Sdtrk: ‘Skunk’ by The Jon Spencer Blues explosion
What exactly is it about Garfield™® that engenders so much contempt amongst upright-walking, thinking beings? I think the reason goes beyond its feeble and saccharine attempts at humour; in fact, for me, it’s precisely because it tries to be as inoffensive as possible is the reason I wish to see Jim Davis’ head on a pike outside the city gates. I can understand wanting to create comics that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, but as a wise Mancunian once remarked, ‘If you pander to the public, art can never exist’.
Luckily, it seems of late that more and more people are realising that there actually are trace elements of humour to be found in Garfield™®, if you have a powerful enough viewing device to see it. Recently, I discovered three separate sites that have a reductionist approach to putting the ‘comic’ back into that ‘comic strip’. First, I give you Arbuckle:
In 1978, Jim Davis began a newspaper comic strip called “Garfield”. For almost thirty years, this strip has endured, primarily because its inoffensive, storyless humour is immediately accessible. It is, if not quite the Lowest Common Denominator of the comic world, at least as close to it as one can get without being obviously mediocre.
The comic changes dramatically when one removes the thought bubbles.
“Garfield” changes from being a comic about a sassy, corpulent feline, and becomes a compelling picture of a lonely, pathetic, delusional man who talks to his pets. Consider that Jon, according to Garfield canon, cannot hear his cat’s thoughts. This is the world as he sees it. This is his story.
They’re accepting submissions, so if you’re feelin’ mischievous and want to redo a strip yourself, contact the site owner to check to see someone else hasn’t done the one you want first.
Then you’ve got Garfield minus Garfield:
Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?
Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.
Yes, Jon is that much more unsettling when he’s the only person in the room. I love the ones where they redo the extended Sunday versions, and the first panel that usually has the title ‘Garfield’ in it, is completely blank.
Finally, there’s Lasagna Cat, which is not so much ‘reductionist’, as ‘singularly disturbing’. But that description really fits when you’re dealing with live-action reenactments of various Garfield™® strips, with rimshots and canned laughter and the actors holding still in lieu of a freeze-frame. Yeah. After viewing a couple of these, you can announce to the world that you have indeed seen everything it has to offer, and you can now return to your Maker with no regrets. My particular favourite?
Hallucinatory. But funny! And when’s the last time you could honestly say that about an unadulterated Garfield™® comic?
And with this post, I hereby announce the new category, G******d (which has actually been there for a bit of a while, but nevertheless). Come, share the Hate with me
ta very much to aneamo for the ‘Garfield minus Garfield’ link
Random similar posts, for more timewasting:
I hate fat orange cats that complain about Mondays on January 7th, 2005
And they called it 'cyberspace' on February 16th, 2006