For some of us now (cough) heading into our forties, no comic strip was more an ingrained part of life than Garfield. Begun in 1978, Jim Davis’s über-middlebrow strip — about a lazy, lasagna-loving cat who torments his hapless owner, Jon — captured a certain Generation X type: a single, slacker guy who attempts to lure the ladies back to his pad but is always thwarted by his mischievous cat.
Now, thanks to the anonymously authored website Garfield Minus Garfield, the comic strip has taken on a totally different, complex tone. On the site, the title character has been digitally removed from the strips. The result isn’t a chuckle at the cute, simple-minded three-panel narrative but an often-actually-funny look at the frailties of man (“I’m an empty grocery sack”) combined with a series of Zen-like bons mots (“Life . . . this is it”).
If you haven’t looked at Garfield in the past 20 years, now might be the time to see just how fun and brilliant it can be — in an altered state.
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