Can the origin of the "Peeing Calvin" be traced to this gorgeous 1870 French propaganda map? Joshua Glenn thinks it's possible!
What is spiky-haired Sardinia/Corsica doing, with that evil grimace on his face? He’s dropped his pants! He’s peeing!
Mystery solved. The “Calvin Peeing” meme was inspired not by Calvin, but by a 19th century French satirical mapmaker’s caricature of Sardinia and Corsica. Or — more precisely — the “Calvin Peeing” meme is a mashup of the Sardinia-Corsica meme (I’m assuming this is just one of many examples out there, waiting to be discovered; I’d compare it to the “What Me, Worry?” kid meme) and Watterson’s comic strip character.