Saturday, August 12, 2006

Jonny Crack Corn

The dreamy look in Jon's eyes and general air of being out of it tells me Jon doesn't quite realize what he's saying. He thinks he's relishing the time spent alone with Liz, but his line of reasoning has nothing to do with the company at the movies. What Jon most enjoyed was time away from Garfield. It's actually fine, good and probably healthy, for Jon to realize this. It's a poor thing to subject Liz to, however, and the ideal result in a developing human being would be to make sure future dates are not just to get away from Garfield.

Part of how Garfield asserts his authority and deeply integrates himself into the Jon's life is to force the man to ingest parts of his body. The vagary of Garfield's angry retort is part of the joke. How can Garfield make good on such a threat? By either sabotaging Jon's dates so he has to stay home and eat the tainted house supply of popcorn, or by violating the entire concession stand at the theater. Perhaps the theater the reader frequents. The heart of a gross-out joke is to ask the audience to imagine themselves with a greasy, salty, crunchy mouthful of fluffy popcorn sprinkled with white flecks of cat dander, and matted with buttery hunks of golden orange fur which stick to their shiny lips and slick fingers.

Panel Three Art Examination: Perhaps it is Garfield's massive right forearm blocking the view, but it appears the limb has become disconnected from our hero's body.


Ian said...

I think Jon is just talking slang to point out how excited he was to get it on with a woman who shaved her pubes. Nothin' like "eating popcorn without the cat hair".

Jordan said...

Chris, have you seen THIS week of Garfield strips?


What on earth do you make of it???


Anonymous said...

That IS a crazy week of comics. Why - it had art value - yet that next Sunday we were back to tableland. Maybe a quest comic week? And does this set imply that since 1989 Garfield's antics have all been a delusion of Garfield's? The comic is about a cat who daydreams about an owner who talks to his cat but who can not understand the snide comments the cat makes back? You'd think he'd dream of a more beautiful reality.

Jordan said...

That's EXACTLY what that week of strip implies...


AireFresco said...

I disagree that that week of comics implies that everything since 1989 has been a delusion. The key is in the October 28, 1989, strip. "Garfield is shaken by a horrifying vision of the inevitable process called time" (emphasis added). Garfield gets a glimpse of a possible future, a future without Jon and Odie, and it terrifies him and causes him to learn appreciation for the life he has at the present moment.

Chris Stangl said...

I do know that week of strips from '89. Frankly, I think the arc shows Davis writing a little out of his depth. The ambition is admirable, but too many complicated ideas are being smushed into three daily panels. After the slow atmospheric build-up the resolution is a quick hammer-blow from a swift deus ex machina.

As for that ending, it's obvious to me it's supposed to be some kind of Twilight Zone-inspired morality tale. The narration is awkwardly worded and open to some interpretive latitude. I know some readers infer that Garfield has willed is way out of a personal hell through "DENIAL..." and everything after is a fugue-state delusion. I don't know if this comes from particular approaches to reading the strips, or the same impulse that causes people to make sex and drug jokes about The Family Circus. I try to avoid that kind of commentary, because funny as it might be, it's disingenuous, not illuminating, and, you know, I like Garfield.

Sorry to be the party pooper, but the reading that every strip since October '89 is a delusion is overreaching. The closing text clearly says Garfield has just gone through a run-of-the-mill Christmas Carol nightmare vision (WHY? Not so clear!) Again, I think this is needlessly complicated with narration about the endless march of time, the malleability of reality, the power of imagination, etc, etc, when the real moral turns out to be about appreciating your loved ones.

I read "he has only one weapon... denial" as a joke about Garfield's character, not a clue to the mystery. In other versions of this story we see repentance snap the Scooge figure back to reality and redemption. Garfield does no such thing, but in typical fashion loudly announces his personal failings in the process, without promises of self-improvement.

Ununnilium said...

Well, the thing I like about it is that it can be interpreted either way. Interestingly ambiguous.

Elliot said...

I was way creeped out by the '89 series when it circulated the blogosphere a few weeks ago (that's how I found out about Permanent Monday, actually).

Someone asked Jim Davis about it, and he laughed out loud at the Garfield-hallucinating-while-starving-to-death explanation. He said that he wanted to write a series for Halloween that was about things people are actually afraid of, instead of monsters and ghosts.