Sunday, May 14, 2006

Give My Umbrella to the Rain Dogs

For the non-pros in the audience, the top tier of a Sunday comic strip is frequently hacked off by newspaper editors for space-saving purposes or reasons of simple comics-hating orneriness. Thus do cartoonists either use the top panels for a throwaway gag or expendable exposition. Today Mr. Davis uses the top tier to present his traditional cleverly-customized Garfield title logo, followed by... the first panel repeated twice.

Right? WRONG! The raindrops and landscape behind our favorite mutt change enough to register to the naked eye, but Odie, too, has been re-drawn. Attempts (via Photoshop's powerful layer-opacity tools) to line-up the two drawings of Odie prove they are two separate pieces of art, though admittedly drawn with startling mechanical precision.

Again this week, Davis isn't interested in using the Sunday format to provide more content per se, but to take advantage of the sheer space available. The pacing of this gag is about how long it takes for very little to happen... and when something does happen, it's someone going the extra mile to wrong you specifically and intentionally... which is kind of a Garfield life-lesson in general.

Q's (A's not forthcoming)
Why is Garfield so very happy to see Odie in that penultimate panel?
Is Jon concerned that his pets have escaped to an enormous empty field?
... or is this some kind of existential metaphor?
Why is Garfield so very happy to be locked in a newspaper vending machine?
If I turn the title-panel picture on its side to make sense of the drawing, then the word "Garfield" is sideways. I guess that last one's not a question.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is meant to be a peek into the mind of the average reader who makes his daily purchase from just such a machine thinking only of the joy that Garfield will bring.

Much like a crack cocaine addict sees not a building housing people of flesh and blood, but a mere container of brick and mortar for the means to satisfy his insatiable craving. A "Crack-House".

A newspaper vending machine is in fact merely a "Garfield Dispenser".

Ryan Ferneau said...

Garfield: It's not about ruining Charlie Brown's day; it's about ruining everybody's day.

Mark Jake said...

I think in the penultimate panel that Garfield's smugly happy that Odie's so happy to see HIM. Is Odie so malicious that he planned this - and remained wet in the sun to do it? So foresightful that he KNEW Garfield would be along and would underestimate him? Perhaps we've underestimated Odie...

Nyperold said...

Also, if you turn the picture of the newspaper vending machine so that it's upright, the lock appears to defy gravity.