What happens when you remove the lasagna-loving, Monday-hating feline from Jim Davis‘s Garfield comic strips? Pet-owning bachelor Jon Arbuckle is revealed to be a depressed, lonely pessimist who racks up an impressive number of mental disorders, at least according to our DSM-IV. Subtracting Garfield, Odie, and friends from the Garfield strips was the idea of Dublin, Ireland-based Dan Walsh, who created the popular Garfield Minus Garfield website, “a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.” Now a book version is in the works.
In a deal announced last week at Comic-Con, Ballantine Books will publish a full-color tome that “will give readers the experience of having both the original and doctored Garfield strips together on the same page for comparison.” Garfield creator Davis is all for removing his strip’s title character. “I think it’s an inspired thing to do,” Davis said in a press release. “I want to thank Dan for enabling me to see another side of Garfield. Some of the strips he chose were slappers: ‘Oh, I could have left that out.’ It would have been funnier.” And infinitely more soul-crushing.