Hot take alert: Garfield is not the world's most exciting newspaper comic. After all, the strip turned 40 a few days ago, and there are only so many times an orange cat can maul a lasagna before your audience begins contemplating the void. In fact, its only positive quality might be that cartoonist Jim Davis doesn't spend his days spewing conspiracy theories and incoherent psychobabble like the Dilbert guy. So it's all sorts of hilarious that when a good version of Garfield comes along, the internet goes gonzo for it -- which they did for this recent and wonderful fan comic by artist Gale Galligan.
What makes this comic -- which is the second part of a hopefully ongoing series -- so great is the fact that Galligan gives the character Jon some actual, well, character. He's not a whiny, apathetic, dog-semen-guzzling loser in this world -- he's an artist and teacher who, after a long spell in the artistic wilderness, gets drawn into the modern world of comics, one in which conventions, social media, and fandoms are king.
It doesn't try to say anything clever or biting about the original comics. If anything, it's an ode to them -- a touching, emotional, adorably drawn ode, and by golly gosh, that's enough. See, if the internet loves to do anything, it's reinvent Garfield in new, weird, and interesting ways, from the absurdist nonsense that is Dan Walsh's Garfield Minus Garfield ...
... to the sheer double-you-tee-effness of Lasagna Cat.
In a weird way, it's good that Jim Davis is so dedicated to his hustle. If he'd spent decades building a comic with richly nuanced characters and storylines, these artists wouldn't have had such a blank slate to work with. Garfield is basically the elemental feline ur-myth, not unlike Bast or the manticore, and the internet is out there building wonderful stuff from his Monday-hating mythos.
Seriously, check out all of Gale Galligan's work, and when you've finished that, take a look at her store and her Patreon. Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history that you should definitely subscribe to.
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