Created by, Jim Davis
Written by, Scott Nickel
Illustrated by, Sara Talmadge (p2-22) & Antonio Alfaro (p1,21).
Colored by, Sara Talmadge (p.2-22) & Lisa Moore (p.1,21)
In this story, Garfield tells the reader how things were and how his life has changed. He reflects back on how well he had trained his owner: he could sleep in late every day, his owner made him big breakfasts, and he watched TV all day. One day something changes and his owner puts him on a diet, limits his sleep and food while expecting him to exercise daily. Garfield becomes ungrateful and leaves looking for freedom and choices. Within this simple beginning are embedded dynamics that are relatable and help connect the reader to the story. How many of us have spoiled our pets, children, or spouses and then tried to make a change? It’s not easy.
Garfield faces some challenges while on the streets, which he overcomes with his typical sneakiness and “charm.” A clown picks him up and takes him to a circus. He meets some new friends and, most importantly, is fed a nice meal. In the end, Garfield outsmarts a dog and sneaks out with a large steak and his hopes intact: that his freedom is everything he thought it would be. Garfield demonstrates the skills that have always defined him: his survival skills. Stated differently, Garfield is best at manipulating others to get his needs met. While this is frustrating to experience in real life, its funny to watch or read about from a distance.
The release of this issue is timely for me personally. My mother recently gave me a Garfield glass with the quote: “I’m easy to get along with as long as things go my way.” Life has a way of coming full circle. We leave home believing that if we have the freedom to make our own choices we can make better ones than our parents. When hubris and pride burn off, we return home with a greater respect for our parent’s sacrifice and grateful for their wisdom. I’m hopeful that this story arc will return to the biting sarcasm and stinging statements that are so prevalent with this character historically. This issue sticks its toe in the water; hopefully, they will jump head first into this story and expand on this character’s ability to touch on difficult topics with authenticity and honesty.