Can we talk about the brilliantly bittersweetness this “Garfield” strip is?
It was released not long after the death of “Peanuts” creator, Charles M. Schulz.
Mr. Schulz was a mentor of sorts to Jim Davis, and over the years, the two had bounced off ideas and even had references to each other in their strips (Garfield once looked in the mirror on a Monday to find himself as Snoopy in one strip for example, and Snoopy once mused about sending a “Garfield” card to the Red Barron), and we can thank Mr. Schulz for suggesting to Mr. Davis that Garfield would be more expressive if he walked upright. And it’s common “Garfield” knowledge that Odie once had black ears instead of brown, but was quickly changed to avoid any problems that would arise from baring to much a resemblance to the basic idea of Snoopy.
All in all, it’s safe to assume that Mr. Schulz and Mr. Davis were pretty good friends and there is plenty of info and collabs between them (many are difficult to find now) that support this.
So it’s fitting that Garfield’s mourning strip for the loss of a newspaper comic legend would be this simple, wordless, three panel comic.
Garfield walks to Snoopy’s doghouse, sees that Snoopy is no longer sleeping on the top (as Snoopy always did since the “Icicle Incident”). He just looks up, lays down on top, and sighs.
It’s a simple strip, and most would miss the meaning to it of they didn’t know it’s history, but when you realize what it is and why it works… It’s one of the saddest moments in “Garfield”