Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Tendre Cattes and the Yonge Sonne

Jim Davis really does have it made. While other cartoonists are certainly free to phone it in, Davis is free to hire an assistant to hire another assistant to phone it in. It is entirely possible that he can produce Garfield comics without thinking about his comic strip at all.

If whoever is currently drawing* the strip is not, in fact, rejoicing in the power of Photoshop's cut-and-paste function--and the tiny variation in the hindmost clump of grass in panels one and three of today's strip argues that this person is not so rejoicing--then there is still some awfully lazy cartooning going on here. Why do the characters in this strip so very rarely move? Jon and Garfield are currently outside,** and there's still nothing happening. My theory remains that Garfield and co. are residing eternally in Hell.

The impression is accentuated by the frighteningly gigantic and incredibly badly drawn sun looming behind Garfield. Honestly...what the bleeding Hades is that thing? It looks like something created by an eight-year-old with a compass. It is also about twelve times the size of the actual sun. Either Garfield is trapped in the Inferno and is squinting up at an allegorical representation of the sin of Sloth, or he has been transported to another solar system.***

There is absolutely no way to make this comic funny, but a medieval context does give it some meaning. If the sun represents Sloth, Garfield's desire to "dim" it may serve as an indication that he is beginning to repent of his sins. His awareness of himself as a sinner is expressing itself via denial, but it is only a matter of time**** before he begins weeping and crying out to be saved. Alas, it is also possible that the sun represents redemption (due to being associated with the brightness that is Our Lord), and Garfield's desire to make it less bright is a reflection of his lack of repentance and his rightful position in Hell.

It would be nice if Garfield became even slightly funny at some point in the near future, but in the meantime, we've got the richness of its allegory to tide us over.

*Did I say "drawing" when I meant "tracing"? Now, why would I do that?
**Very, very, very, very unusual for Garfield. Why, on Monday, a poor Paws, Inc. lackey had to draw Jon's entire body. Oh, the humanity.
***Or possibly to Mercury, in which case his blood will start boiling at any minute. Hurrah!
****If there is, in fact, time in Hell.

1 comment:

CrackerLilo said...

Wow--you actually made Garfield interesting! Thanks!