On Saturday, I posted about the strange, dark week of despair dropped on the world by Garfield in a 1989 series of newspaper strips. Did Garfield die? Or was he just in the midst of a serious existential crisis? After all these years, the mystery has been solved. This week, BB reader Kevin Skinner happened to have the opportunity to ask the comic's creator, Jim Davis, about the so-called "Death of Garfield" series. From Kevin's email to me:
I read the ("Death of Garfield?") post a couple of days ago and was intrigued because I was scheduled to have a business meeting with Jim Davis in just a couple of days (I work for Hallmark). Well, I had that meeting at Paws (Davis' company) yesterday and I used the opportunity to ask him just exactly what he had in mind when he wrote those strips. The answer was simple. He was not inspired by any cartoon (though I could certainly see why the other commenter might believe so). Garfield is NOT dead, nor is he starving to death (Jim actually laughed loudly when I suggested these theories). It was simply a week before Halloween and Jim wanted to do something legitimately scary, as opposed to Halloween-scary. "Ghosts aren't scary..." he told me before explaining that before writing the strips he went around to everyone he knew and asked them what truly scared them. The answer he got most often was "being alone" or "dying alone". Just that simple.Thanks, Kevin Skinner and Jim Davis!
I mentioned the post to Jim and he seemed tickled. I told him that I intended to set the record straight and he seemed fine with it. As a matter of fact he was unaware of the many internet-circulated theories about the strips (it took him a moment to even understand which strips I was talking about).
I have to admit that I am more than a little thrilled to have had the opportunity to address (and resolve) something that so many are speculating about. A rare opportunity indeed...
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.