Garfield Minus Garfield Equals Epic Lulz. Who Knew?!


Yeah, okay, I know. Everyone and their granny has already blogged about this, but I just gotta chime in to quickly say that Garfield Minus Garfield is the most unexpected laff riot this side of Cthulhu Family Circus. Some sage old fart once said something along the lines of “the greatest truths are the simplest, so likewise are the greatest men” and that tenet definitely applies here:

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.


It’s a shame that any attempt to make a Garfield Minus Garfield day-to-day calendar would be cockblocked by copyright litigation. Hey, I freakin’ loathe day calendars. They’re pointless, inane, a waste of trees. But seriously, I’d consider running out and getting some soul-destroying cubicle day job just to have an excuse to purchase and read the paper version of Garfield Minus Garfield every gosh darn day. Suck it, Dilbert!

(Via Circle the Globe, thanks.)

13 Responses to “Garfield Minus Garfield Equals Epic Lulz. Who Knew?!”

  1. pinkdeviant Says:

    Wow, this is my new favorite thing ever.

  2. DJ Velveteen Says:


    These win every single time I see them.

  3. Tequila Says:

    It’s creepy how well this works. It almost seems intentional…hmmm I wonder what’s really going through the head of Jim Davis as he draws these?

    That “I’m an empty grocery sack” one is dead perfect.

  4. Skerror Says:

    I like the empty panels with these. It’s like they go on a beat too long. I wonder if this works with any other comics…could be a whole world of existential horrors lurking below the surface.

  5. groonk Says:

    interesting twist on just removing Garfield’s speech bubbles. which was done a few years back.

  6. thekamisama Says:

    It is like the first time I read “Fight Club” all over again!

  7. Jerem Morrow Says:

    @ Kami: Ha! Technically Jon, you’re fucking Marla. but it’s all the same to her.

  8. joshua Says:

    absolutely amazing…!

  9. Shay Says:

    Heh, yeah, it’ amazing how much funnier Garfield gets when you realize it’s about a deeply deluded man who talks to his cat.

  10. Mark Says:

    This random Garfield generator also offers up a similarly Jon-tastic lulzfest, principally by making him appear absolutely batshit mental when the panels fall just so…

  11. q gauti Says:


    surely a print edition must exist somewhere by now.

  12. Tim Says:

    saw this?

    Clearly, this is something with a little more punch than your average “Garfield is fat, Jon is lame, Odie is retarded” strip. This is about as bizarre and surreal as major syndicated strips can be. There is no humour. There are no punchlines. Garfield is just tossed into a horrific scenario of abandonment and isolation.

    The theory regarding this strip, and the one that I personally subscribe to, is that this storyline represents Garfield’s death, almost. As we see in the final strip, beginning with that bizarre close up on a sweaty, hallucinating eye, Garfield has turned to denial. Those third and fourth panels? Denial. Garfield is clearly alone, trapped in an abandoned home, with no way out. Using sheer force of will, he utterly denies his situation, conjuring up familiar visions of Jon and Odie. It follows, then, that every Garfield strip since 1989 is just a continuing hallucination. Garfield’s mind is working at a fevered pace in the moments before death, as he imagines the same scenarios over and over again with painful repetition. His denial is so powerful that he has crammed the intervening eighteen years into the span of a few hours, while he starves to death in the empty house.

    Jim Davis, of course, denies everything. In a 20th anniversary collection, he wrote:

    “During a writing session for week, I got the idea for this decidedly different series of strips. I wanted to scare people. And what do people fear? Why, being alone of course. We carried out the concept to its logical conclusion and got a lot of responses from readers.”

    At least, that’s what it says he says on Wikipedia. And really, it’s only natural that he would say something like that. Because the whole thing was a cover for something far more momentous: Jim Davis’ departure from the strip, and his replacement with some kind of secret ghost-creator.

    Please note: I have absolutely no evidence to support this claim. But it makes sense to me. By 1989, Garfield had been running for just over ten years. That’s Jim Davis working, day-in day-out, on more and more jokes about a bloated cat and his dipshit master. How quickly do you think that would get old? By ‘89, Davis was already well established. He had Garfield, and US Acres, and was rolling in money from merchandising and cartoon adaptations. He must have woken up one day and realized, “Shit, I don’t have to keep on drawing this tripe. I can hire some halfwit art student to churn out 365 strips a year while I relax on a beach in Malibu.” And so he did. US Acres folded up shop in May, but wasn’t popular enough to warrant Davis hiring a ghost. Garfield, though, was his flagship. He needed to keep it running, if only to keep the character in the minds of the people. But he planned a nice big fuck you to his millions of readers, prior to his departure. He would hit them with a surreal salvo, a brief little storyline so bizarre that his readers would be left scratching their heads for years, or as long as it took them to read the next, comfortably familiar strip. And so, with the October 28 strip, Davis faded into the background, leaving an armada of lawyers to sort out the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that would be hoisted upon his anonymous successors.

    Don’t believe me? Honestly, when was the last time you read a Garfield strip that hasn’t already been done a dozen times? There are only so many jokes you can tell with those characters, and David told them all from ‘78 to ‘89. Give the man credit: he established a money-making empire that has spawned animated series, films, and countless car window suction toys. Do you really think somebody that deviously clever would keep himself chained to a drawing table churning out mindless dreck?

    Doesn’t it make sense?

  13. Mer Says:

    Holy. SHIT. Tim, that was mind-blowing! Thanks for sharing. I’m… I’m speechless, actually.