's toes were to be as tall as Hobbes).
2/28 1988: Automobile Accident Snowman set
A set of four snowmen in the driveway of Calvin's house: one of them trisected by the family car, the rest gaping in horror. The panel featured on the right is frequently mistaken to be a single strip, when it is in fact part of a Sunday comic.
1/27 1989 : Frankenstein Snowman
A generic snowman,with thick legs that were supposed to enable him to walk, laying on its back. Calvin hoped to electroshock it to life, but was foreseeably unable to obtain a lightning storm during winter.
1/30 1989: Effigies
Effigies of people Calvin hated; the idea was that when the effigies melted, Calvin would have been able to watch their disfigurement and final demise. The people he particularly disliked were represented by smaller snowmen which would melt faster. Hobbes commented that he wasn’t aware Calvin even knew that many people.
2/5 1989: First set of Tiny SnowmenMany times, Calvin is seen building snowmen only a few inches tall. He says that the small snowmen are his enemies in his real life and he enjoys seeing them melt. The first time the tiny snowmen were seen, he crushed them all while pretending to be a T-rex. On 2/29 1992, a group of a hundred strong tiny snowmen were running from a regular-sized snowman which, to them, was terrifyingly large. On 1/13 1993, fifteen or so snowmen were built at the bottom of a hill so that Calvin could crash into them with his toboggan. On 1/12 1995, a large gathering of tiny snowmen awaited for another of their kind to jump from the top of Calvin's house.
2/19 1989: First Calvin DecoyCalvin has built several snowmen meant to impersonate him and fool other people at it. Although they were consistently unsuccessful, Calvin seemed to believe they would all make convincing look-alikes. As such, they may have been somewhat different-looking in his imagination. The first, a featureless snowmen with Calvin's clothes, was designed to expose Calvin's enemies, the reasoning being that they would attack the fake Calvin thinking it was real. On 1/20 1993, Calvin built a decoy to go inside his bath and fool his mother. Later, Calvin made another clothed snowman to try and prevent Hobbes from pouncing on him. Hobbes identified it as a "tiny snowman", but it was actually larger than Calvin's actual tiny snowmen.
2/23 1989: Two-headed snowman
An unconventional snowman with two heads built next to the sidewalk by Calvin. Both heads held their mouths agape in stupidity.
12/29 1989: Snowman House of Horror
A set of five horribly injured snowmen built next to the sidewalk. One of them had been chopped in half with a toboggan driven by a baby snowman, one more had a tree growing through his stomach, another had three eyes and two noses, yet another had removed its own head and a final one was almost buried.
2/20 through 2/22 1990: Snow ArtA series of three snowmen altogether, each of which had its own distinct artistic implications. The first was designed to express deeper truths about the human nature and go beyond morphological accuracy. When this first piece melted, Calvin built another, which was about transience and so took advantage of its likehood of melting. However, a ”Philistine on the sidewalk” (as identified by Hobbes) mocked Calvin for building a snowman on a warm day. The last artful snowman was an abstract creation, a stocky mound about Calvin's size with ear-like protrusions and a circular cavity going through it.
12/27 1990: Mocking Snowman
A snowman that Calvin built out of spite when his father made him play outside instead of watching TV indoors. The ill-intended creation looked at Calvin's father through the window with a mocking grimace.
1/21 1991: Sets of Snowmen That Slowed Traffic Down
It is unknown how many of these Calvin made, but three distinct sets are shown. The first features a cannon perforating a snowman's chest, the second a contented-looking snowman burying another alive, and the third a snowman about to commit suicide by hanging. Calvin's father believes the snowmen are responsible for slowing down traffic. The first also appeared in a FoxTrot comic, with the protagonist Jason building a replica of it with snow models of Calvin and Hobbes, saying "This way, it's an homage, not a rip-off."
2/6 1991: Snow Snake
A very large snakelike snow sculpture. Calvin placed himself inside its "mouth", and when Susie approached, pretended the snake was alive and dangerous. Its purpose was similar to that of the Man-Eating Snowman.
2/7 1991: Protesting Snowmen
A set of six snowmen in the driveway of Calvin's house, wielding picket signs on which could be made out:
- Too Strict
- Calvin's Dad Unfair
- Later Bedtimes Fewer Baths
- Egad! Bad Dad!
- More Freedom
- Homework No!
2/9 1991: Snow Dinosaur
A long wall of snow that traced an outline when seen from the air. The outline was that of a theropod dinosaur, and was traced around Calvin's house in a manner that made it look as if the dinosaur was about to eat the house.
Spirit of the New Year
In the foreground of this set was an inspirational snowman meant to represent the spirit of the New Year - his hand on his forehead as if staring into the distance, and leaning forward into it. Calvin cited that he "strides forward with confidence... Calling forth the best qualities of human drive and ingenuity." In the background, however, other snowmen were either laughing at the inspiring sculpture, arguing, or lounged lazily against trees. They were described as "the real world."
Note: Image has been altered to remove irrelevant panels.
2/4 1992: Man-Eating Snowman
A huge snowman with a big mouth. Calvin placed himself in its mouth to create the impression he was being eaten alive.
2/6 1992: Hill Snowman
A giant, balding snowman with a big nose, seen peeking over the edge of a hill. Only the top of the head and "fingers" grasping the hill were built, but from the right angle it appeared to be part of an entire snowman. It could be a reference to the "Kilroy was here" graffiti phenomenon from WWII.
2/18 1992: Soldier Snowmen
A line of at least six snowmen performing a crisp military salute. Calvin built them next to the walkway so as to salute his father when he returned from work.
2/19 through 2/20 1992: Bourgeois Buffoon and Avant Garde SnowmanTwo snowmen that Calvin built with artistic intentions. Bourgeois Buffoon was a strange, artfully themed sculpture that Calvin intended to make many of. However, he moved on to other projects when his mother refused his grant application. The other was a generic-looking, orthodox snowman that Calvin claimed to be an avant-garde work of art, which worked in secret irony as, despite its avant-garde label, it was popularistic and simple.
2/26 1992: Snowman Head
Not exactly a snowman but still relevant, this was the disembodied head of a snowman that Calvin had left on Susie's doorstep to intimidate her.
2/27 1992: Easter Island Head Snowmen
A lineup of at least six giant snowman heads reminiscent of the Easter Island Moai statues. Calvin built them in the front yard of his house.
The Torment of Existence Weighed Against the Horror of Non-being
A snowman head pondering the difficulty and meaning of life. Its face was stuck in a hideous, agonizing grimace due to the dense subject of its relexions.
Note: Image has been altered to remove irrelevant panels.
1/12 1993: Impaled Snowman Heads
A set of three disembodied snowman heads stuck on branches Calvin placed next to the front walkway of his house.
1/14 1993: Anatomically correct snowman
A nude snowman that Calvin's mother told Calvin to take down in the interest of decency. Calvin built it in the front yard after seeing Susie build an anatomically accurate snowwoman.
1/18 1993: Sick Snowmen
A set of at least four sickly snowmen. One was about to vomit, another was holding his stomach and vomiting, yet another was clutching his throat and a final one had passed out. Calvin built them next to the driveway of his house to emphasize his dislike of the eggplant casserole his mother had prepared for dinner.
1/26 1993: Slave Driver Snowman
This set featured a snow counterpart of Calvin's father ready to flog a snow Calvin. Much like with the mocking snowman, Calvin built it to express how he felt about being told to go out and shovel the walk, and even stole his father's glasses to complete the snowman.
2/17 1993: The Triumph of Perseverance
An ambitious project that Calvin barely even started. Intended as a "monumental, heroic snow sculpture", it never progressed beyond a single medium-sized snowball, after completion of which Calvin was too bored to continue.
3/8 1993: Snowmen Prophets of Doom
A set of three melting snowmen made just before springtime. The sculptures wielded picket signs on which could be made out:
- Repent Sinners
- The End is Near
- Spring is Coming
1/4 1994: Suicidal snowman
A fairly generic snowman with a hot water bottle on its head. Calvin told Hobbes the snowman was using the bottle to commit suicide.
1/10 1994: Snow Monster
A set featuring a monstrous giant snow squid and terrified snowmen running away.
Note: Image has been altered to remove irrelevant content.
1/22 1994: Explorer Snowman
A snowman wearing Calvin's explorer hat and holding up a shrunken head out of a cauldron.
1/23 1994: Hostile aliens
This set featured two snow aliens emerging from a UFO to fire at an Earth snowman. Calvin insisted that it was great art and an expression of high culture.
Note: Image has been altered to remove irrelevant panels.
2/15 1994: Athletic Snowmen
A set of at least three snowmen with gruesome sports-related injuries. One had landed in the snow headfirst after jumping off a springboard, another was golfing with its own head, and a final one was being maniacally stabbed in the head with a tennis racket by another snowman.
2/19 1994: Paleontologist Snowman
A snowman in a hole wearing an archaeologist's hat and carrying a shovel. Calvin said the snowman was looking for snow dinosaurs. When Hobbes asked why the snowman had a sad look on its face, Calvin said that the snowman realized that snow just melts instead of fossilizing.
2/21 1994: Snowman Crossing
A set of numerous snowmen crossing the driveway of Calvin's house, with a "Snowman Crossing" sign nearby. Calvin presumably had to take the set down to make way for the family car.
1/6 1995: Snow Chicken
This set consisted of an oversized snow chicken bringing down an axe to decapitate a "human" snowman, in a role reversal of mankind's meat consumption.
1/12 1995: Snowman and a Crowd
In this set, Calvin was about to throw a small snowman from his room on the second floor to a crowd of equally small snowmen on the ground. From Calvin's perspective, it can be deduced that the snowman was going to throw himself off the roof.
1/21 1995: Snow sharks
This set showed a panicked-looking snowman swimming in the snow, with ominous fins trailing behind to represent "snow sharks".
1/24 1995: Nude Descending A Staircase
A set that featured a nude snowman at the top of a very small snow staircase. Calvin claimed that it was art and would speak to future generations after his passing.
1/29 1995: The Spirit of CompromiseAn unfinished set of two snowmen shaking hands to symbolize the settling of their differences. Calvin would have built one and Hobbes the other, but they quarreled over whose snowman should have had a longer arm to reach the other snowman's hand.
2/1 1995: Snow Dog
A small dog crafted out of snow. Calvin built it so it appeared to be urinating against a fire hydrant.
12/15 1995: Bowling Snowman
This set had a snowman playing ten-pin bowling with the head of another, decapitated snowman at its side. This snowman had managed a 3-6 leave (or, judging by the short distance of the remaining pins from the edge of the lane, a 6-10 leave) after this first bowl.
12/29 1995: Ice cream snowmen
A set of two snowmen. One was enjoying a snow cone, while the other had been stabbed with the ice cream scoop in order to make the snow cone. Calvin referred to it as a "sordid story".
This was the third-to-last Calvin and Hobbes strip.