7 Hilarious Garfield Variants
The comic strip Garfield has endured since 1978, when Jim Davis invented the lovable triad of Garfield, Odie, and their owner Jon Arbuckle. As a seven-year-old kid, I was a big fan -- Garfield loved lasagna, and so did I. Odie (the dumb dog) was Garfield's nemesis, so I decided that dogs were dumb. Garfield hated Mondays and diets...you get the idea.
Garfield as a comic strip succeeds mainly because it's so accessible and bite-sized, featuring a predictable three-panel format. This accessibility has made the cartoon bland, leading creative cartoonists to remix Garfield into new strips, often reusing art, dialogue, and other portions of the original. While the remixes are of questionable legality (many are arguably parodies, others maybe not), they are consistently funny and weird. Because the humor primarily involves bleak madness, absurdism, and the absence of Garfield as a meaningful companion, comparisons to the work of Beckett come up a lot.
The primary fact that's central to most of these alternate versions of Garfield is that, in the actual comic, Jon can't hear Garfield's thoughts. By shifting the perspective away from Garfield's inner life, Jon's life comes into sharp relief: he's an isolated man whose home life with his pets is, at best, troubling. Enjoy!
Garfield has been replaced with a regular orange tabby, minus thought bubbles. The site is in Spanish, but an auto-translation does a good job of explaining the effect:
Jon goes from being a beloved character to be a paranoid and shy type who talks to his cat ... which of course is not answered.
Garfield's thought bubbles have been removed, but nothing else changes. Jon's paranoia is revealed.
3. Garfield Minus Garfield
Garfield has been removed completely. Jon is alone with his madness, and there's a whole book of this (listing Jim Davis as the author, though these strips are based on work by Dan Walsh...which are based on work by Jim Davis).
(More Garfield Minus Garfield.)
4. The Garfield Randomizer
What if you randomly recombined Garfield panels to make a new comic? Would it still be funny? You be the judge.
In which Garfield has some intestinal issues. (Note: it gets pretty gross.)
7. Lasagna Cat
Deeply weird videos, some involving live action, recreating original Garfield strips. Here's one (there are dozens), bearing the description "Garfield is caught trying to harm Odie with a bone":
More Alternate-Universe Garfield Stuff
Check out Arbuckle, a community project in which artists re-draw the strip, minus Garfield's thought bubbles, but retaining Jon's dialogue. Also, don't miss The Death of Garfield, a collection of strips in which Garfield assumes his "death pose" and his thought bubbles are removed, raising the possibility that Garfield is indeed dead. Nothing Garfield is similar -- a collection of edited strips in which most of the text has been removed, typically leaving us with a very odd impression of Garfield and Jon. Finally, Garfield Variations features (mostly charming, sometimes NSFW) re-drawn variants of Garfield in new contexts.
If remixing Garfield isn't your thing, check out the official Garfield website, which features daily comics, comic archives, desktop widgets to show you the comic, and even e-cards. For more _floss coverage of Garfield, see: The Quick 10: Happy Birthday, Garfield!
Man, I still hate Mondays and love lasagna. Some things never change.
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