Garfield experimentalism

Apparently we’re upon the 30th anniversary of Jim Davis’ Garfield strip. As a ten year old I was pretty obsessed with the Garfield books, and can probably mark meeting Jim Davis at the ABA as a highlight of my fourth grade life.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve gotten about seven emails from people linking to the Garfield Minus Garfield strips, which I first saw a few years ago even. I was always partial to the Is Garfield Dead? premise, though Nothing Garfield strips are interesting too (though Barfield does give me a good chuckle).

More theory related, the Garfield Generator is a great example of a few points of my research. It shows that there is an overarching coherent structure built into the whole strip (at least sometimes in this case), even when the immediate linear relationships don’t make much sense. This is somewhat similar to the famous Chomsky sentence “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”, and I’m actually basing my next big experiment out of 6 panel long Peanuts panels of this same nature.

In some cases with the generator though, you can easily tell that the position of the panel is somewhere it doesn’t belong. The thematic role of the panel belies it’s canonical positioning.

Anyhow, Happy Birthday Garfield, and thanks for the early influences on my comics obsessions!


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