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Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 06/30/2009

The Comics Minus 'Garfield'? Time to Defend That 'Toon

By The Reliable Source

Yes, folks, it's time once again to play: Defend That 'Toon!

'GARFIELD' (UPS)Enlarge Image

Last week, Comic Riffs asked readers: Were you editor, would you cancel "Hagar the Horrible" from your funnypages -- and the response was almost squarely down the middle. The Vermilion Viking has his passionate detractors, but also fans of the strip seemed to man an entire wall of parapets.

So in this week's (theoretical) exercise, we now turn our attention to another lumpy, red-orange creature who grew out of the '70s: Garfield himself.

"Garfield" draws enough sharp-clawed critics that an entire cottage industry arose out of "Garfield Minus Garfield." But there are still plenty of very vocal readers -- and that's not counting the hopped-up-on-Juicy-Juice grade-schoolers of the land who practically hail Garfield as a god of the funnypages. (Though thankfully, they stop short of offering pans of lasagna as sacrifice.)

So the Official 'Riffs Question of the Day is: Were you editor, would you give "Garfield" the ol' heave-ho from your comics pages, or would you let him stick around?

If you're no fan, feel free to Impugn-That-Toon. But if you're a Garfield lover, now's the time to Defend That 'Toon!

By The Reliable Source  | June 30, 2009; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Defend That 'Toon  
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It's time to get rid of Davis and start doing "classic Garfield" The first few years were actually pretty funny. I think Lyman must've been the funny one ~ when he left, it went downhill.

I think the new neighbors from "Monty" might be able to make Davis disappear, much the way Lyman did.

Posted by: filfeit | June 30, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

At first, I thought this post was about Garfield Minus Garfield. I'd be all in favor of running that strip instead.

Posted by: justvisiting73 | June 30, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Garfield amuses small children and the feeble-minded. Some strips can't even say that much.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 30, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Garfield to go.

Posted by: MSluvs2run | June 30, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The only Garfield strip I'd find funny is the one where he becomes roadkill.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | June 30, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I always liked Heathcliff more than Garfield
Heathcliff is long gone I assume?

I always think of Mary Worth as "Apple Mary".
She was a Grandmom to Denny when I was 5 years old fo' Pete's sake! Will she ever die and be buried?

That reminds me. I also remember Pete (the Tramp), and a host of others.

Posted by: lufrank1 | June 30, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

During the discussion that preceded the discontinuance of Zippy, Judge Parker, etc, it was said that Garfield was enjoyed by the young folks. Well then - put it on The Kid's Post page and bring back Frazz fer cryin out loud.

Posted by: hdradio | June 30, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

It has long been time to retire Garfield...the cartoon that has 2 or 3 simplistic lines. While Garfield was cute for, maybe, the first year or two, it has been both redundant and pointless ever since. With all of the really original cartoonists and cartoons on the market to include those focusing on urban life, minority priorities, families, women, politics both progressive and conservative and more...Garfield is simply an on going interference.

As an aside, even as a long time fan of Charlie Brown, I similarly think it time to retire that cartoon from the newspapers as well. Same thing with original cartoon all of whose cartoon books I own. But even tho McGruder stopped drawing his cartoon some time ago, it seems to live on interminably. And Zippy, one of the most self impressed, redundant, and tedious cartoons I have EVER seen, should have gone long ago!

There are far too many cartoons...really good and original cartoons...which deserve exposure.

Posted by: DrLou1 | June 30, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Garfield should go. It wold be fun if they ran one year of the best Garfield Minus Garfield, but didn't tell anybody about the switch. How long before anyone noticed?

Garfield's time has come and gone. Alternatively, it could find a place on the kid's page, if they wanted to actually expand the number of comics, rather than reduce them.

Posted by: psears2 | June 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Here is the thing. Garfield stinks, its stunk for years, but it still brings in readers. Until another comic can come up with that kind of iconic character and mass appeal, people will keep reading it (especially kids). There are a ton of other comics that are just as mediocre that can be axed first.

Posted by: jessecline | June 30, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Garfield is awful. But a cut above Hagar and Beetle though ... how these three run and Pooch Cafe doesn't would be mindblowing if we were dealing with another industry instead of editors who actually read the strips and cared about the quality of their paper rather than "pacifying the old people."

Posted by: greasypores | June 30, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I used to like Garfield when I was a kid, but I can't stand him these days. Interestingly, a lot of Garfield Minus Garfield strips are pretty much the same whether Garfield is in them or not, but they're always less funny WITH Garfield. It's like the character is a black hole of comedy.

Posted by: Roto13 | June 30, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it. Giving John the girl(Liz) took the last chance for anything new from this strip. At least Mary Worth is funny.

Posted by: Montanan | June 30, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Another vote for putting Garfield on the Kids' page and bringing Frazz back to the main comics pages; I hate seeing this brilliant strip (Frazz, not Garfield) reduced to tiny out-of-order snippets that I have to remember to hunt for on another page or online.

Posted by: nvanative | June 30, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Kids deserve just as much high quality as the rest of us. Getting rid of Garfield is much better than putting it on Kids Post.

Posted by: 5isamagic | June 30, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Garfield needs to go.

And, I would retroactively vote for Hagar to go too.

Posted by: Jam893 | July 1, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Garfield has become a tedious running advertisement for Jim Davis's Spinoff Products Emporium. Ever since Davis wordlessly axed Lyman (perhaps to forestall charges of condoning a homosexual couple in the comics), redesigned Garfield's legs (to make them easier to animate on TV), and turned over the illustration duties to nameless employees, it was clear that humor was never the main objective of the strip. All Davis wants to do is make a buck.

Why should newspapers PAY for the privilege of printing an extended series of ads? Dump Garfield, and give that precious newsprint space to honest cartoonists who are still drawing their own creations.

Posted by: kilby | July 1, 2009 5:38 AM | Report abuse

To echo what someone else said above, put Garfield on the KidsPost page and put Frazz back on the comics page where it belongs.

That said, Garfield's lame, but so are about 2/3 of your other strips. There were literally more imaginative and subversive strips 100 years ago than there are today, when nearly all of them seem to be drawn by committee and passed through another committee of censors. And when you've shrunken them to the size of a postage stamp, you might as well give them their last cigarette and be done with them. You need to stop taking reader surveys and hire an editor with a bit more knowledge, imagination, and real sense of the absurd. The saddest thought that comes to mind while reading through the two pages of your print edition is that there is probably more humor to be found on the Post's op-ed page---and that's where you find Charles Krauthammer and George Will!

Posted by: andym108 | July 1, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

So do the readers surveys really do anything?
Do the higher ups listen or actually care what the readers are saying?

I think it has been made clear that Garfield should either go or go to the kids page and bring frazz back.

Why is Pooch Cafe still not back yet the dead comics are still running? Does anyone really check their horoscope via the paper anymore? Couldn't we get rid of that and free up some more room?

Posted by: buckeye96 | July 1, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

First, stop running old Frazz strips on Kids Post and move the current strip to the comics. Then dump Garfield, it's not funny, just a one note joke that's gotten real old. Frazz in't just a kid's strip, but apparently whoever edits the style/comics page doesn't understand their job assignment. If you have to print a microscopic strip on Kids Post, use something with few words that we won't miss on Fri. and Sat., like Mutts. Not everyone reads the paper while attached to a computer.

Posted by: olddog1 | July 1, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

At first I was for going along with keeping Garfield, but on Kids page. I had forgotten that there is a marketing empire associated with Garfield - heck, 24 years ago I attended an embarrassing wedding that featured a Garfield wedding cake! I want Frazz and Pooch Cafe back. Get rid of Peanuts classics - what a waste of money and space.

Posted by: asmith609irving | July 1, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could say "begone Garfield"...but, I still read the thing! So Keep the Cat! Dump Peanuts. I like GarfieldwithoutGarfield, much to my surprize. Wish they could do Snoopywithouttherest".

Posted by: ZeldaJane | July 1, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Please do not get rid of Garfield. He is one cool cat. I have had many cats and they all thought they were human just as much as Garfield KNOWS he is more human than his human owner. It is so true to life!

Posted by: cains | July 1, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe all the negative comments about GARFIELD. As I've said before in this forum, please keep comics funny, not socializing. There's plenty of places in the paper for socializing, such as the OPINION page, but the comics should be lighthearted and funny. GARFIELD and PEANUTS CLASSICS should stay, and bring back BC and WIZARD OF ID. Send the poitical comments to the OPINION page.

Posted by: JCollins1 | July 1, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Garfield is not only still funny, but the artwork is still exceptional when the strip demands, but more than that, Garfield is funny on its own, Jim Davis is able to keep it funny in the context of the characters, instead of relying on pop culture references, parodies or cheap shots at the other comics. How many comic strips nowadays can say that?

Posted by: WillCraig16 | July 1, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Garfield is a dullard's idea of humor.

Posted by: rhompson | July 2, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

As an editor, I would resign before canceling "Garfield." Too many families like the strip, and they are the ones who are likely to buy a newspaper and are not likely to read these reviews. There may be better cartoons, but there are very few that are more popular.

Posted by: larrybush | July 2, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow! The only debate that generates more heat is evolution v. intelligent design.

Garfield is often funny. That's all I need. And I'm rooting for John, the poor schlub, and Liz. Would be very disappointed if she was taken out of the strip. Let him get the girl - there can be humor in that, too.

Looked at 'Garfield minus Garfield' - I don't get it.

And I've never been able to tolerate Heathcliff.

This, as my mother says, is why they have horse races.

Posted by: Paul729 | July 2, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Garfield needs to be euthanized.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | July 2, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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