I think it's an improvement, though I'm not sure it will work on a regular basis.
In this instance, with Daisy on hand, subtracting Blondie turns the strip into Garfield with Garfield's thought balloons removed: Daisy becomes Garfield (take that, Garfield), and Dagwood becomes Jon, speaking blandly to no one. Subtracting Blondie makes clear how little genuine communication there is between Bumsteads: here, as in so many strips, Blondie functions as the silent audience for Dagwood's "observational comedy." Let her go out and live her life, says I.
Subtracting Blondie also calls attention to the waste land in which Dagwood struggles. That wall: is it a wall, or is it empty space? That piece of furniture: very like a coffin. And those speech balloons: it took a lot of work to get them looking semi-right with Blondie out of the picture.
Garfield minus Garfield
Telephone exchange names on screen ("Dagwood Rumstad")
Monday, April 21, 2008
By Michael Leddy at 6:50 AM