The comic strip “Garfield” first appeared in newspapers back in 1978, but the fat, sarcastic orange-and-black-striped cat has remained popular up through today. Kids and adults alike cannot seem to get enough of him. He has appeared in books, on TV and even had a couple of movies! His latest TV incarnation has become the basis for a new series of graphic novels from Papercutz.
Garfield & Co Volume 1-2: Fish to Fry/The Curse fo the Cat People
Based on the Cartoon Network Series
Age Rating: All Ages
Papercutz; May 2011, ISBN: 978-1-59707-266-3, 978-1-59707-267-0
32 pgs., $7.99
Garfield, the star of this series of graphic novels, is a fat, lazy, and rather mouthy cat. He would rather be sleeping with his stuffed bear Pooky than going outside, and he only moves from his spot on the couch to get Jon, his owner to feed him, or to abuse his fellow housemate, Odie the dog. Rounding out the cast is Liz, Jon’s girlfriend and Garfield’s vet, and Garfield’s nemesis, Nermal, the world’s cutest kitten. Each volume features three stories and uses screen shots from the cartoon with word balloons added for the dialog.
The stories are short, most about 12 pages each, and the shortest (and usually the last) is only six pages. Some of the stories are slice-of-life, such as Jon, Garfield and Odie trying to take a family picture as a birthday gift for Liz, or Garfield entering Odie in a pet contest to win the lasagna prize. Other stories have more of a fantasy element to them. In one, Garfield dreams of being put on trial by fish after trying to eat some of Liz’s pet fish. In another, he and Odie are pulled into a magic mirror where the cats who once ruled Egypt (and the world) plot to return and take over again. The stories are entertaining and have that sense of humor that have kept the strips popular all these years.
The art in Garfield & Co. isn’t drawn. Instead, the panels are screen shots from the TV show, which are all done in CGI. While this technique can be hit or miss, it works well for this series. Garfield is already cartoonish, so the unrealistic appearance that CGI has does not cause a distraction. In some ways it is an improvement, as it gives the characters a 3-D appearance and differentiates it from its other 2-D forms.
Garfield & Co. is a fun, light read. Young readers can easily follow the flow of the panels. And even if they can’t read the word bubbles, the images tell the story fairly well, so they can still enjoy it. Garfield’s cartoonish expressions make it easy for anyone to appreciate. These books are best suited for an elementary school library or young readers collection, though anyone of any age will have a good time with it.
This review is based on complimentary copies supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Papercutz.