typed for your pleasure on 21 May 2008, at 1.00 pm

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

Garfield, as written by Samuel Beckett on August 6th, 2006

10 have spoken to “Grfld”

  1. Miss Hyde writes:

    I’m baaaaaack!!!!!!
    And Rather diapointed that none of the boy toy dolls look like me yet!!
    I demand that Miss July (my birthday of corse) Has sholderlength side parted brown hair!

    Or else!


    Garfield™® is G.O.D



  2. PBShelley writes:

    Hullo Miss Hyde, and welcome back (speaking for myself and not the squire 😉 )

    Hmm… this is obviously a new meaning of the term G.O.D., unless it means “grinding orneriness and delusion.” Or something. It’s 3:30AM and hard to make this stuff up :p

    Actually, since I read Garfield every day (no, not for pleasure exactly, I just want my newspaper’s moneys-worth), I wonder when Davecat will make another Garfield post, and, lo-and-behold! Here it is, a place where I can vicariously vent my heightened annoyance at that fat striped cat. I’ve hated him for soooo long… perhaps here we can discover why, exactly. It’s weird.

    Garfield Davis troubles me; what can I say? I ponder the meaning of their lives and come up empty. I wonder if that’s significant? Hm. Anyway, congrats on the new G******d category; it’s about time! Now to fill it with appropriate spleenage…

    PBS, & Lily (who skips the funnies ‘cos she doesn’t get most of the humor), & Eden (who thinks Garfield is “cute”)

  3. SafeTinspector writes:

    Christ help me, the Garfield Minus Garfield strips are hilarious.
    The video thing is amusing as well, although I don’t face my doom with as much sanguinininity as you, so it must not have left as much of an impression upon me as you.

  4. SafeTinspector writes:


  5. SafeTinspector writes:

    MAY 6!!
    Ok. I’ll stop now..

  6. Laura writes:

    I feel like an outcast….I’ve always liked Garfield, especially the cartoon series. The same guy who voice Peter on “The Real Ghostbusters” voiced him.
    I’m also ashamed to admit that I was singinsg along to the Alan Jackson track on the video.

  7. Davecat writes:

    Hyde-chan –
    You are indeed back! Good! 🙂

    Perhaps you should write your congressman (or whatever alternate universe equivalent you have in Engerland) and demand that the Miss July Boy Toy should resemble you. That’s something everyone could benefit from 😉

    PBS and misses –
    ‘I read Garfield every day (no, not for pleasure exactly, I just want my newspaper’s moneys-worth)’
    Gods, how I laughed when I read that. It’s the equivalent of
    ‘You’ll eat it, and you’ll like it!’
    ‘I’ll eat it, but I won’t like it.’ 😀

    At one point, SafeT reminded me that when the Garfield™® strip first started out, the cat was more ornery and malicious, as well as more grotesque-looking. But between following his own path and MAKING MUCHO DINERO, Davis caved.
    It can happen to anyone, really; Akira Toriyama had finished his long-running series Dragonball, but Toei animation wanted him to continue feeding the cash cow. They threw some money at him, and Dragonball GT was created, but with nominal involvement from Toriyama.

    You can also argue that the longer a particular artist’s backcatalogue stretches, the less likely it is to maintain quality. Stereolab’s been around 18 years (!!), and in my opinion, they’re not as exciting as they used to be. Fans of the Stone Roses had to wait five years for the band’s long-awaited second album, only to discover it was shite. I only hope that doesn’t happen with My bloody valentine…

    I guess my point is that if an artistic product, for lack of a better term, keeps getting drawn out for longer than it should be, the quality may be compromised. Heh, just take a look at ‘Shouting etc etc’!

    How about a new site: Garfield minus everyone? It would simply have blank panels, all the time. Incredibly easy to draw!

    Laura –
    It’s okay, we still like you. YEEEE-HAW 🙂

    And yeah, Lorenzo Music! Although he only did the first series of The Real Ghostbusters; some other bloke came in for the second series. Now that needs to be on DVD…

  8. Miss Hyde writes:

    hehe, and where would I write to to demand that miss July is Hyde style?

  9. SafeTinspector writes:

    DC, your idea for a “Garfield – ALL” would be a post-apocalyptic, poignant and mournful look at an empty world. Not so funny, but meaningful.
    You now have a mandate.

  10. Davecat writes:

    Give me about a month. This should be fun. 🙂

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