The comic Garfield has taken a lot of grief on the web in the past few days, most of it deserved. The comic has been around since the 1970s and it really just isn’t that funny. For instance, Garfield Without Garfield makes the strip much funnier by removing Garfield entirely. The resultant strips show Jon Arbuckle talking to himself, with hilarious results. The description says it all:
Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolor disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness in a quiet American suburb.
And then there’s Lasagna Cat, which is a collection of cleverly edited “tributes” to Garfield cartoons that start with a hysterical live actor costume reenactment of a Garfield strip, then segue into bizarre musical numbers. You must see it.
However, Garfield has also had its moments. This series of six strips, published in the week leading up to Halloween 1989, is actually very clever and thought-provoking. I wish more Garfield comics were like this, then I might actually bother reading it regularly. Some urban legends seem to be circulating saying that these strips are hoaxes; they are not, and were published in all newspapers in which Garfield was syndicated. I’ve linked the comics to Garfield.com’s archive as proof.