I’ll admit it – as a kid, I went on a Garfield binge. I had every single Garfield book from #1 onwards, until around #30 or so, at which point the exponential decay of the quality curve became apparent even to me. Luckily by then I had discovered Calvin and Hobbes which was basically Garfield, but funnier, genuinely intellectual, and with characters I could actually relate to. In other words, the opposite of Garfield, and just in time for my transition from childhood to adolescence.
I dunno where all my Garfield books are now – probably in a box in my parents’ garage – but after ~20 years there’s finally a Garfield book I want to buy again – Garfield Minus Garfield, which has been endorsed by The Jim Davis himself. I previouslyraved about the sublime introspection that the concept of G-G brings to what used to be inane and vapid nonsense, and G-G figures prominently in my dwindling RSS subscriptions. But now we can enjoy it the way it was meant to be. The use of the same form factor as the mainstream Garfield books is a nice touch.
This is one of the best Garfield Minus Garfield strips I have ever seen. The whole concept works best when Garfield is not just removed, but actually obsoleted from having to exist at all. The strip is almost a summary of the entire point of G-G – Jon’s literal descent into madness. Brilliantly done.
Brilliant. I especially love how Jobbes turns into a stuffed toy when the parents or others are around. The artwork is perfect, but the comic has a sharp edge, too:
Calvin: Jeez! How come all your stuff so expensive, Jobs?
Jobs: Well, Calvin, it’s carefully put together by some of the world’s most ingenious craftsmen!
Calvin: Really? But isn’t it slapped together in China like just about everything else?
Jobs: I was talking about our ads.
I’ve been proselytizing Garfield Minus Garfield for a while now, so I’ve seen them all. However the latest is I think a true masterpiece, in how the presence of Garfield was subtle to begin with, and how the omission truly changes the meaning of the strip in a profound way. It’s brilliant. I’m stealing it.