Review – Garfield #35: His 9 Lives Part 3 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios)

KaBOOM_Garfield_35_A_MainPublisher: BOOM! Studios
Author: Scott Nickel
Artist(s): Brittany Williams and Andy Hirsch
Release Date: 4th March, 2015

During my teenage years, Garfield was my buddy. If the trials of teenage life were weighing heavily I just picked up a Garfield book and read about my favourite chubby, orange feline along with Jon, Odie, Pookie and Nermal and all was well. We had so much in common back then, I loved cats, and he was a cat. He loved lasagne, I loved lasagne. He was sarcastic and hated Mondays. I was a teenager. He was furry all over. I was never far away from a Bic disposable. Anyway, I digress. When I saw Garfield on the review list I thought ‘that’s the very comic for me’. Then I opened it…

I was never aware of Garfield’s 9 Lives until now. The book (originally published in 1984) passed me by as I didn’t start to really get into Garfield until the early 90’s. Consequently, I did a bit of research on the title and the previous comics in this series by BOOM! Garfield’s past lives shaping the cat he is today, re-imagined by other artists. Brilliant. It’s just that, in my head, it’s not Garfield.

The first story arc ‘Supercat’, is Garfield’s fifth life. Set in the 1930’s or the ‘golden age of superheroes’. Williams uses a classic superhero style, colouring and framing to create that exact golden age comic book effect. The story is obviously based around Superman but for me it falls flat. It just doesn’t fit in with Garfield. My Garfield. Gone are the sarcastic remarks and the concerned efforts at making Odie’s life a misery while making a sloth look like an Olympic sprinter, replaced instead with a zippy superhero saving the day? It’s just too much of a stretch for me.

The second story arc is Garfield’s sixth life. His life as a private eye. Anyone who has ever read Babes and Bullets or seen the animation will be familiar with Garfield’s much loved alter ego, Sam Spayed. The artwork here is great. Garfield is re-imagined as a fat lazy detective but his look is not too far from Davis’ original while also reminding me slightly of another famous detective – Dark Horse’s ‘Blacksad’.

Black and white film noir style. A classic whodunnit? storyline. It’s all here, lasagne, naps and comedy. What more do you want?

This issue of Garfield’s 9 Lives is bitter sweet for me. It was difficult to try and get used to the thought of Garfield not being the Garfield from my formative years. The first story arc just didn’t impress but the issue is saved (thankfully) by everyone’s favourite feline detective.

Rating: 2/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Cat McGlinn
Cat Tweets from @LibraryCat10.

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