March 26, 2006

October 23, 1989: a certain lasagna-loving cat wakes up to find himself alone... Utterly alone.

From the Wikipedia entry:

One storyline, which lasted a week from October 23, 1989 (possibly to coincide with Halloween, although the 31st actually fell the following week), is unique in that it is not humorous. It depicts Garfield awakening in a future in which the house is abandoned and he no longer exists. This is revealed to have been a dream of some kind, and ends with this narration: "An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shade perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice...or terrify, all depending on how we conduct ourselves today." Alternatively, some theorize that the end of this storyline actually implies that the rest of the series, the more conventional strips, are all fantasies Garfield is playing out in his head to delude himself from realizing the dark turn his life has taken, as he slowly starves to death in an abandoned house. This is arguably supported by the text, as the narration reads "After years of taking life for granted, Garfield is shaken by a horrifying vision of the inevitable process called 'time'. He has only one weapon... Denial" right before Jon and Odie reappear. This emphasis on Denial, with the word given its own box in the panel it appears in, and being followed immediately by the earlier text on the power of the imagination, could support the theory. However, it could also be that denial is what Garfield needed to snap himself out of this dark vision.
Is it a coincidence that this storyline started exactly 11 years after the first appearence of Pooky? I think not. Sorry if this episode is common knowledge, but it's new to me.
  • One storyline ... is unique in that it is not humorous. Well, maybe not that unique.
  • Perhaps "not meant to be humorous." That was really fascinating, thank you, brundlefly. That's probably the most interesting thing to come of the strip proper. Garfield is far better as a dramatic strip than as a humor strip, it would seem.
  • This is seriously freaking me out.
  • This is freaky, man.
  • I can't seem to find the rest of the run (beyond the first, that is.)
  • Click the arrows to enter the dates you want, and then click the Quasimodo cat, or whatever the hell it is. October 24, 1989 is the second in the series, etc.
  • It's still crap. It's just creepy crap instead of smarmy crap.
  • Click the arrows to enter the dates you want... Or increase the number at the end of the URL by one, two, etc. for Oct 24th-28th
  • How'd they convince the syndicate to run these?
  • Because garfield was king back in the day. Cartoons, toys, the things stuck to rear windows of cars. Short of murdering prostitutes I don't know what he couldn't do.
  • seems more like a spoof on the twilight zone... but currently i'm a bit sleep-deprived, so wtf do i know
  • Click the arrows to enter the dates you want, and then click the Quasimodo cat, or whatever the hell it is. October 24, 1989 is the second in the series, etc Nope, doesn't work for me. I'm using firefox, could be the problem. Firefox thinks Garfield is lame.
  • Very, very weird. Interesting post. Nick, the URL trick is the easiest way to do it.
  • Firefox ain't the only one ...
  • Ah yes. URL works fine. I like it. I now have two sparring contextualizations for Garfield: 1) John is a ridiculously lonely loser whose endless conversations with his cat serve to highlight his descent to suicidal madness OR 2) Garfield's world is merely a product of an abandoned cat's denial of his stark and uncaring reality. Thanks!
  • This reminds me, conceptually, of 'Garfield: His Nine Lives', in that it's Garfield material that isn't crap. It's like, every five years or so, Davis becomes so trapped by his self-created box of mediocrity, that he has to do something edgy and of quality to keep from going utterly batshit. His Nine Lives is actually the only Garfield book I still own. (AFAIK, it's out of print now, but if you can find a copy, it's really unique and worth seeing)
  • How long has it been since Davis actually wrote the strips? Would he have been responsible for this storyline?
  • Whoever it was, I suspect his wife/girlfriend was threatening to leave him, and this was a response. "I don't want to be alone!" Bit sad, really.
  • "How long has it been since Davis actually wrote the strips?" He writes 'em, AFAIK, but it's more like he has a scrap book full of scenarios, and he has his artists go off and riff on them, then he gives the OK to what he likes. He hasn't drawn the strip in decades. I feel sure this halloween strip is not meant to be as existentialist as people make out. I don't give credence to any of the stuff in there that is suggested by the Wikipedia blather. Davis is not deep; he's a marketing machine. So my bet is this was an idea someone had and he said run with it.
  • I haven't been so depressed by a comic since I saw that fake Calvin and Hobbes cartoon about the ADHD drugs. (Cartoon found here).
  • Oh, god. Gestas, that is depressing.
  • i think someone linked this interesting article awhile back about jim davis, the merch magnate. very insightful...
  • Am I lame if I say that reading that Wiki paragraph actually gave me a little heebie-jeebie chill?
  • Oh Holy Shit... I just read the rest of that series, and now I am seriously getting goosebumps. Which is pretty sad, come to think of it--still, you do get emotionally invested in these beloved images from your youth. See the Calvin strip above with the ADHD drugs, which has harshed my mellow for the whole day. Thanks for that. What next? Charlie Brown, tired of years of rejection and failure, of getting rocks in his trick or treat back and pointedly not being invited to parties, breaks into his dad's gun vault and goes postal at the school Christmas Pageant? A teenaged Linus, lost in the existential angst of an uncaring void and having abandoned the facile faith he espoused as a grade-schooler in "It's Christmastime Charlie Brown" climbs into the rafters of the Van Pelt house and hangs himself with his blanket, the self-infantilizing symbol of his vanished innocence? Lucy becomes Secretary of State? Adonai, adonai...
  • back s/b "bag." Aaaaaugh.
  • TP: Just saw a spoof of Peanuts on Robot Chicken (sorry, no vid), but it was more a sendup of "The Great Pumpkin" as a horror flick. I like your interpretation of the characters' morose underlying personalities better tho. Send in a mini-script, heh!
  • You could even go tragic-inspirational--Charlie Brown puts too much rotation in another failed attempt to kick the football, lands awkwardly and snaps his spine, becoming a quadripilegic. Ironically, after years of painful rehabilitation he finally finds sporting success, becoming a Paralympics Gold Medalist in Quad Rugby.
  • Just read those quotes from the Robot Chicken ep.-- MUST. SEE. THAT. EPISODE.
  • Update: I have seen this episode. It roolz. I love you, YouTube.
  • Heathens!