Wednesday, May 28, 2008


my elementary school used to have some sort of arrangement with a book seller. once a week, we'd get a pamphlet of books for sale. i think it was called The Weekly Reader. i'm sure the idea was to encourage reading but most kids would spend their parents' money on the babysitters' club, maybe a choose your own adventure book or some mad libs. not exactly mind expanding literature. my investment was in comic strips and for a period of 5th grade, i was mildly amused by Garfield books.

years later, i noticed something that entirely changed the comic in my mind. most of the strips are of Jon Arbuckle and his cat Garfield. Jon speaks to Garfield and he responds. my revelation was that Jon's speaking appears in a speech balloon above his head while Garfield's replies are in thought bubbles. little clouds. while Jon is having this conversation out loud, Garfield is having an inner monologue. to the reader, it's an interactive conversation, but in Jon Arbuckle's reality, he's talking to his silent house cat.

then, some time ago, while wondering if anyone else thought this was weird, i came across a site in which someone removed all of Garfield's thought bubbles. it made the comic as if you were witnessing the comic first hand. a lonely guy having conversations with himself.

i thought of it again today for some reason and tried to find the site. instead, i found something even better. its called GARFIELD MINUS GARFIELD.

instead of just taking out Garfield's thoughts, which Jon can't hear anyway, someone omitted Garfield entirely. without the distraction of the orange cat's presence, you get a clear look at how deep Jon Arbuckle's problems really are. here's a sample...

(click to enlarge)
"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar 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 loneliness in a quiet American suburb."
-from garfieldminusgarfield

there are a lot more here. head over and take a ride on the roller coaster that is the fractured, unstable psyche of Jon Arbuckle.


M.K. said...

I does count as normal conversation if it is with a cat! It was unfair to remove Garfield, my cats would attest to that. Go ahead, just ask them. Ask Toddy first, he likes me best.

M.K. said...

There is now a pic of Todd on my blog. He's so cute. He is the first kitty, black and white.