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No. 2680: Rilke's Panther

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Rilke's Panther

First | Previous | 2016-09-19 | Next | Latest

Strip by: DanielBT

Panther: ROAR
His gaze from passing by the bars
Panther: RRRRRR
Is so weary, he can retain no more.
SFX: Crack!
To him, it is as if there were a thousand bars
Jon: Ahhhhhh!
SFX: HONNNNK!
And past those thousand bars, no world.
SFX: Slash!
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the pupils' curtain lifts,
and quietly, an image moves inside,
races down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
reaches the heart, and dies.
Garfield: Nice touch

The author writes:

Garfield in the Rough had a rather unusual aberration - a realistic portrayal of a panther in an otherwise cartoony TV special. Unlike the majority of bullies, tricksters and frauds on the TV show, the Panther was simply a force of nature that couldn't be dealt with by clever talk or convoluted schemes. Your only and best bet for survival would be to avoid as much contact as possible, and woe betide anybody who'd be brave/hardy enough to go up against a fearsome beast without convenient dei ex machina nearby.

This is actually a combination of various differing translations of the German poem, which I personally felt made for the biggest impact. Another comic adaption had the "image" in the animal's head as being surrounded by dense jungle, further heightening the tragic imprisonment.

Inspiration for this obviously came from the poem's usage in the movie Awakenings, starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams.

Original strip: the Garfield in the Rough comic book.