Thursday, March 27, 2008

Garfield minus Garfield

It's been clear for some time that Garfield can be improved by removing Garfield's thought balloons. More recently, it's become clear that Garfield is better still — funnier, richer, stranger — when one removes Garfield.

Let us begin with familiar Garfield territory. A stupid man! A snarky cat!

Alas, the punchline self-destructs: if Garfield himself is indeed good at doing nothing, why must he imply that? Why must he even think? Remove the thought balloon and the scene changes drastically:

Now Garfield's eloquent silence tells us all we need to know about what it's like to be stuck in a comic strip with this man. There's no need for words. But remove Garfield and things are even better:

Now Jon is all alone with his thoughts, such as they are. He's Estragon without Vladimir, or a figure from The Waste Land. He seems to realize that in the final panel, "Looking into the heart of light, the silence."

Reader, try this strategy at home, and see if it gives you a value-added comics experience.

And to the creator of the Garfield-minus-Garfield reading strategy, wherever you might be: Thanks!

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Blondie minus Blondie

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

In a similar effort to breathe new life into a trite and tired strip, the Onion runs a Spanish version of Cathy (O Cathy, when will that bathing suit ever fit?!) Alas, I'm afraid it only works for those of us who have no Spanish.

Michael Leddy said...

Is it only in the print edition? Ack! (What's the Spanish for "ack"?)