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Garfield Minus Garfield Paperback – October 28, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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, Garfield became a funnier, much darker series, about a desperately lonely, self-loathing man's existential despair. Walsh started posting his altered strips at And in an act that definitely qualifies him for the good sport hall of fame, Davis not only didn't sue him but approved of the project. This collection of the best de-Garfielded strips prints Walsh's altered cartoons next to Davis's originals; Davis even throws in a couple dozen Garfield-minus-Garfield strips he's done himself. Interestingly, Davis's stabs at the concept are mostly just gags about Garfield's owner, Jon Arbuckle. The gist of Walsh's approach, on the other hand, is to completely alter Davis's jokes—a strip in which Garfield displays a single hair, announces this is all I'll be shedding today and marches off before Jon delivers a punch line, after Walsh gets through with it, becomes two panels of Jon silently glancing around before haplessly declaring, I dread tomorrow. If Samuel Beckett had been a strip cartoonist, he might've produced something like this. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jim Davis was born on July 28, 1945, in Marion, Indiana. He later attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where he distinguished himself by earning one of the lowest cumulative grade point averages in the history of the university. (Incidentally, a fellow classmate named David Letterman earned the other). The Garfield strip was born on June 19, 1978, syndicated in forty-one U.S. newspapers. Today it’s syndicated in more than 2,100 newspapers worldwide with more than 200 million readers, leading Guinness World Records to name Garfield The Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip in the World. Davis has had many successes with Garfield, including four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program and induction into the Licensing Hall of Fame (1998), but his most prized awards are from his peers in the National Cartoonist Society: Best Humor Strip (1981 and 1985), the Elzie Segar Award (1990), and the coveted Reuben Award (1990) for overall excellence in cartooning.


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Product Details

  • Series: Garfield
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345513878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345513878
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Davis was born July 28, 1945 in Marion, Indiana, and raised on a small farm with his parents, James and Betty Davis, and his younger brother, Dave (Doc). Like most farms, the barnyard had its share of stray cats; about 25 at one time, by Jim's estimation. As a child, he suffered serious bouts with asthma and was often bedridden. Forced inside, away from regular farm chores, he whiled away the hours drawing pictures.

In college, he studied art and business before going to work for TUMBLEWEEDS creator, Tom Ryan. There, he learned the skills and discipline necessary to become a syndicated cartoonist and began his own strip, GNORM GNAT. When he tried to sell the strip to a newspaper syndicate he was told, "It's funny, but bugs? Who can relate to a bug?" After five years of GNORM, Davis crushed the bug strip idea and tried a new tact, studying the comics pages closely. He noticed there were a lot of successful strips about dogs, but none about cats! Combining his wry wit with the art skills he had honed since childhood, GARFIELD, a fat, lazy, lasagna-loving, cynical cat was born. Davis says Garfield is a composite of all the cats he remembered from his childhood, rolled into one feisty orange fur ball. Garfield was named after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis.

The strip debuted on June 19, 1978 in 41 U.S. newspapers. Several months after the launch, the Chicago Sun-Times cancelled GARFIELD. Over 1300 angry readers demanded that GARFIELD be reinstated. It was, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, GARFIELD is read in over 2400 newspapers by 200 million people. Guinness World Records, named GARFIELD "The Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip in the World." Davis's peers at the National Cartoonist Society honored him with Best Humor Strip (1981 and 1985), the Elzie Segar Award (1990), and the coveted Reuben Award (1990), the top award presented to a cartoonist by NCS members. Garfield quickly became a sensation in the licensing world, too, inspiring Davis to form his own company to take care of Garfield business concerns. Paws, Inc., founded in 1981, manages the worldwide rights for the famous fat cat, and Davis serves as President.

Garfield's fame spilled over to television and Davis penned eleven primetime specials for CBS-TV. He received ten Emmy nominations and four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program. Movies were next, and Twentieth Century Fox turned out Garfield: The Movie ('04), and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties ('06). Davis also wrote the original screenplays and executive produced three animated features for DVD: Garfield Gets Real ('07), Garfield's Fun Fest ('08), and Garfield's Pet Force ('09). Also in 2009, "The Garfield Show" made its debut on Cartoon Network. Today, the CGI animated cartoon is in its fourth season and is seen in 131 countries, including China, where CCTV broadcasts the show daily.
Davis's philanthropy has been directed at educational and environmental projects. He founded The Professor Garfield Foundation in cooperation with Ball State University, to support children's literacy. A free educational web site is the cornerstone of the Foundation's work to date. Davis spearheaded reforestation, prairie and wetlands restorations, and built the world's first all natural waste water plant for commercial use. He was awarded the National Arbor Day Foundation's Good Steward and Special Projects Award, and the Indiana Wildlife Federations' Conservationist of the Year Award.
Davis spends his leisure time golfing, gardening, fishing, and enjoying his wife, children, and grandchildren. In a nod to Garfield's friends in the comic strip, Davis also keeps one cat, Nermal, and a dog, Pooky.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Dan Stanley on November 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Let me get this out of the way first: I am a huge fan of the Garfield Minus Garfield website [...]. In retrospect, I am surprised noboby had thought of it earlier; Jon Arbuckle was talking to a cat this whole time, and with Garfield's removal, Jon's sad, lonely life becomes shockingly apparent. Some strips make Jon appear depressed, while others, he appears to be losing his mind. For almost a year now, Dan Walsh has been removing Garfield from the strips, and I cannot thank him enough for making me laugh with nearly every new update. Essentially, I felt I owed it to him to purchase this book.

Fast forward to the present, where Jim Davis (the creator of Garfield) has embraced Walsh's work and creativity, eventually leading onto the release of this book. In glorious colour and with entertaining, interesting written remarks by the two creative talents, I had nothing but huge anticipation for getting my hands on it.

What surprised me is that the majority of the book contain Garfield Minus Garfield strips already featured on the website, shown against the original comic (where Garfield and others are still present). This is not a bad thing at all; it is obvious that the strips were handpicked with care, essentially leaving us with a 'best of' from the archive found on the Internet. Whether Jon is talking to sock puppets, splattering ice cream into his face, or contemplating how he has wasted his life, you'll laugh yourself to death reading them. It's a great way for those new to the edited strips to get into the craze, or for current fans to revisit their favourites.

At the end of the book are Garfield Minus Garfield strips that Jim Davis himself is responsible for.
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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
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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95 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Stillinger on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
There's one, big, (and for me, crippling) problem with this book: Every page shows the "minus Garfield" version (which is why you bought the book.) But it ALSO shows the original version just below it.

It's like showing how to do a magic trick right after doing it. Or explaining a simple joke right after telling it. It badly undermines the humor and character of the main event.

"Just don't look!" you might say. But your periphery vision is such that you can SEE that there's missing content, and your brain (or mine, anyway) has to either (a) work distractingly hard to avoid it or (b) find out what the missing content is.

I hate to complain about this book, because I really LOVE the web comic. But I find this book unreadable, presumably due to a bad, egotistical or lawyer-related decision.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lasiuta on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is my first enounter with Garfield Minus Garfield, and it has left me in awe. The approach of taking Garfield out of Garfield, leaving Jon to his self depreciating monologues is inspired genius.

Dan Walsh, in his foreword, notes that people have written in citing GMG as mirroring bi-polar disorder. Pretty weighty stuff for a comic strip. Who hasn't had thoughts about watching TV for a whole year? Or done silly walks in private just for a private laugh? I haven't put a plunger to my face yet though (yet).

This is great book that will make you and your sock puppet laugh. [...]
Tim Lasiuta
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Billings on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's something slightly tragic and absolutely hilarious about Garfield once you take out the title cat. We're left with poor, pathetic John talking to himself; on his own, he becomes more of an existentialist philosopher than the fall guy for Garfield's sarcasm.

In a few places, editing the dialogue differently would have made John's newly-discovered monologues even funnier. Some of his responses to Garfield are omitted, presumably on principle, even where they would have made hilarious sense.

Overall, though, this book is a terrific find for those who love Garfield and for those who can't stand him, since you'll find that Garfield becomes a completely different cartoon once you take out Garfield.
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