I enjoyed my little Marmaduke bitch session, and I got a couple of emails from other people who enjoyed it too. I'm going to stay in the domesticated animal kingdom and look at another pet whose mother should've heeded the words of Bob Barker about being spayed or neutered.
Not really inspiring is it? Let's see what it looks like if we read this in the Mexican Daily Bugle.
Looks like the Spanish comics can see into the future because I'm going to talk about Cathy tomorrow. Today is Garfield. The reason why there is no Garfield in Spanish is because the link is broken. Who said it sucks to live in Peru?
Ok. Let's look at the Garfield strip. Let me say, first off, that I'm not going to just bitch about strips, there are a lot of comics that I like, but I want to discuss the ones I hate first. Marmaduke is by far the worst one, but Garfield is a close second, though it isn't for the same reasons. Sometime in the late 1980s, Jim Davis completely and totally sold out to Madison Ave. I do not begrudge him this, he had a hot property and struck. That's the American way and more power to him.
Since then, and this is where I have a huge problem, he has completely and totally coasted. As long as he can sell another Garfield window sticker, he doesn't put an iota into his comic strip. I doubt very much that he even draws or writes the strip anymore. The guy who does Marvin was a Garfield artist and if you look at his older strips, they have the same style.
Quick aside, I just looked for a few examples of Marvin to compare and contrast between Davis' style and Tom Armstrong (who draws Marvin) and his comic is completely different. Gone are the "Garfield-like" eyes, the chubbiness sameness of everyone in the strip, the expressionless faces. It is a more streamlined Marvin. Strange. I wonder when and why he did this.
Back to Garfield. Look at the three panels. They are essentially the same three panels except for a few differences: in the first, Garfield is walking Jon's expression is blank. In the second panel, Garfield makes a gesture with one of his arms. His face has not changed at all, neither has Jon's. In the third panel, Garfield's arms are thrown open and Jon mood seems to have soured. However Garfield's expression has not changed since the beginning of the strip, despite delivering the punchline.
Pardon my pun, but he needs a lot more animation. Davis has a unique style and it's obvious that he's a hell of an artist, but his jokes are often flat and hacky. From hating Mondays to loving lasagna, Garfield is a one-trick pony. And though he may be one of the only comic characters that recognizes his own birthday (often the same "Woe is me, I'm old, I hate my birthday" strip every year), Garfield has not grown. About the only change that has happened in the Garfield universe during the last 25 years is the disappearance of Odie's owner Lyman.
And this is where Davis has failed. Garfield will always be a relic from the 1980s where nothing really changed too much. The 1990s were the fast forward decade, while the previous ten years were like a time warp when life was the same on January 1, 1980 as it was on December 31, 1989. Garfield, and Davis, are stuck in that quagmire. The only difference between the two is that Davis is making a lot of money being stuck in neutral.
Aside from thinking about Garfield, this weekend was pretty laid back, though I ate like a damn pig. Saturday Aly and I went to her parents place in Franklin for a combination birthday party/Easter dinner. It was Roy's birthday, he called it his "Maris year" because he turned 61. He looks good for 61, and I'm not just saying that because he reads this blog. He did ask me, "Who the hell is Aquaman?" which cracked me up. He thought it was one of my friends, which I took as a compliment as it means that I can write another voice and make it sound different from mine.
We did nothing but eat and watch college hoop all day. That is literally all that we did.
Sunday, we went to church (it was Easter after all) and then went to Amesbury. We had a good time, it's definitely a little different than a Manasso gathering, but that doesn't mean it's any better or worse. My mom fed us like we'd never seen food before. And that's all we did on Sunday was eat.
There was a bit of drama, but that was later in the evening. My uncle showed up to the house with a new Jaguar. At Christmas this guy was destitute, but now he's driving a new sports car. And it's not a shitty one either, it's pretty nice. This pissed my folks and uncle off because they know that he got the money from the sale of my grandfather's store.
Supposedly it wasn't making money and Joseph, who pretty much ran it after my aunt (his mother) couldn't work there anymore, was up to his ears in debt (store and gambling) sold it. After paying his creditors off, he had quite a little wad, so he started to live large again. My mom and her brother are more than a little pissed that none of the money that he received went to them. And to be truthful, they have a point. My grandfather worked in that store until the day he died, their grandparents (like Joseph's) started the business. Why shouldn't they get a cut?
They're not. And this is going to fester like a scab that will only be picked on holidays. I have a feeling that within a year or two, this will come to a head and it's not going to be pretty. That was the dinner theatre on Sunday evening.