Sunday, July 23, 2006

Man of 1000 Disgraces

Folks, it's looking like a distinct possibility that Ellen's amnesia has made her forget she is in the storyline.

Title Panel: Someday I hope to compile a Master Index of Sunday title panels, useful in moments like this. Surely, almost certainly, positively, we've seen Garfield spelled out in pancakes before. Whether we've seen it spelled out in syrup so viscous it can cling in alpha-form to the side of a stack of 36 dough cakes, I do not know.

Actually, Permanent Monday gets so many hits from people looking for strips about hating Monday, that I think a full index of every strip topic should be compiled, but I'm not sharing such research until Fantagraphics has me design The Complete Garfield in 50 hardcover volumes. Also: those pancakes are totally gross. I do note there are so many pancakes so the title panel will fill the entire first row: this way the first panel proper will be on the second tier and this carefully constructed story won't be damaged by newspapers that choose to butcher the strip.

Panel 1: Jon asks "why?" Liz would be dating another man. He thinks of Liz as his girl, even though he's had one date with her more than ten years ago, and is, himself, visiting Giant Painting of Fruit Restaurant with Ellen. Note the crowds in the background, portrayed in silhouette, either lazy cartooning or a stylistic choice a la Dumbo. Note also that Ellen's sundae has disappeared. Garfield has given in to base impulse. Did you expect any less of him?

Panel 2: An undercover sting is the first thing that comes to Jon's mind. Perhaps inspired by his horoscope (see below), but the revealing moment is Jon's resignation to his fate:

Panels 3 and 4: The key to Jon's character is that he's self-aware and resilient. Jon's resigned to his fate, which makes the horoscope a good supplementary text for these strips. It's painful, but we're blameless when we accidentally grab life by the blade. An amazing new level of self-defeat is possible, however: when you cut yourself on purpose.

Panel 5: Garfield's always a step ahead. Maybe not a master of the time, space and reality of his universe, like a Bugs Bunny or Snoopy, but Garfield has his finger on the pulse on the psychology of the Garfield world. As Garfield stares contemplatively at Liz and Roger Ramjet, he's processing Jon's decision. A decision already made, in some ways, and I believe that while Garfield knows Jon's plan to disrupt Liz's date is going to crack Hell a-wide, perhaps the other consequences will be worth the collateral losses.

Panel 6: Accept the cartoon reality that Jon quickly acquired a tux and fake mustache. As a man whose shoulder bag contains couple of fake mustaches and double-sided tape, I'm not prone to question it. I'm glad Garfield can smile, even if Jon can't hear his thoughts. When you're climbing out of the foxhole, it's good to know your friends are behind you, even if they're just shoving you forward because it's funny to watch another man get blown up.

Also: Mystery solved. It's a French restaurant!

Jon's Horoscope: Day Six
No act can be considered really stupid if you're wearing a great disguise. Set free your inner Jon Juan and grab a big chicken leg off the buffet of life. Today's lucky number: 36" x 48"

"Jon Juan"? I suppose "Don Jon" would've been a little confusing, but... either way the metaphor is, if not mixed, at least a tossed salad: is Don Juan, famous Frenchman, really known for his love of buffet dining?

Is it true that no act is stupid if you are properly disguised? I think it's truer that no stupid act will be held against you if you are disguised well enough. Or if you run from the scene of the crime fast enough. Or if you bribe the cops. Or if you can lie your way out of it. I prefer the latter, which is what I bet Garfield recommends too.


Josh Millard said...

I don't think Jon has ever looked more like Christopher Walken than he does in that last panel.

catastrophile said...

I prefer to assume that it's not a French restaurant. Funnier that way.

Also: I will be very disappointed if Ellen winds up getting handed off to Smarmy McChinCleft as a consolation prize. Not surprised, but disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Good god -- that title frame looks like a penis.

solipsistnation said...

So, uh, how would you explain your own collection of portable facial hair? Do you keep them handy for just such occasions?

nathew said...

you know, that wouldn't be hard to do, with the whole tagging fad that's going on.

Mark Jake said...

I suppose he bribed a waiter for the outfit... but where the mustache came from, I'd rather not speculate.

Flu-Bird said...

Jon has got to start acting like the other guy MATURE