The Time Garfield Soared (By Dying In An Apocalypse)
Jim Davis’ Garfield is the rice cake of newspaper comic strips: bland, manufactured by machines, and devoid of all nutrients and artificial sweeteners. It is there to fill you until you get to Foxtrot or Get Fuzzy elsewhere on the page. Amidst the decades of lasagna jokes, there was a week when Jim Davis got deep as a fucking well.
That may be exaggerating, but when the rest of your work has never pushed any boundaries other than perhaps offending The Society Against Seeing Spiders Smashed With A Newspaper, anything of substance like a large leap up.
This brings us to October 23, 1989 wherin Garfield wakes up in a wasteland, left to wander the Earth alone much like a Stephen King gunslinger.
You’re starting to wonder where the punchlines are. Know that when I read this as a wee lad, I was gripped by it’s embrace. Gripped tightly like a underage girl’s vagina around her “scene” boyfriend’s manhood.
I wanted nothing more than Garfield to go into that room and find a Dire Odie, an animal old and twisted by time. He would probably look like something the Grim Reaper rode upon.
Holy hell. Where am I? What is happening? Imagine being a young reader, absorbing it day by day, and being hit with this bombshell. How would you wait for the Friday post? The internet was not yet a thing for posting conspiracy theories, and odds are your middle school buddies are hitting a ball around the yard instead of reading comic adventures. Who would you possibly turn to?
Damn. Things are different in Garfield. I am down. Give me a Garfield tattoo over my forearm. He means business. This is STORYTELLING. What’s going to happen during the Sunday comic?
I’ll be shutting my brain off now.
One shouldn’t forget Garfield’s Pet Force, a serious sci-fi book series where the main characters from the strip gain super powers and do battle in outer space. You know Garfield’s stuffed bear, Pooky? (of course you do) In this book, he is half-computer, half-bear, full hyper-intelligent. He is Professor X.
In an interview, Davis mentioned he simply wanted to scare people. His wish granted, Davis went back to the regular rotation that has not changed for two decades. Just imagine what adventures would happen if Davis wished to make us cry, love, or become erect.