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garfield minus garfield

March 16, 2009

On to the next one, in my 20 best series. Short and sweet today.

I’m not really sure if this one qualifies as a web comic. It is a comic, and it is online but it’s not really one guy’s work that he created. Well, technically he did create…hmm.

I’ve known about this one for a while but my questions above indicate why I’ve never reviewed it before now. It’s original and it’s not. It’s art and it’s not. It’s someone’s work and it’s not. A list of conundrums that make me question whether or not this counts as a web comic.

The debate comes down to whether or not changing someone else’s work actually counts as your own creativity and therefore making it a web comic. I kind of feel that you can’t call it a web comic, or comic, if it’s not yours.

It’s a weird discussion that I don’t have the answer to and I’m not going to make one up so I sound as if I’ve got some authority on the issue because I don’t.

Let’s just get this one done and call it good.

Background: Well, as we all know the original Garfield comic was created in the 1980s by Jim Davis. It became relatively popular getting book deals, toys, those plush things that you stuck to your car window, two live action movies, and a cartoon series.

In 2008, Dan Walsh decided to create a website devoted to removing the main character, Garfield, from various strips from the comic.

He asserts on the website that he never came up with the idea but that he was the first to collect strips and remove Garfield from them onto one website. Apparently Jim Davis actually approves of it.

The popularity of this comic explodeded and in less than a year there has already been a book made of garfield strips sans garfield.

The Comic: Well…I already talked about the premise above.

The interesting thing about this “comic” is the otherside of Jon Arbuckle that readers get to see. It’s quite depressing without Garfield’s pithy commentary.

One sees a lonely, crazy, pathetic man living out his life in what amounts to crushing boredom. Some of the strips are pretty funny and others are just out and out depressing. It’s a rather strange look into a comic character’s life.

There really isn’t much more to say about it. I could go into the psychology of the thing, the artistic meaning, etc. I don’t care enough.  This experiment is something that I take at face value. Much introspection than that and I think it would ruin the enjoyment of it.

My recommendation: I like this idea. It’s interesting and some of the chosen strips come off much funnier. Yeah, there are some that don’t really connect because it’s obvious that there should be another being in the strip but the ones that do hit you in the right places.

Check it out for yourself.



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