Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Garfield comic books

As strange as this may sound, comic books based on newspaper strips were a staple many decades ago. Comic books starring characters from Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, and Popeye were being published for years in various forms. In fact, it's still around. You can buy monthly titles featuring Peanuts, Popeye, and Garfield right now.

Garfield is an odd case, though. One of the most widely merchandised strips ever printed, Garfield appeared in numerous animated adaptations, graphic novels, toys, and children's books. However, it wasn't until last May that a comic book began. Even Heathcliff had one through Marvel from 1985 to 1991.

Garfield is published by Kaboom! (Adventure Time, Snarked) and is written by Mark Evanier, who wrote the Garfield and Friends TV series. The artwork is split between Paws, Inc. team Gary Barker & Dan Davis, and veteran comic book cartoonist Mike DeCarlo.

On a whim, I decided to buy one of the issues (Issue #4, cover above) and see how it holds up. I have fond memories of Garfield as a kid. I loved the TV cartoons and I used to have a big stack of book collections that I read over and over, so there's a bit of nostalgia in me.

I read the comic, and it's alright, actually.

"Jon of the Jungle" is one of the few stories that features Jon Arbuckle's career as a cartoonist (yes, Jon is a cartoonist. You didn't know?). Jon has to come up with a new idea or he's fired. Unfortunately, an idea Jon has (A Radioactive Ninja Gerbil with Psychic Powers and Titanium Claws who can turn into a Robot Dinosaur) is, quite frankly, stupid (and apparently a cliche in this universe), so Garfield trashes the idea a draws a new one where Jon is a Tarzan-like character, complete with a Wacom tablet that many cartoonists now use.

The first story is pretty funny, with clever dialogues from Garfield (you can easily hear Lorenzo Music when reading them) and the artwork is nice. The second story is noticeably weaker, though. "The Very Smart Little Girl" features Garfield trying to help out a smart but socially awkward girl, who wants to make friends. Think Twilight Sparkle with less charm.*
The artwork by Mike DeCarlo is noticeably weak and the writing is too reminiscent of standard Saturday Morning stories. The old TV show could be like that, alas, so it's just as on-par with them as the first story.

Again, this is just one issue that I read, but overall, I can't hate them. I like "Jon of the Jungle" enough for me to get curious about the other comics.

You can buy the comic books from TFAW.com or through your local comic book store.

* - Speaking of Twilight Sparkle, come back tomorrow for another comic book-related blog post.

1 comment:

granitoons said...

We used to get a Garfield monthly comic in the UK. It was basically a month's worth of (by then) year-old daily (and Sunday) strips in colour with some oldies and Orson's Farm thrown in. It had puzzles, poster and pen-pals and stuff too.