Comic Book Legends Revealed #465
COMIC LEGEND: Jim Davis did a series of Garfield strips where the cast is killed.
An interesting thing about online “legends,” is that there almost seems to be a certain cycle to them. The topic comes up, someone debunks it, it goes away for a few years until the next group of people hear the legend, bring it up, someone debunks it and then it goes away for a few years until the next batch of people hear the legend and bring it up.
I mention that because that seems to be the case with the prevalent “Is there a Garfield comic strip where Garfield and/or Jon and Odie were killed?” legend was just brought up to me by reader Joe B. in an e-mail.
It is funny how these things go, because while the strips in question happened almost twenty-five years ago, it was not until the 21st Century that they became a bit of a sensation (particularly when Boing Boing did a feature on the strips in 2006).
Here they are from October 1989…
Now obviously, first off, how awesome were those strips? That’s just damn fine cartooning right there.
Secondly, what the hell was going on with those strips?
You can understand how people would sort of freak out about the strips at the time and especially how people might throw out all sorts of wild conspiracy theories (“Garfield has been a ghost this whole time, man!”) when exposed to the strips years later.
However, the truth is far less controversial.
Davis was interviewed about the subject for the 20th Anniversary of Garfield, and he noted:
During a writing session for Halloween, I got the idea for this decidedly different series of strips. I wanted to scare people. And what do people fear most? Why, being alone. We carried out the concept to its logical conclusion and got a lot of responses from readers. Reaction ranged from ‘Right on!’ to ‘This isn’t a trend, is it?’
So no, Joe, there was never any intent for any sort of sweeping meaning behind those strips besides being a Halloween tie-in.
So now, when someone hears about this legend in 2017, we at least have a Comic Book Legends Revealed section on it for them to look at!