Comics

Silencing the Cat

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Friday fun link: Someone at Truth and Beauty Bombs has an epiphany: "if you remove all the text of Garfield's speech, or thoughts, or whatever that is…it becomes an oddly surrealist comic." A horde of contributors prove him right.

Truth and Beauty Bombs

Sometimes the results aren't surreal so much as they're sad. This one makes Chris Ware look like a bubbly optimist:

Truth and Beauty Bombs

Sad, very sad…yet somehow much funnier than any Garfield strip you'll ever find in the morning paper.

Yes, I'm nearly two years late in noticing this site, but Friday fun knows no statute of limitations!

[Via Wondermark.]

NEXT: The Perils of Hamiltonianism

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  1. I was laughing at this at my desk, and my co-workers think I’m nuts.

  2. Old Garfield–the really early stuff–is actually pretty damn good.

  3. That’s the best thing since replacing Family Circus punchlines with Nietzsche quotes.

  4. It would be easier for me to appreciate the surrealism (or whatever) if that site also showed each of the original, unaltered comic strips.

    Without Garfield’s “dialogue,” it pretty much just looks like the adventures of a guy who talks to his cat a lot.

  5. C’mon, link to the Family Circus/Call of Cthulhu mashup!

  6. C’mon, link to the Family Circus/Call of Cthulhu mashup!

    Actually joe, in this Christmas season, you really want to skip right on past that to your Cthulhu-themed carols, like this.

  7. Without Garfield’s “dialogue,” it pretty much just looks like the adventures of a guy who talks to his cat a lot.

    Exactly.

  8. Brian,

    Did you not get, say , The Royal Tennenbaums because everybocy was just mean?

  9. Thanks for the bizarro Garfield. Hijacked cartoons are the best. Judge Parker anyone?

  10. This just made my life.

  11. Speaking of Family Circus, soes anyone remember one of the last few Bloom County strips where they are having the wrap party and Oliver is standing there with this strange round head right out of Family Circus and Opus asks him, “It looks like you got a job at Family Circus” to which Oliver responds “Yeah, court ordered, they are busing me in.”?

    For anyone who doesn’t know, Oliver was black.

  12. You know without the thought clouds for the cat, it seems oddly French. I don’t know why buy when I read them, John’s voice comes through my head in a French accent.

  13. The late 80s TV cartoon show was funnier than the comics ever were.

  14. You read those and they take on a Peanuts quality. They are brilliant. Why didn’t the guy who you know actually writes the cartoon think of this?

  15. There is no greater sin than explaining your own joke. Jim Davis have been stepping on his dick for decades now.

  16. Hi, everybody. It appears we haven’t met.

  17. “There is no greater sin than explaining your own joke. Jim Davis have been stepping on his dick for decades now.”

    Yeah, contrast Garfield with Wallace and Gromit. In Wallace and Gromit, the dog never talks. The owner’s actions are the joke. Get the cat to shut up in Garfield and it is more like Wallace and Grommit and much funnier.

  18. In Wallace and Gromit, the dog never talks.

    My first experience with Wallace and Grommit was on an in-flight entertainment system with no audio. I would be hard pressed to say that the overall experience is improved in any significant way with audio. Grommit’s eyebrows tell you everything you need to know to follow the story.

    The penguin never talks either, and it would kill the humor if he did.

  19. this discussion is not complete without some realfield:

    http://blog.org.es/realfield/

  20. Of course, we can’t forget Arbuckle, either.

    http://tailsteak.com/arbuckle/

    This includes a link to the original comic as well 🙂

  21. There is no greater sin than explaining your own joke. Jim Davis have been stepping on his dick for decades now.

    Yeah, his comic strips are actually pretty lame. I find his animated stuff to be a lot more enjoyable (though I have not seen Garfield: The Movie, nor do I ever EVER plan to).

  22. Jim Davis have been stepping on his dick for decades now.

    if you can do that, nothing else matters.

  23. Gentlemen,

    This is choice Sunday reading.

    http://www.pbfcomics.com/

  24. That was awesome.

  25. The funny thing is, the ‘silent Garfield’ is actually very much like a real cat. Just sits there and gives you a constant look like it’s thinking “how did I manage to get involved with this numbnuts?”

    Cats are evil.

  26. Old Garfield–the really early stuff–is actually pretty damn good.

    That’s true. In fact, I believe that the ‘early Garfield’ hadn’t yet managed to walk upright.

  27. C’mon, link to the Family Circus/Call of Cthulhu mashup!

    Easier said than done. A friend of mine was the person that came up with those, and she was more or less horrified when they hit big.

  28. joe:
    It’s hier

  29. Hi, everybody. It appears we haven’t met.

    Oh, all right. “Absurdism,” then.

    Old Garfield–the really early stuff–is actually pretty damn good.

    Was it? I remember liking it when it started, but I was in elementary school back then. I always assumed I had outgrown it, not that it had gone into decline.

  30. I have not seen Garfield: The Movie, nor do I ever EVER plan to

    I watched it because of the Bill Murray connection. It … wasn’t worth it.

  31. here’s a site that spits out 3 random garfield panels to make a hilariously surrealistic strip.
    http://www.dougshaw.com/garfield.html

  32. Was it? I remember liking it when it started, but I was in elementary school back then. I always assumed I had outgrown it, not that it had gone into decline.

    I’m about the same age you are, but I think that the early strips were genuinely funnier. The original Garfield was a lot simpler, meaner, and to the point. The strip was also more about Garfield’s foibles, and not so much about Jon. I think that Jim Davis eventually ran out of things to do with Garfield, and so the cat became more of a backdrop for the unfunny adventures of Jon. Also, getting rid of Odie and Nermal didn’t help. The dynamic between Garfield and Odie is quite funny to anyone who has witnessed cats and dogs forced to co-exist.

  33. Was it? I remember liking it when it started, but I was in elementary school back then. I always assumed I had outgrown it, not that it had gone into decline.

    Garfield was introduced in 1978. Bill the Cat appeared in the early eighties (purportedly to mock Garfield). So, at best, Garfield was good for only a couple of years before he become a stereotype that could be parodied.

  34. I knew it was fake after they had Garfield obsess over lasagna all the time. Cats don’t like lasagna.

  35. Easier said than done.

    Indeed. I only found One here.

    and another one here.

  36. As far as I know, Jim Davis was never coy about the fact that the primary purpose of the comic strip was to generate revenue from merchandizing.

  37. My cat likes lasagne. He likes anything with basil. Strange beast.

  38. Btw, credit here belongs to the Something Awful goons, who discovered this at least two years ago. Looks like someone else is taking credit for their photoshops again.

  39. Baked Penguin,

    No, these were actual Family Circus drawings, with the caption replaced by Lovecraft quotes.

  40. “No, these were actual Family Circus drawings, with the caption replaced by Lovecraft quotes.”

    That must have been truly bizzare.

  41. You can find or two that people ripped if you google, but the original site is gone.

    They were teh awesome.

  42. The author has the source wrong. This appeared 2-3 years ago on the SomethingAwful forums, where dozens and dozens of the things were created.

    And yes, completely hilarious.

  43. joe – I’m not the biggest Lovecraft fan (certainly not on this site), but I would have like to have seen them. Always a year or so behind the cool curve…

  44. So do you put a rubber glove on your head to disguise yourself as BakedChicken?

  45. Actually it looks like the Comics Curmudgeon crowd got there back in 2005. Was that before or after Something Awful?

  46. Btw, credit here belongs to the Something Awful goons, who discovered this at least two years ago. Looks like someone else is taking credit for their photoshops again.

    Seriously, not to sound like a redundant pompous arrogant prick, but seriously did it never before occur to anyone to imagine the exchange between a person and his pet from the owner’s perspective? That’s all this is. Oh, that or the perspective of any other person standing in the room.

    I mean, you know, cats can’t actually talk. …That’s why Garfield’s “speech, or thoughts, or whatever that is” is in a thought bubble each always, 100% of the everytime. The very fact that one would recognize the ambiguity of Garfield’s thoughts (is it part of a dialog or a parallel monologue to Jon’s?) but not go the next step and imagine a silent Garfield is pretty funny itself.

    But what about Garfield’s perspective? Why does he “talk” if only to himself? Because he’s a CAT. Cats don’t care what we think anyway. They don’t mock us (hypothetically) to shame us (i.e. to make us think something about ourselves), they mock us as a joke to themselves. Thus you could also imagine the cartoon with only Jon’s actions and Garfield’s commentary. Then it is absurd along the lines ChrisO explains above.

    And once you’ve recognized the absurdity of each character’s perspective, seeing them portrayed simultaneously is also absurd.

    By the way, may I recommend keeping these issues in mind when Stewie appears on Family Guy?

  47. I watched the Garfield movie because of Jennifer Love Hewitt, and even then it wasn’t worth it…

  48. not very impressed. i have to believe this would also work for most comic strips, tv shows, movies, whatever, where the words of one main character were removed.

    also, can we coin a new “godwin’s law” for the use of the word “surreal”? everything is “surreal” these days, unless it’s “ironic” instead. “i saw the tornado destroy my house, it was surreal.” that is frickin meaningless!

  49. So do you put a rubber glove on your head to disguise yourself as BakedChicken?

    No. Only to do Howie Mandel impersonations when I’m really drunk.

  50. When I hear someone use surreal incorrectly, my head literally explodes.

  51. http://www.losanjealous.com/nfc/

    This thread would be incomplete without Nietzsche Family Circus.

  52. Cats are evil.

    Not all of them. I owned one that would bring me dead songbirds in tribute.

  53. i have to believe this would also work for most comic strips, tv shows, movies, whatever, where the words of one main character were removed.

    If you follow the thread I linked to, you’ll see some attempts to try it on other strips. It works better in some cases than in others, but it clearly works best with Garfield.

    Of course, what would be so bad if it did work with everything? That would only mean more fun.

  54. also, can we coin a new “godwin’s law” for the use of the word “surreal”?

    As I said above, “absurd” would be more appropriate. But I don’t really mind the use of “surreal” to mean “absurd” or “weird” or even “intensely real.” Once you start to see the surreal everywhere, you’re just a step away from complete Enlightenment.

  55. Sad, but true. It is funnier without the stupid cat making snide remarks. The comic focus changes from a lazy, fat cat, to his lunatic owner.

  56. If you really want to understand Garfield, check out “Garfield: Permanent Monday.”

  57. Awesome, Mecial.

    (This particular posting explores a lot of the communication dynamic this H&R thread is focused on.)

  58. “All right, who let loose Cthulhu, the Great Old One, once dead but dreaming in the submerged city of R’lyeh, now risen from beneath the sea, to wreak havoc on the earth?”

    “Not Me…”

  59. A writer from a forum I used to hang out in wrote this surreal version of Garfield with Jon as pathetic hallucinator. He was a lot younger when he wrote it so there are a bunch of mistakes, but it’s still a good laugh (if you find Brother Theodore funny).

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