Garfield Minus Garfield

John Beavers writes from the University of Texas to recommend (to Elizabeth Traugott and me) the comic strip (of sorts) Garfield Minus Garfield:

The creator [Dan Walsh] basically just took Garfield strips [by Jim Davis] and removed Garfield but left everything else unchanged, so now Jon is basically just talking to himself.  It’s amazing the effect it has — a strip that normally is at best mildly amusing becomes a stark and unforgiving treatise on loneliness and deep existential crisis.

Oh my, yes.

I’ve known about the strip for some time, and my grand-daughter even has the book, but I haven’t posted about it. From the site:

Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

A modest amount of alienation, plus some language content (about hearing):

Then deep alienation:

Finally, two of some linguistic interest (the pragmatics of apology; language play):


Another entrant in the cartoons-that-aren’t-really-cartoons category, along with those webcomics that don’t involve any drawing at all (Dinosaur Comics, A Softer World), and those that have stick figures (xkcd). In the case of G-G, we have what you might think of as “subtractive cartooning”.


2 Responses to “Garfield Minus Garfield”

  1. Victor Steinbok Says:

    Last time a “removal” had this much effect was when the Counting Song from Sesame Street Count Count was edited to replace all occurrences of the word “count” with taboo-evading bleeps. The effect is brilliant, as the bleeped out meaning becomes completely suggestive. And it’s not “counting”. There should be several YouTube versions floating around.

  2. bfwebster Says:

    I’ve been reading this strip for quite some time; not sure how I ran across it, though it might have been via the Comic Curmudgeon. I find this a much more fascinating and entertaining strip that Garfield itself (that’s faint praise but it’s meant to be stronger than that).

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