Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

This is an AV Club story

So many webcomics eventually get collected into book form that we decided to leave webcomics as a whole off this list, but 
Garfield Minus Garfield
isn't actually a webcomic so much as an anti-newspaper-comic. Creator Dan Walsh finds the weirdness and angst in Jim Davis' committee-created, achingly banal comic strip Garfield by erasing the title character, plus selected word balloons from other characters, in order to leave Garfield's owner Jon Arbuckle alone in the strip. The results are surreal and depressing: Jon talks to himself, attempts to amuse himself, and bursts into tears, or just winds up staring blankly at walls. But Walsh isn't just creating Dada nonsense, he's pointing out that this Garfield is a cat, cats can't talk, and Jon really is just talking creepily to himself whenever he "converses" with his grouchy pet. The recent book collection Garfield Minus Garfield—approved by Davis, who'll seemingly approve anything for a buck—goes the website one better by showing the original strips alongside the altered ones. Oddly, this makes Walsh's recreations less funny, since it's much clearer how dumb the strips were to start with.