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Garfield Minus Garfield    by Jim Davis order for
Garfield Minus Garfield
by Jim Davis
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

There's something zen about Garfield Minus Garfield, which is based 'on the phenomenon ignited by Dan Walsh's hilarious and wildly popular webcomic.' The Minus Garfield strips are presented in color, with the original versions below them (smaller and in black and white).

With egoistic Garfield, the usual center of attention and series star, erased from the strips, we focus on the reality of Jon Arbuckle's life - as in a comic where he's all dressed and ready for a date ... three weeks in the future! It's pretty amazing looking at the two versions of these strips together and seeing how much the message changes when it is - and is not - all about the extroverted Garfield (whose snarky thoughts about Jon typically change the reader's mood from sympathy to derision). For example, we see Jon regreting the passing of a day (which is gone forever) while Garfield sarcastically muses (in the original) 'Lock the doors in case it wants to come back.'

Walsh himself admits in the Foreword that, though he wanted to be just like Garfield as a kid, later in life he felt just like Jon, 'lonely, disheartened, crazy, disillusioned' - and don't we all relate to that at times? Garfield Minus Garfield is a must read for all fans of the supersized feline, and especially for those who've always had a sneaking sympathy for his perpetually put-down owner.

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