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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 07/15/2008

The Morning Line: The Cat Also Rises

By Michael Cavna

Jeremy responds to the thundering herd. (King Features)

Neither curiosity nor lasagna moves this kitty. (Universal Press Syndicate)


Now that we've known each other lo these past 24 hours, I feel as though I can trust you. So in the interest of full disclosure -- so we can take this open relationship to "the next step" -- I'd like to let you know:

We here at Comic Riffs think "Zits" is one of the most appealingly drawn features in the century-plus history of comic strips, with Jim Borgman's beautiful line in the lineage of MacNelly's "Shoe," Walt Kelly's "Pogo" and, of course, Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes." Even on days when the gags aren't as strong, the strip is a visual treat. And then there is "Garfield," which -- to borrow from the film "Office Space" -- represents all that is wrong and soulless in the comic universe.

Okay, okay, perhaps we're being just a tad harsh. "Garfield," for what it is, is as reliable as dirt or kitty litter. And unlike many other strips, it once felt like a truly ingenious comic. (We know some intelligent people who still insanely love this strip, so perhaps we're the blind-spot blowhards here.) It's just that now, in its cookie-cutter way, it feels like McDonald's (suction-cup toys and all), what with its mindlessly addictive salty fries that we sometimes crave. But "Zits," on other hand, is mom's best home cookin'.

Which is why it troubles us to see that this week's "Zits" and "Garfield" seem to be running along Completely Parallel Lines, each feature milking six days of strip out of essentially the same gag. We hope this is mere aberration because, yes, both teens and felines can be mightly lazy creatures (or so we recall). But our real secret fear is that on a few days this week, "Garfield" might actually pull it off a hair better.

Good grief. Is it possible that "Marmaduke" could wake up creatively and eclipse next week's "Baby Blues"? Perish the thought.

By Michael Cavna  | July 15, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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