Jim Davis, the creator of “Garfield,” recently gave an interview to the Huffington Post in tandem with the release of the new “Garfield” holiday DVD collection. This got me thinking: Are we forgetting to appreciate some of Garfield's strange past?
Though Garfield hit newspapers in 1978, he's taken something of a flogging on social media in recent years. He's not terribly cool to like, though I don't know a single person who didn't grow up on “Garfield” or at least own a Fat Cat 3-Pack. In fact, most millennials were probably introduced to the concept of sarcasm through Garfield. He's basically the Jay Leno of comic strips: a surefire comfort source that people remember and discard for its simplistic gimmicks. Mondays. Lasagna. Nermal. Repeat. “Garfield Without Garfield,” an eerie deconstructed comic that revisited real “Garfield” comics, removed Garfield from every panel, and revealed the strip to be a sad tale of a man named Jon Arbuckle who talks to himself, got people thinking about the 36-year-old housecat again — but that didn’t restore his reputation.
In honor of his DVD renaissance, I must offer up what I remember to be the weirdest and coolest chapter in Garfield's past: “Garfield's Nine Lives.” The TV special gave us nine vignettes, all tales of Garfield in various lifetimes. Sometimes he's in his glowering orange form, and sometimes he's completely unrecognizable or another breed entirely. Here's the strangest life from that saga, his moment as Diana, a cat who loves her owner's music.
Jim Davis wrote this, y'all! Along with “Garfield on the Town” and “Garfield's Halloween Adventure,” this special deepened our understanding of the grumpy kitty. I hope we get more chapters in this vein soon.