Thursday, February 07, 2013

Grading Garfield

At the beginning of February, Les McClaine started grading Garfield on a daily basis. Was the gag/joke funny, did the art adequately convey the story, was Jim Davis asleep that day...? A short, Twitter-length commentary plus a letter grade. We're only seven days in, so I'll post the main bits here...
If you were being generous with those B-minuses and weighted the Sunday strip, that averages to around a D+.

I think McClaine's comment, "The joke would fall flat in an amateurish webcomic" is partiuclarly note-worthy. Can you imagine a comic like this surviving in the context of webcomics? I can't. I'll let you decide, though, whether Garfield's success is due primarily to marketing or just the context of other newspaper comics that were around when the strip debuted in 1978.

1 comment:

Michael Mayne said...

Interesting. I just had my students spend a few days vectorizing Garfield comics.

In the spirit of keeping my class conversational and fun, I've taken a few riffing jabs at particular strips and the series in general.

I prefer my gag-a-day comics to be one panel, as any multi-panel comic gets stale and formulaic to me after a few strips (though I still admire the weirdness of Grimmy), so most of my critiques actually take issue with the format, not just Garfield itself.

On the flipside, it's hard to deny that Davis' art style over the decades has evolved to something quite universally appealing in its simple, legible technique. For every bit (okay, maybe every other bit) of flak I throw his way, I have to give Jim Davis credit for creating something with such staying power and inviting, aesthetic simplicity.

Though I'm with you, I'm not quite sure what it is that's kept that boring cat around all this time.