Calvin is an unbelievably intelligent six-year-old. Hobbes is his tiger friend who plays the role of Jiminy Cricket, casual observer, and savage beast. This strip introduces their dynamic rather well. Calvin's a grossly misbehaving child, and no matter how he tries, he can't betray his nature.
It's kind of refreshing to see a strip that doesn't feel the need to have an uplifting message, or feel like it needs to point out that it's mean to whack an innocent person upside the dome with a snowball.