Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ethos and Garfield comics

A quickie from me this week, but I've been looking forward to it.

I figure around now would be a good time to note the ethos, or mission statement, of the blog. Timing wise, I'm aiming to post at least once a week. If I'm threatening to burst at the seams, I might take the time to write a second post for that given week (as I did last week). Posts will come in two flavours: rambles and musings. So far I've done rambles only and it's pretty much like my past blogs. What is going to be different is my musings. I've labeled this post a musing only so that I can test the musing filter on the right. In reality, this post is probably a good, even mixture of rambling and musing.

Ramblings are your typical ranting blogs that, on occasion, sound intelligent. Musings, on the other hand, will be details or samplings of my creative endeavours, whatever form they may take. So, in other words, this blog is meant to showcase my writing and ideas in various ways.

As such, it is important to me that I write well. However, it is also important that I don't try too too hard. To better illustrate my point, I'll guide your attention to another blog: Permanent Monday, a daily commentary on Garfield comics. At the beginning, the comic had a pretty good draw, at least to me. I really enjoyed the sardonic perspective on Garfield comics and the author's delivery was pretty good and insightful. However, it quickly got too intellectual and academic. It was almost like a case of the author forgetting his audience, or attempting to create a new one. The blog has since fallen on the wayside, but you can follow through a few of the earlier and later ones to see my point.

In contrast, I will attempt to maintain a high level quality of writing while keeping everything accessible and relatively informal. Naturally, I'm relying on my readers to tell me if I start sounding fake.

Anyways, let's get to the musing stuff. Hopefully next week I'll have something even nicer for you guys to enjoy, but for now...since we're on the subject of Garfield, I thought I'd present another interesting look at the comic.

A few months back I came across a link to a forum that edited Garfield comics, removing all of Garfield's thought bubbles. This action lead to some interesting results as Garfield's replies now had to be inferred by the slight twitches in his expression and from Jon's responses. I won't link to the forums directly as they seem to become resentful of the Garfield thread and you never really want to invite the ire of an anonymous collective on the internet. Other edits that were performed included removing Garfield completely from the comic and also some custom comics created by throwing three random panels together. All of these worked well with Garfield because of the universality of the character. If the edits were shown to someone with no preconception of Garfield (but does such a person exist?), I doubt that they would enjoy the edited comics as much.

Here are some of this year's comics that I thought would be interesting to edit. Let me know what you think!

Same expression throughout, I wonder what that means? Perhaps he's hungry...

Note the subtle changes in Jon's expression, the amount of information these twitches convey is just one of the miracles of the comic.
And here we have Garfield with the subtle changes of face.
Hm...although Garfield's face does not change at all (might as well been a copy/paste job). You get the impression that his expression in the last panel is more meaningful that the others.
No words are necessary.

And, indeed, somehow these comics seem funnier without Garfield adding anything else to the comic. I'm sure I'm not the only one that read through dozens of volumes of Garfield during their childhood meanderings. Again, it's our preconception of Garfield that allows us to "fill in the blank" with our favourite Garfield antics, living up the show more than the comic could ever do on its own.

And here's a few from my birthdays of the past, in random order:
I'd rather not look, thanks.

You're a sad man Arbuckle.
I'm actually torn between the text version and the edited version for this and the last one. Garfield's thoughts did add a little bit extra, but I suppose it's a rare occurrence.

Hehe, an excellent example of how ingrained Garfield is in our minds. This comic makes absolutely no sense, but I'm sure that you can almost guess the exact lines that goes here.
And sometimes it's hard to imagine or understand that there were lines there in the first place. Was it really necessary?
I removed the text for Garfield and the Mice, the comic looks much better without the clutter.

Well, that's it for this week. I might do this again if I'm in a jam for a post. Maybe I'll try it with another comic, we'll see. Most likely I'll try for relatively fresh stuff, but I'm sure that I'll be in the mood for this and that sooner or later.

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