“Hey, this isn’t anime!”, I hear some of you exclaim.
Well, too bad for you, because Garfield is a manga as per Japan’s definition, so it counts!
Garfield is a famous comic strip that started in 1978 about a cat who hates Mondays and loves lasagna, and his interactions with his owner, Jon Arbuckle.
Garfield Minus Garfield is the exact same thing, except, you guessed it-
It’s downright hilarious how depressing Garfield comics can get without the biting wit of our resident orange cat, or any other character, for that matter. It’s all Jon, all the way down.
Garfield minus Garfield is an existential look at the deranged and sad person that Jon Arbuckle truly is. Without Garfield’s anything, what we’re left with are the random thoughts of a deeply unhinged man who gets a bit too relatable at times.
Most times though, he’s just insane.
It’s a fascinating project that is still going strong to this day. The story of how Garfield came to be certainly gives us some clues as to why Garfield minus Garfield works so well as a parody.
So you see, one day, Jim Davis said “I want to make a lot of money”. With that in mind, he made Garfield.
That’s the whole story. That honest but cynical approach lends a lot of credence to why Jon Arbuckle is one of the most cynical men in newspaper comic strip history. The creator literally just wanted to make the big bucks and made the most appealing comic he could with as wide of an audience as possible. Despite the corny jokes, there’s a layer of cynicism to Garfield that can’t be understated.
Garfield minus Garfield was so successful that Jim Davis actually got wind of the parody, and what did he think of it? If his introduction to the official Garfield Minus Garfield book is of any indication, he found it hilarious and embraced the sadness of Jon’s life.
Now, that’s Garfield without Garfield, but what about Garfield with too much Garfield?
This terrifying piece of art by Will Burke started the trend of the insatiable eldritch horror that is-
I love these art pieces. Of course, the concept of ruining a childhood icon by making it more adult is nothing new. Family Guy has been doing awful parodies of beloved Sesame Street characters since time immemorial.
What almost nobody has really done is taking a beloved mascot from a simple comic with a simple premise, and turned it into an eldritch abomination. It’s a simple change, but the effect is wonderfully strong. The contrast with how supposedly charming and family-friendly the source material is to Will Burke’s own terrifying work is probably half of the fun/fear of it. If it were just a normal eldritch horror drawing, most people will probably think “cool” and move on. Associating it with a beloved comic character? Unforgettable.
The subreddit r/imsorryjon is rife with horrific content for any of you sickos out there who want to make a monster out of a childhood icon.
That’s all for today! Hopefully I can find something that’s actually anime tomorrow.
I doubt it.