Review – Garfield #33: His 9 Lives Part 1 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios (KaBOOM!)
Author: Scott Nickel
Artist(s): David DeGrand, K. Lynn Smith, and Andy Hirsch
Release Date: 7th January, 2015
During my formative years, I – like so many other children my age – absolutely loved Garfield. My bedroom floor was permanently cluttered with bundles of comic books chronicling the exploits of Jim Davis’ sarcastic orange cat, and I had a drawer full of VHS tapes containing his cartoon adventures. Of all those tapes however, the one I think I probably wore out the most was the animated TV special Garfield: His Nine Lives. Something about seeing my favourite lasagne-loving feline in brand new surroundings and situations definitely appealed to my creative instincts.
Now obviously, when I found out that BOOM! Studios – as part of their KaBOOM! imprint – were recreating these stories with a variety of acclaimed artists including the likes of Roger Langridge and Frazer Irving, the child inside me jumped at the chance to review them. So, to the obvious question – does the BOOM! Studios comic-book version measure up to the nostalgia-laden memories of my childhood? Well… yes and no.
While this (thankfully) isn’t a straight-up adaptation of the source material, the basic ‘lives’ still remain intact. This first issue introduces us to the prehistoric ‘Cave Cat’ and the ancient Egyptian ‘King Cat’, and the fond memories instantly came flooding back as soon as I started to read. The scenarios and gags have been altered (for the most part, anyway – some aspects do remain), meaning that those familiar with the original book and cartoon aren’t going to be bored to death. Unfortunately however, it also seems that – from my perspective, at least – Garfield really hasn’t aged particularly well. As a child, I absolutely loved his sarcastic schtick and pseudo-philosophical ramblings, providing an exciting alternative to the bland, generic approach of a lot of other ‘kids books’. As an adult, however, it all just seems a little lazy.
Both stories contain pretty much the same jokes, based around the familiar staples of the Garfield character. He’s lazy, he hates Mondays, he loves Lasagne, dogs and cute kittens are annoying… you know the deal by now. Unfortunately, neither of the strips attempts to add anything new, with writer Scott Nickel staying well and truly inside the Garfield comfort zone with two flat, uninspired tales. There is still the odd chuckle here, it has to be said – I got a real kick out of ‘Cave Cat’ specifically inventing the postal system just to send an all-too-familiar package to Abu Dhabi – but overall, this has to be seen as something of a wasted opportunity. It also bears mentioning that the artwork here is a little too close to Davis’ original style to really add anything new in terms of visuals – something I’m hopeful the likes of Irving and Langridge will remedy in the issues to come.
Overall, this is a disappointing start to the resurrection of one of my favourite childhood memories, although with three more issues to come, I’m hopeful that things will improve. Bring on Sam Spayed, that’s what I say!
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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