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Friday, July 28, 2006

Trend: Jon gets laid. The end of newspaper comics.

Lance Bass is gay! Floyd Landis is doping! The week's been full of earth-shattering events, but one you may have missed are the developments in the world of Garfield. Yes, Garfield the cat. I'll get to why this is important in a bit, but first of all you should check out the best indepth commentary on Garfield out there at Permanent Monday. I'd suggest quickly scrolling down to the bottom of the page and reading upwards (just like they do in Australia!) to follow the storyline.

My favorite bit: Ladies and gentlemen -- or more accurately, those in the audience who are not gentlemen -- I think we all know we're not looking at a hot fudge sundae. We're looking at the promise of easy Ellen-sex manifested in the form of a three-scoop ice cream dessert nightmare. And that, folks, is not a bad metaphor. It's so smart to provide a physical temptation for Garfield that puts him in the same dilemma as Jon, because otherwise his disinterest in human sex lives would render him useless as a foil for Jon in this story. Setting two characters with opposite moral genetic structures into similar moral conflicts, you have a great chance to illustrate something profound about humanity. It's the Garfield equivalent of Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Brilliant. The reason why this is important is that nothing remotely interesting has happened in Garfield since it's inception in 1978. (One gigantic exception, is the haunting storyline where Garfield wakes up in an abandoned house, Jon and Odie are dead, and he proceeds to will himself into delusion in the face of starvation. No I'm dead serious about this.) Jon, our witless hero, is a monument to loneliness. To fully illustrate this point, let's see what happens when you remove all of Garfield's thought bubbles from the strip:

This changes for Jon this week. Another event along these lines was Cathy (Comic strip perpetually about a girl lamenting her datelessness) when she finally found a man and got married. We've seen this trend before, haven't we? It's the wrapping up of storylines. The farewell into the sunset. Or as Jump the Shark calls it, "They Did It." Basically, to sum it all up, this is an indication that newspaper comics are aware that their time is up. Peanuts, Far Side, and Calvin and Hobbes are gone. Comics have moved on to the web. I think that this singular event in Garfield signals the beginning of the end.


AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

i wouldn't be surprised if Garfield announces that he, too, is gay.

Anonymous said...

Quelle cool chat!