In the Loop

Garfield minus a cease and desist letter

Posted at 12:22 PM on October 28, 2008 by Sanden Totten

Garfield.jpgI got a book from a publisher the other day that made me do a double take: Garfield Minus Garfield, the paperback. (image from Garfield.com)

Now, Garfield Minus Garfield is certainly worth a book. It's already a hugely popular website. The premise is, if you erase the orange cat from the strip you end up with a sad, lonely man talking to himself. Hilarity ensues.

The strange thing was that it was actually made into a book with Garfield creator Jim Davis' blessing.

The usual response to a website that takes someone's work and mixes it up for fun and profit (or usually just fun) is a cease and desist letter. That's what happened to the Garfield Randomizer (though you can still find places that use the code if you try *wink wink*).

But for some reason Davis has wholly endorsed this spoof on his work. In fact, he's listed as the author of the book. But why now, why this comic? Here are some theories:

a) Jim Davis really liked the idea. It struck a nerve with him as a person who, like most of us, has felt isolated from time to time.

b) It adds nuance and depth to Davis' work, creating new readings of his old material.

c) It will make him money.

Whatever the reason, it's nice to see a happy ending for both Davis and Dan Walsh, the guy who created the Garfield Minus Garfield site. But I'd be interested to know the details of their agreement on this one. It looks like Walsh gets to keep his site up and was paid to write an intro for the book. But should he get a cut of the sales? Can he make money off the website? Davis and Walsh are breaking new ground here. Time will tell if it becomes the norm or an anomaly.

October 2008
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