We have owned these books for years now, but only finally took them out of the plastic late last year when I was jonesing for a new Complete Peanuts collection. I had waited so long for two reasons. 1) the books were still beautiful and shiny; 2) they are huge (note: these reasons explain why The Complete Far Side, purchased at the same time, remains in plastic).
#2 is why it took me three months to read it. I used to read a Calvin and Hobbes collection in one or two sittings all the time. This 7+pound book is not nearly as so wieldy as my old paperback collections were.
But the joy is no less.
It a weird experience to read a strip you still know by heart more than a decade after still reading it and yet laugh yourself silly.
And while it's not as true for me as it is for professionals of my generation (eg Jake Parker), I too can look at a picture I would stare at for long minutes (they got funnier as each minute passed) and realize yeah, hey, that influenced the way I draw.
God bless you, Bill Watterson.