Garfield Minus Garfield voices a fundamental truth, again.
I was inspired to do the link by Noah’s review, in the latest Comics Journal, of a big Garfield book and a collection of Garfield Minus Garfield. As you know, a guy named Jim Davis creates (or oversees production of) Garfield and has done so for decades. Lately, a character named Dan Walsh has taken to Photoshopping out Garfield from the strips and then posting the results. Basically, what we see is the strip’s human character talking to himself, and it’s hilarious and sad.
Noah brings in Jorge Louis Borges, and the two of them nail it:
The point is that the genius here is Davis’ — and it also isn’t. Borges has a short essay in which he argues that Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat was greater than anything either could have done alone. “[F]rom the lucky conjunction of a Persian astronomer who ventures into poetry and an English eccentric who explores Spanish and Oriental texts… emerges an extraordinary poet who resembles neither of them.” Something like that seems to have happened here as well. Davis is an aesthetically dicey mainstream cartoonist; Walsh is a wannabe rock-and-roller who never hit it big. Together, though, they are, as Borges said, an extraordinary poet. Erase Garfield and you are left with a Davis who is just the same, only funnier.