Paolo Jose's Reviews > Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield Minus Garfield by Jim Davis
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It’s easy to recognize the various unintended meanings hidden in the artifacts of pop culture. But few of us truly attempt to respond to the stuff we consume. One such person is Irish humorist Dan Walsh. Much as he recognizes the iconic appeal of Jim Davis’ Garfield character – the wisecracking, lasagna-scarfing cat – it’s the quiet desperation of Garfield’s owner Jon Arbuckle that won over Walsh’s sympathies. In order to highlight Jon’s sense of desperation, Walsh used digital manipulation to remove Garfield from actual comic strips. Without any of the fat cat’s unimpressed snide comments or manic rejoinders, the reader is left with Jon as a solitary everyman, often muttering to himself pathetically, or bursting out into seemingly random acts of manic inspiration. He began publishing these modified strips online in early 2008 as Garfield Minus Garfield, and quickly became a cult web success.

Initially, this seemed like a surefire way to end up with a hefty lawsuit. Mercifully, Jim Davis was supportive of the project, hailing it as “fascinating” and “inspired”. Recognizing a potential way to expand the franchise, Davis authorized this print edition, which not only collects Walsh’s strips, but also includes a section of new pieces, with Davis himself trying his hand at the Garfield Minus Garfield approach.

The legitimized format allows reprints of the original pieces that Walsh used as source material. This lets readers appreciate exactly what kind of content was displaced along the way, and to recognize how a few strategic tweaks can make a world of difference towards the entire mood of an ordinary four-panel comic strip.


This review was originally published in Fully Booked Zine, December 2008/January 2009.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
April 16, 2013 – Shelved
April 16, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed-for-fully-booked

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