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April 30th, 2007
07:13 pm
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"Locked fast within a time when he no longer exists ..."
[Infohazard!!]
WARNING: Click links at risk of own sanity

In other news, "Garfield" once actually ran a dramatic storyline.*

(EDITED TO ADD: They've now moved the whole archive into Shockwave Flash, which makes linking to specific comics impossible. You'll have to click on one of the links above, use their search thingy to go to "October 23, 1989", and then click "Next" through the following 6 days. -B)

Seriously. There isn't a punchline in the whole six-day arc.**

I advise my readers to brace themselves before clicking ... younger or more sensitive readers should consider skipping the strips entirely. They will alter your brain for life. This is red pill territory here, and when your compulsion to scrub your eyeballs subsides, you will forever after mourn the loss of the calm, predictable universe you thought you knew.

--
* Their archives don't seem to have any navigation functionality. Control-click (Mac users: command-click) on each of my links in turn to read the whole thing without lots of back-and-forthing.
** Astute readers may argue that this phenomenon is indistinguishable from Garfield's usual content. However, in this case it's deliberate!

Current Location: ~calorg
Current Mood: shockedshocked
Current Music: "Sonero de Bailadores," Internet radio
Tags: ,

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:kadyg
Date:May 1st, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)
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What the hell was that about? I feel all weird and out of sorts now. Like a chill wind just blew across my soul.

*curls up in ball under the covers to re-examine certainties*
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From:lupagreenwolf
Date:May 1st, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
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That's really, really cool. That p[articular run happened when I was too young to really appreciate it, though I do vaguely remember it. Heh--human psychology in the daily funnies. I like it.
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From:frameacloud
Date:May 1st, 2007 04:41 am (UTC)
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It seems a little less shocking to me because I read some of the non-comic Garfield picture books, and they were all like that. One of them was "Garfield's Nine Lives," and the other was "Garfield's Spooky Halloween," unless if I'm wrong. They're both anthologies of short illustrated stories. The former was made into an animated special. I'm uncertain of the degree to which Jim Davis was involved with them, but almost all of the stories were Twilight Zone material, struggling with very dark problems about death. That was why I ended up avoiding Garfield stuff. The newspaper comic tends to be fairly bland and predictable, but the other materials aren't at all.

In Nine Lives, there was one where his incarnation in ancient Egypt faces the prospect of being buried alive. In another incarnation (which I'm assuming was a story that was written separately by someone else and adapted to fit the theme) was a bittersweet story about someone's cat who loved sleeping on the piano, and went there to die, told with all the sorrowful affection that a person would have about the death of their cat. I cried when I watched that. That was in the animated one, but not in the book, I think. Likewise, I seem to recall that the anthropomorphic film noir story, Sam Spayed, was only in the book. In his ninth life, set in a high-tech future, Garfield realizes that since this is his last life, there is nothing after this. If he dies in this one, it will be the end. He regrets having spent some of his earlier lives so rashly, ending them in such haste during dangerous adventures.

In Garfield's Spooky Halloween, there was a sad ghost story where they go camping and ever-lonely Jon falls in love with a hiker and they talk for a long time in a cabin, but then she's gone. It turns out that she was someone who had fallen into a ravine and died a long time ago. The really distressing horror story was the one where Garfield looks into a mirror and sees himself shaved and covered in scars, even though he's still okay... but not for long.

Not reassurring stuff at all. As I said, I don't know how much Jim Davis was involved in making those stories, but he seems to like Twilight Zone stuff of that variety.
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From:baxil
Date:May 1st, 2007 05:54 am (UTC)
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...

... Holy crap. I had completely suppressed the knowledge until you brought it up, but I've read "Nine Lives" too. I owned it as a kid. I bet I could even find it again.

I remember reading it multiple times. I liked it. It left an impact on me. How soon we forget ...

It was the private eye that jogged my memory (but I can place all of the stories you cite.) The art style was exquisite, evocative; like nothing associated with Garfield before or since.

For those with no idea what we're talking about: Wikipedia's article gives some of the details, but none of the flavor. I'm going home this weekend. I really will have to search for it.
[User Picture]
From:elynne
Date:May 1st, 2007 08:38 am (UTC)
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If you find it, scan it? I remember reading it as a kid, but I'm not sure I remember how much of it stuck... and yeah, wow. Huh...
[User Picture]
From:frameacloud
Date:May 1st, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
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There should be a hardcover copy in your local library system.
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From:baxil
Date:May 22nd, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
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I did find it, btw! I've been procrastinating on scanning it, but at least I can bring it to the con with me ...
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From:elynne
Date:May 22nd, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
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Yay! See you in a few days, then. ;)
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From:momentrabbit
Date:May 1st, 2007 01:26 pm (UTC)
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I had it, too. "The petrified weasel of BOOOOOGA!" "All the rats you can eat!"

On reflection, it was a little oddly out of synch with the theme of the comics, wasn't it?
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From:frameacloud
Date:May 1st, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
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Hey, cool! Glad to have jogged your memory of a book that you were fond of.
From:axonfuel
Date:May 1st, 2007 08:51 am (UTC)
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Wait, what the hell just happened? Is Garfield seeing his own death? Has he come unstuck in time? Is the real Garfield trapped in the Black Lodge? This is strange and incomprehensible...
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From:baxil
Date:May 1st, 2007 08:58 am (UTC)
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One interesting theory (from the forum I randomly swept through long enough to pick up the link) is that that sequence was meant to mark the end of Garfield's life, and that every strip since -- especially since the strip has narrowed focus considerably from its origins, mostly down to just Jon and Odie and Garfield -- is a delusion or hallucination of a sad pet owner in denial.

(Garfield is a very different strip if it's assumed to be about the owner, not about the cat. Cf. Arbuckle.)
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From:ounceofreason
Date:May 1st, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
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Somehow they're worse than an ordinary Garfield strip, and that takes some doing.

There is a way to make Garfield comics funny, however: if you remove all of Garfield's dialogue, the strip takes on a sort of Zen/pathetic vibe. Very entertaining.
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From:baxil
Date:May 2nd, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
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Have you seen Arbuckle, perchance?
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From:eredien
Date:March 28th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
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You *have* seen "Garfield minus Garfield", right?
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:March 29th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
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It started in February 2008 (about nine months after this post), but yes, I have since been made aware. :) I see Arbuckle and G-G as cousins; keeping Garfield in but removing the speech bubbles is a different effect from having Jon talk into thin air.

Speaking of Garfield culture jamming, have you read Square Root of Minus Garfield?
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From:thrames
Date:May 1st, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
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I didn't find it particularly eye-opening or the like. However, I have wrestled with existentialism and atheism enough at this point that the whole battle of man versus time seems kind of blase. Acceptance of my own, very real death, the fact that all that I am and was shall be washed away, the inherent meaninglessness of the universe, and such mean that this story arc doesn't inspire some sort of existential dread in me at the thoughts of the future or that my own mind restructures memories or anything like that. It's all knowledge that I accept, though, I don't particularly like it and sometimes the thought of my own, personal extinction is a terrifying thing, indeed.

That, or I just don't get the comic.
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From:baxil
Date:May 2nd, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
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Oh, no worries; the "infohazard" thing was definitely tongue-in-cheek. The mind-blowing thing is that Garfield -- of all comic strips -- was the one to tackle it; one of the most consistently banal, predictable, contentless pieces of spew on the funny pages.

It's almost breathtaking, actually, how overblown the strip itself is. I can only hope that it was originally meant to parody some piece of pop culture now lost to the ages; if it was done in earnest, it's just painful.

As mentioned upthread, though, The "Nine Lives" Garfield book has a genuinely moving look at similar themes.
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From:kevynjacobs
Date:March 27th, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)
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Garfield sucks.
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