The phenomenon is explained by the authors of the “infernal” arts and the creator of Garfield himself.
Night, thunderstorm. John is kneeling beside the ocean in his pajamas. Before him – a huge figure in the water, but because of the darkness it is impossible to see who it is. A flash of lightning for a few moments illuminates everything around, and it becomes clear that the famous Garfield cat is from the comics in the water. But it looks different: intimidating, and tentacles protrude from its mouth. John is waiting for his fate.
This is not a retelling of a nightmare, but a typical video from the section “I’m sorry, Jon” on Reddit. has already been told about him – this is a community where Garfield is rethought in the spirit of surrealistic horror.
But what drives the artists? And what about such an interpretation of children’s comics thinks the creator of Garfield? TJ learned how the Internet made a harmless cat a chthonic monster in the spirit of Lovecraft’s stories.
Cat, hit the Guinness Book of Records
Comics “Garfield” invented and began to publish in 1978 an American named Jim Davis. He grew up on a farm in Indiana, where there were 25 cats. And, starting to work in publishing, he noticed that there were many popular children’s comics about dogs and other animals around, but not about cats at all. Davis, who had experience in advertising, saw a potential niche that could be occupied. And he began to draw “Garfield”.
The author sought to create a memorable character that everyone could like at once. Almost immediately, several Garfield “chips” appeared, which remained with the cat all subsequent years: he is lazy, loves lasagna, hates Mondays, and from release to release he has a different attitude to host John.
In 1978, Garfield did not look like a modern one. Comics were published immediately in 41 editions, but 90 days later, the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper decided to abandon the issues. James thought this was the beginning of the end, but the editors received hundreds of angry calls from readers and returned Garfield.
Garfield in 1978: “Everything that I do – eat and sleep, eat and sleep, eat and sleep. A cat’s life must be something more than that. I hope no”
By 1983, Garfield had already been published in thousands of publications worldwide. And in 2002 he entered the Guinness Book of Records as a comic, which was published in the largest number of publications in history. James created the Paws Inc company around the character and earns only souvenirs and toys up to a billion dollars a year.
In comics, movies, cartoons, and even the musical of the same name, Garfield remained a harmless hero who could only scratch John’s face. And then the Internet took over.
What binds Garfield and Cthulhu
In September 2018, the author of horror art, William Burke, draws a black and white Garfield as a monster who grabbed John and demanded lasagna. Inspired by positive reviews, the artist after a month publishes a series of similar works. This time, the comic book cat appeared as an insect-like creature that is looking for hiding John.
“John, where is my lasagna?” Asks Garfield-monster. And he continues: “The bullets won’t work, John. John, I smell your smell. The world is coming to an end, John. “
Burke was not the first to turn a famous cat into an otherworldly being. Back in 2013, the brothers Sam and Toby Elden published a comic in which Garfield devoured the house of its owner. The character justified himself in front of him: “Forgive me John, I was so hungry.”
The brothers noted that in most cases, adding “gloom” to the initially good characters is just fun. But the eternal hunger of the cat, shown in the comics, creates real prerequisites for creativity: “Adding an element of horror to Garfield is essentially a development of what is already in it.”
This comic, the works of Burke and the phrase “Forgive me, John” became the basis of the thematic Reddit community r / imsorryjon . He was created in October 2018 by a resident of Washington, Hugo Espinoza, who liked the terrible work that he stumbled upon.
The guy immediately introduced the monstrous Garfield as a chthonic deity like Cthulhu: he was terrified, but at the same time he was worshiped. Espinoza toldForbes that for him the real Garfield is an exhausted character with insanity hidden in the depths, a kind of “immortal creature who knows the pain of eternal life.”
The idea that such a harmless famous character can be turned into something like that immediately captured me. I made a sabreddit and thought that it would be cool to turn the terrible Garfield into an object of a kind of worship, as in the Call of Cthulhu. So the section combines creativity, absurdity and something terrifying.
Hugo Espinozacreator r / imsorryjon
Unexpectedly for Espinoza himself, the idea of turning Garfield into a creature from the works of Lovecraft united a huge number of users. Back in March, about 50 thousand people signed the section. By July, their number had increased tenfold and reached half a million.
Eternal hunger that will not satisfy even lasagna
Within a few months, hundreds of works appeared on the subreddit, dedicated to Garfield in Lovecraft style. The cat became a creature devouring all life – it is constantly driven by an insatiable hunger. And master John turned out to be in the role of victim, now in the role of hostage, to whom Garfield is attached.
The character appeared in various shapes and sizes. Sometimes he destroyed entire cities in pursuit of his goals. Also, the authors of the artifacts added Garfield features like a love of climbing and hate for Mondays.
Sometimes the authors played on Davis original comics, which began as usual, but then turned into surrealism and terrifying aesthetics. Conversation of John and Garfield over a cup of coffee could end up in that the cat actually controls the master’s mind and inspires the illusion of a normal life.
But John doesn’t suspect anything.
Other users created original stories. One of the most popular is about Garfield, who destroyed a whole civilization for the sake of the owner.
“John. I had to do it. I expelled everyone, John. To create the perfect world. Where are you. YOU WILL BE SUFFERABLE. ”
Dylan Green lives in Arizona and is engaged in 3D modeling. But in his free time, he makes animated videos about the huge Garfield from Lovecraftian nightmares. Another user of Reddit made a small clip, where the famous cat has already turned into Cthulhu himself.
Green explains the popularity of such works by the effect of “snowball”, peculiar to the Internet. “All users become a collective mind that grabs something and changes it. Garfield is a suitable character for this process: everyone knows him, but at the same time he is not worked out as much as many other heroes. There is room for interpretation, ”adds the author.
Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis, told the Vice publication that he likes the way artists rethink his character. According to the author, he was always interested to see how the hero “adapts to a different environment.” First, the cat developed in the framework of comics, then in television shows and films, now it is the turn of the Internet.
Davis added that some users go too far and portray Garfield too frankly. Probably, it was about the community r / ImReallySorryJon – NSFW-section on the infernal character.
“I think even this is generally calm,” said 73-year-old Davis. And in the end he added: “True, the attitude of our lawyer on intellectual property … Well, that’s another story.”