Webcomic: Garfield Minus Garfield
I'm not crazy, I promise... someone deleted Garfield.
—Jon Arbuckle commenting on the webcomic
Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Letís laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.In a World where Garfield never existed, one man imagines that he does.Garfield Minus Garfield is a strip adapted by Dan Walsh from selected Garfield strips. In this edited version, Jon is the only main character; all other main or non-essential cast (and their associated dialogue) have been removed. However, Jon still behaves as though they, most often Garfield, were there.Garfield Minus Garfield has been published in a book, which contains the original strips alongside their "Minused" versions, as well as a foreword by Garfield creator Jim Davis (who not only openly approved of the concept, but made several "Minused" strips for the book).Other people have made edits to Garfield strips, these edits including, but not limited to: putting random Garfield panels together; Silent Garfield, which removes all thought balloons; Realfield, similar to Silent Garfield and also replaces Garfield with a photo-realistic cat drawing; and Garfield As Garfield, which replaces Garfield with the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield. These predate Garfield Minus Garfield by a few years. Dan Walsh admitted he was not the first to come up with the idea of editing the strip or removing Garfield entirely, but he was the first to put the edits on one site as opposed to assorted forums and imageboards, and so got the most attention.It can be seen here.
—The original summary for the webcomic
This comic provides examples of:
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Jon. And how. See Adaptation Distillation below.
- Adaptation Distillation: By removing the polarizing main character, Jim Davis' work is now a masterpiece of existential angst.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Jim Davis got news of the strip, rather than send out the lawyers like one would expect, he actually thought it was VERY funny. He not only allowed them to continue, but contributed to the edits, and even wrote an introduction for their book.
- Affectionate Parody: The creator has said that he loves the original comic so it's definetly affectionate.
- Animated Adaptation: Someone took the Garfield Thanksgiving special and edited it into this.
- Now someone's done the Christmas special too, just in case your childhood wasn't ruined enough.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: The point of the comic is to show how sad, pathetic, and most likely psychotic Jon appears if he is just viewed a little differently.
- Aside Glance: Jon seems to do a very bitter aside glance after saying something optimistic that he doesn't truly believe. A typical example.
- Beat Panel: With Garfield gone, a lot of panels are left empty, or at the very least include no action or dialogue. This works surprisingly well. A variation of this involves a single panel of Jon doing something zany or eccentric, surrounded by two empty panels. Oddly enough, the empty panels make it funnier.
- Black Comedy Burst: The end of the above Thanksgiving edit. Jon realizes that Liz put him on a diet, goes crazy and kills Liz with a chainsaw (although offscreen), and then it goes back to more Jon talking to non-existent pets.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: This one comes surprisingly close.
- Captain Obvious: In this strip. Happens a lot given that Jon is no longer actually speaking to anyone.
- Crapsack Life
- Christmas Special
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Jon also becomes one of these without Garfield. For example.
- Dada Comics
- Darker and Edgier: It's amazing how much the presence of Garfield lightened up everything. It's disturbingly sad without him. Very much so with the proper background music.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Some of the strips have Jon staring at his crotch, then suddenly deciding to leave.
- Some are just better for it.
- Others come across as euphemism.
- And then we get things like this.
- And this.
- Disturbing on so many levels...
- All in the third panel.
- "Practice" you say?
- Those steam lines aren't coming from the water.
- When you consider Jon's occasional fourth-wall-breaking, "some time alone" implies this trope happening within a few seconds.
- Deconstructive Parody: The series as a whole is a deconstruction of its source material, but it's a Deconstructive Parody because it's played for laughs and is a parody of the original. Seeing as Word of God apparently stated that Garfield never talked in the comic this highlights just how much of a wreck Jon really is.
- Dissonant Serenity: "Ever hear one of those voices inside you?"
- Don't Explain the Joke: The comic's humor often comes from getting rid of Garfield's commentary on Jon's pathetic life and eccentric behavior. This makes the strip funnier, because Jon is already funny without Garfield's observations.
- Driven to Suicide: This one.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Follow the Leader: Series Minus Series Core.
- Genre Shift: It's amazing how deleting Garfield from the strip immediately changes a comedy into a commentary of one man's losing battle with isolation and depression in suburban America.
- Hope Spot: While most strips featuring an upbeat Jon ruin his mood by having something bad happening to him off-screen, this strip averts the trend.
- Live-Action Adaptation: College Humor edited clips from the actual Garfield movie into this adapted trailer.
- Madness Mantra: As seen here, "lonely".
- Minimalist Cast: Jon is literally the only character, with Garfield, Odie and Liz removed. Other minor characters appear occasionally, however - an "imaginary friend" that first appeared here can serve as the only possible explanation for strips like this.
- Mood-Swinger: Jon. And how!
- Parody Assistance: Jim Davis not only approved of GMG, but has even produced several new strips himself.
- Remix Comic
- Sanity Slippage: Some of the comics in the video compilation linked in the YMMV tab show that Jon is slowly going mad. Examples include smushing ice cream cones into his face, dressing up for a date... that's in three weeks, jumping in the streets dressed as a pink clown, chasing cars in the manner of dogs, breaking down sobbing at the most random times, Madness Speak, and, finally, being sent to a Mental Hospital.
- Series Minus Series Core: Either the first, or at least most well-known of its type. Possibly the Trope Maker.
- Shout-Out: In Pearls Before Swine here and here.
- Take That: Some of the more...high-brow comics aficionados out there initially (and approvingly) viewed the strip as being this to Jim Davis, who often gets dismissed as "uncouth" and as a sell-out in such circles. Then, the author clarified that he loves the original comics, which made said aficionados shut up for the most part.
- Jim Davis himself incidentally loves these remakes enough to have allowed them to be printed in a book form.
- Up to Eleven: Even Jon's hallucinations think he's crazy.