I wonder if there’ll ever be a critical re-appraisal of Garfield in the next decade or two and Fanta’ll give him the “Peanuts” treatment; maybe get a cartoonist who’s in the early stages of their career now to do the design work; someone like Michael Deforge….that’d be excellent.
And I like how Garfield was drawn in those early strips, too. He has a real mass, almost like a fuckin’ Kirby drawing, or something. Hahah. I just wrote that.
Since the entire run of Garfield is in print and readily available in numbered volumes — in color and black and white, in single volume and omnibus editions— there would be little reason to mount another reprint series, unless one is desperate for Garfield hardcovers.
lol @ kim’s reply
but there’s something to be said for that buoyant, rubber-stamp art style that davis perfected. dumb as it is, garfield has a certain “scanability” that Davis (like bushmiller before him) utilizes to draw the eye and deliver the gag as expeditiously as possible, with an aggressive simplicity of text, layout, and image. though i admit theres an awkward ugliness that kind of grates the eye
i remember in grade school it seemed like garfield (and maybe tintin) was the only comic that /everyone/ read, and i think that was due to the immediacy of its aesthetic rewards (bright colors, expressive characters, and clear contours) — so much so that it didn’t seem to matter that most of the gags were pretty “whatever.”
The first comic I ever read was a collection of Garfield strips my brother had brought home from the U.S. (to Ireland) in 1984. They made such an impression on the family that when we adopted a kitten later that same year, we named her Garfield (gender-appropriateness be damned!)
I remember Garfield as being extremely funny in its early days and even had several of the early collections. I should go back and reread those early strips now, I guess, to see if I still respond that way, because today, nine times out of ten, I scratch my head in bafflement as to what’s even supposed to be funny about the strip.
On a totally unrelated topic, what in God’s name has happened to the Adam comic strip? It used to be at least mildly amusing consistently when Bassett did it, and I thought his art was very good. Then, some time back, the art style shifted when someone else took over (and the humour quotient dropped signififantly, along with the quality of the art). . . and for the last few weeks . . . . yikes!
Bob, another great profile!
The Davis/Bushmiller comparison is so apt that a hundred alt-comics cartoonists just simultaneously shot themselves.
The timeline is all over the place. How long did it take to write this piece?
I never did care for Garfield, but I am impressed at how big PAWS is. Kudos to Mr. Davis. He really does know how to write everyday humor. That craft bit was my favorite part.
If Mark Newgarten wrote an analysis of Garfield it would be about three sentence long.
The most enlightening thing about Garfield is GarfieldMinusGarfield.
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In this 1989 interview, Bill Watterson talks about the tension between realities in Calvin and Hobbes, how popular art doesn’t have to pander, nuance, animation and why he chose not license the strip. Continue reading →
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