I’ve read most of them, so I thought I knew all there was to know about Garfield comics. This cat hasn’t changed much in 30 years. He’s as big, as bad, and as bold today as he was in 1978. He looks a little different, but he’s aged well for a cat. We all know Garfield is the star in his books, so I had to read the comic book that featured original Garfield comics but with him erased off the page! The big fat cat was gone, as were all his thought bubbles and all traces of his shed fur. All that was left on the page was Jon; but when he talks, he’s not talking to Garfield anymore. He doesn’t even use the word
"Garfield". He’s talking to himself or to anyone who will listen.
The eraser of the world’s most popular cat is Dan Walsh, creator of the web comic Garfield Minus Garfield. A fan of Garfield comics from a young age, Dan noticed that as he grew older, his life wasn’t much different from Jon’s life. In the foreword to this book, he says, “In fact, my life was very, very similar to a certain Mr. Jon Arbuckle’s: Jon Arbuckle was kind of lonely, disheartened, crazy, disillusioned, and well, just like me.” By taking Garfield out of the picture, Jon becomes the focus in the strips. And now that he’s not talking to Garfield, his words and actions seem lonelier and crazier than ever before. But for many fans of Garfield Minus Garfield, Jon seems to be speaking for them. Many fans identify with Jon and have written to the webcomic site
with comments such as “It’s like looking in a mirror,” “He reminds me so much of myself,” and “Thank you. My post-teenage angst and disquietude has never quite felt so at ease with a comic.”
The long rectangular shape, funny cover art, and page layout of Garfield Minus Garfield resembles the Jim Davis Garfield books we know and love. But on every page of this new book, two strips appear. On the bottom of the page, in black and white, are the original Garfield comic strips. On top of the page, in color, are the original Garfield comic strips… minus Garfield. Near the end of the book is a two-page section entitled A Word from Jim Davis. He explains how he first heard about Garfield Minus Garfield and what he thinks about the comic. He also includes his own Garfield Minus Garfield strips. One of my favorite parts of the book was the last two pages. They show Garfield Minus Garfield products that we won’t see on the market such as the suction-cup doll (too funny!) and a sneak peek at a possible next book (you’d never guess).
Some might laugh at him, some might feel for him, but we can all relate to Jon Arbuckle in some ways. This book has already proven to be a hit.
Dan Walsh was writing comics at the age of ten. Before moving into the business of Information Technology project manager, Dan worked as a musician and artist. He lives in Dublin.
Jim Davis was born in Marion, Indiana. His Garfield comic strip has 200 million readers and appears in over 2.400 newspapers.