A pearl from the greatest comic strip ever:
And while we are on Calvin & Hobbes, take a look at this post by Dilbert creator Scott Adams in which he disects the humour in C & H.
The core of humor is what I call the 2-of-6 rule. In order for something to be funny, you need at least two of the following elements:
Cute (as in kids and animals)
Recognizable (You’ve been there)
I invented this rule, but you can check for yourself that whenever something is funny it follows the rule. And when something isn’t, it doesn’t. One of the reasons comics are such a popular form of humor is that they often get the cute part automatically. Calvin and Hobbes is widely considered the best comic ever, but the few times it featured the parents doing the main action, it fell flat. Whenever it combined Calvin and Hobbes (both exceedingly cute), with some witty dialog (clever), a dangerous wagon ride (cruel), Calvin acting like a typical kid (recognizable), and thinking about adult philosophy (bizarre) it fired on 5-of-6 humor elements, which is virtually unheard of.