This is the grand finale, I guess, so grab a cup of coffee and a plate of last night's lasagna. We're gonna be here awhile.
This one's for the fans. The composition echoes Jon's first kiss with Liz some 25 years ago. The poor guy's fashion sense has either degenerated or improved, depending on your stance on '80s cut suits and wide ties. Frankly, there's nothing inherently wrong with a plaid suit if you don't mix patterns with your tie.
Now I've had my fair share of kisses under the waxing moon, but never found call to execute the stiff-armed death-grip wrist-grab Jon's pulling on Liz. Also it's funny that it force's Jon's lapel to curl up over his arm. The desperation of this stance ("you will NOT get away") leads me to believe this development doesn't force us to reinterpret the last 28 years as Liz totally masking her affection for Jon, but represents a slow erosion of her standards for a mate.
Liz's attire, a modernized, accessorized, sexier update of her 1981 eveningwear, could have been foreshadowingng for the most astute of Garfield students. Said students are probably wondering what Liz did with her yellow purse since leaving the restaurant, though. For those with a continuity bent, July 28 was never established as Jon's birthday until 2001, skipped again in 2002, and has only been granted silly minor gags ever since. Until today it's never been a landmark date.
Good Lord, check out the trolley on Doc Wilson! Maybe I stare at Garfield strips too much, but it's hard to recall anything sexier than Liz's arched back and sultry expression. Nor can I recall any reason for Liz and Jon to call their emotionally wrenching failed dates a "wonderful time."
Panel 2: The difference between the 1981 kiss and 2006 is a floating comics shorthand heart: it means "love". Although today's embrace is not as full-contact and PG-rated, the emotions are different. Except Garfield, that unflappable Buddha of negative virtue, who still stares with chilly disinterested cynicism at his master's folly. What's whirring in that cat-brain is not the shock we were promised by the promotional advertising for this story, but the timeless, coldly bemused refrain: Human love. It's so glandular.
Also: Is Liz talking while she's got a mouthful of Arbuckle tongue?
So the newspaper headline that graced the Garfield homepage the last 11 days, "COMIC STRIP SHOCKER!" turned out to be an elaborate mislead. It is certainly what passes for a major development in this strip about inaction, but if something is to "doom" Garfield, it will be the ramifications from a Jon/Liz union, not this sweet and wistful little ending.
And the moon cycle changes as we watch, the glands pulse, the cat grins at us, and two people enter a new phase. Did you feel a little warm tingle in your heart? Do you find Garfield's closing sentiment cute? It's not a fare-the-well, folks: it's a punchline. When Garfield stares through the fourth wall, lids half-closed, mouth twisted into predatory sneer, that's when our boy is telling The Truth through sarcasm. If you think anyone in Garfield lives happily ever after, you haven't been reading Garfield long. Two people enter a new phase that looks like happiness. Ever been in love? The glandular rush is a tide that masks a shoreline of bloody shipwrecks like you've never seen. Yah tah tah tah.
Jon's Horoscope: Day Eleven
Hey Birthday Boy! For once your dreams come true! Say goodbye to the last 28 mind-numbing years of frustration and loneliness and celebrate your manly manhood with the love of your life... and your cat. Today's lucky number: 28 (duh)
It is not for Permanent Monday to subject its delicate readers to graphic descriptions of the activity implied by "celebrate your manly manhood". I do not discourage you from mailing me detailed, detailed fanfic on the topic though. It is up to you if Liz asks Jon to wear his fake moustache.
It's very silly that the newspaper publishes a horoscope written for one specific man. More silly is the implication today that Jon is 28 years old just because the strip is 28 years old. This makes less sense than Garfield's one-to-one aging with the strip, because it means Jon wasn't even born when Garfield debuted. So on June 19, 1978, Garfield is a 30-pound newborn kitten and Jon is a talking fetus.