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Garfield Minus Garfield Paperback – October 28, 2008
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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 garfieldminusgarfield.net. 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.)
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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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Top customer reviews
I have to admit, I was practically rolling on the floor reading this book. The sheer insanity of Jon has never been so perfectly captured, and I truly hope that another collection of these is eventually made. Buy this book, and buy it now!
Another interesting thing was the forward by the "editor" of the Garfield comics, and how he received fan mail from people who suffered from things like depression and other mental issues, and how they identified with Jon. I initially read through the book without having read the forward, but then after reading said forward...I read the book again, and from an entirely different set of eyes and enjoyed it on a whole 'nother dimension.
You do really have to feel sorry for Jon by the end of the book, though. That guy's so sad. *laughs*
You see, I WANTED to like it. Before I could even read, I watched the animated series "Garfield and Friends." It was witty and fun and had an exciting cast of characters. I was sorry to learn that the comic strip lacked these qualities. For a few years, I read on in hopes that it would make me laugh, but to no avail. Garfield squishes a spider. Jon can't get a date. Garfield is lazy and eats lasagna. (Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.)
Flash forward almost two decades later, and I happen across an article about a website titled "Garfield Minus Garfield." A man named Dan Walsh has taken the animals out of old "Garfield" strips, transforming lame-o stories about a sassy cat into dark, hilarious glimpses into the life of a severely disturbed man. All of a sudden, "Garfield" is funny... because Garfield isn't there at all!
In one early strip, Jon says "I've done things in my life that I regret." The next two panels consist of him just sitting there with a blank expression on his face. In another, Jon stuffs himself with food and says out loud "sometimes I have to wonder... where is my life taking me?" He spends the last panel silent, with a sad look on his face.
Warped! Depraved! Brilliant!
And here's something I never thought I would say: Jim Davis has a great sense of humor. (No, really! Not only did he not sue Walsh's pants off, but he praised his clever idea and even created a few new "G-G" strips for this book.)
I bought this book for my grandfather (a long time "funnies" reader who hates "Garfield" even more than I do), and... well... he SAYS he likes it. I don't know; maybe he doesn't share my warped sense of humor in this regard. I hope he does, anyway.
I like it. In fact, I love it. The only reason I'm giving the book 4 stars instead of 5 is that the original comic strips appear next to the "Minus Garfield" versions (which I think hurts the joke by removing the mystery).
Nonetheless, "Garfield Minus Garfield" is a great book. Dan Walsh seems to have the Midas touch. He's turned something of little value into hilarious comedic gold... warped, twisted comedic gold...
Nope, not a single word.