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Garfield Minus Garfield

2 Ratings: 4.5
A book by Jim Davis

In an act that should qualify him for the brilliant editors hall of fame, Dan Walsh discovered that if all traces of Jim Davis's lazy, lasagna-scarfing cat were expunged from his own comic strip,Garfieldbecame a funnier, much darker series, about a desperately … see full wiki

Author: Jim Davis
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Ballantine Books
1 review about Garfield Minus Garfield

He wasn't there all along

  • Dec 19, 2008
Rating:
+5
Taking Garfield out of "Garfield" is a clever concept, and also a pretty insightful recognition that -- as with Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts," but on a much less profound level -- there's an awful lot of sadness at the heart of this strip. When you start from the premise that cats can't talk, and that therefore Jon never shares in Garfield's interior monologue or the (alleged) punchlines of the jokes, all you're left with is a man struggling with failure, rejection, and the occasional runaway electric toothbrush. It's kind of like The Book of Bunny Suicides. Funny, but also a disturbing.

But not to get too heavy. "Garfield" is still a comic strip, and there are a few laughs to be found here. What I am particularly impressed by, though, is not only Jim Davis' ability to see the joke, but also his willingness to run with it instead of sending in the intellectual-property attorneys with cease-and-desist orders. That raises him quite a bit in my estimation. Of course, in keeping with the spirit of the Big Orange Cat Empire, Davis is making a buck off this book -- it's his name in the byline, with Dan Walsh, the guy who had the insightful recognition in the first place, granted but a Foreword. Still, for "Garfield" fans who want to see the strip in a new, and perhaps unsettling, way, or for readers who enjoy a sort of meta-analysis of a long-running media presence, "Garfield Minus Garfield" has a surprising amount going for it.

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