Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fatal Attraction: The Garfield Version

Garfield, April 15, 2008, by Jim Davis
Click image to enlarge.
(Image from

I don't usually like Garfield, but this one struck a funny bone.

I read this in yesterday's issue of the International Herald Tribune but had difficulty locating the comics page online, so I searched elsewhere. In looking for this particular strip, I discovered that Garfield appears in Hungarian, among other languages, and that somebody has even come up with a Garfield Minus Garfield version of Garfield -- apparently for those of us who want our daily "comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life" . . . but without a cat getting in the way.

That's the strip for those of us who hate Garfield but like the ennui.

If you ever wondered why Garfield is so often unfunny, then read Chris Suellentrop's article, "Why we don't hate Garfield," in Slate Magazine (June 11, 2004), which tells of the 'effort' exerted by Jim Davis to make his cat comic successful:
[In 1982,] Davis admitted to spending only 13 or 14 hours a week writing and drawing the strip, compared to 60 hours a week doing promotion and licensing.

Garfield's origins were so mercantile that it's fair to say he never sold out -- he never had any integrity to put on the auction block to begin with. But today Davis spends even less time on the strip than he used to -- between three days and a week each month.
The strip's huge success thus comes not from the minimal humor but from the savvy marketing. Only in America could a relatively untalented man like Jim Davis plagiarize a formula perfected by Charles Schultz and make millions of dollars within the first three years.

If only I'd thought of that...

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At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can imagine Jim Davis is laughing all the way to the bank.
But I personally still miss "The Far Side" and "Calvin & Hobbes," which may say something for my intellect, or lack therof.
Any, Mr.Davis may not be the best, but some of the other strange stuff in the comic section is a lot worse. I kind of like "Garfield." Could I be a hillbilly version of "Jon?"

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm not as down on it as I claimed to be. I usually find it tolerably humorous and occasionally quite funny . . . as today.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:25 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Hey Cran,
"The Far Side" for me too!
and "The Wizard of Id"

At 5:07 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I used to like Pogo:

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

I've found that to be true about myself, namely, that from beginning to end, "My very worst friend . . . was myself."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bloom County.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, Bloom County was dreadful when it first came out, an unfunny ripoff of Doonesbury.

I don't know what it's like now . . . if there is even a now.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, Doonesbury carried its own agenda of far left wing view, mingled with sometimes humorous by-plays by the characters. Trudeau could be vicious with the Bush presidents.
Everyone has their own agenda, I suppose, possibly including bloggers and their responders.
Of course, I am above the fray, and tolerate such meanderings with dry humor and non commital thoughts.............OR DO I???

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Doonesbury is funny even when it annoys me. William F. Buckley himself wrote a foreward to one collection of Trudeau's series and admitted to enjoying the humor despite rejecting the politics.

Jeffery Hodges

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