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No. 4443: Alone: The Untold Story

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Alone: The Untold Story

First | Previous | 2021-07-18 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/garfield/?comic=4443

Strip by: Robin Swift

{Garfield lies on a table while Jon sits next to him. Both look depressed}
Jon: I'm so depressed, it's depressing
Garfield: Tell me about it
Jon: I think I'll go out and shoot myself
Garfield: Sure
Garfield: You're just trying to cheer me up
{Jon sits on his sofa while Garfield sits beside him. Both look depressed}
Jon: The day after Christmas I always get depressed
Jon: Do you know what I mean, Garfield?
Garfield: Yes, I do
Garfield: If I were you I'd be depressed every day
{Jon sits on the table, looking depressed. Garfield walks away from him, looking cheerful this time}
Jon: I'm depressed, Garfield
Garfield: Hang on. I have just the thing
Garfield {bringing out a sundae for Jon}: This should cheer you up
Garfield {bringing out another, much bigger sundae}: And, of course, misery loves company
{Garfield lies in his bed while Jon looks at him with a depressed face}
Jon: Why the long face, Garfield?
Garfield: I don't know
Jon {leaning closer to Garfield}: Are you depressed because you're fat and lazy and out of shape?
{Garfield buries his head in the blanket. Jon is now out of sight}
Garfield: Why is it friends aren't happy until they've given some direction to your depression?
{Camera cuts to black as Garfield dozes off}
{Cut to the event of the Alone strips. A six-panel montage summarizing the event of the strips is shown. This is the point when Garfield wakes up from the previous nap}
Garfield {sitting in his bed}: Brrr, there's a chill in here this morning
Garfield {walking toward a door}: This doesn't feel like my home
Garfield {looking around an empty hallway}: Jon? Odie?
Garfield {in an empty room}: Anybody home?
{Camera zooms out to Jon's abandoned house. A sign that reads "For Sale" can be seen in front of the house. Garfield can be seen looking out from the window}
Garfield {looking at a photo}: My home has been abandoned. No one has lived here for years!
{Cut to the end of the Alone strips. Camera zooms in Garfield's frantic eye. Large amount of sweat can be seen dripping down his face}
Narrator: After years of taking life for granted, Garfield is shaken by a horrifying vision of the inevitable process called "time"
Narrator: He has only one weapon...
{The narrator nonchalantly continues as Garfield turns his head up and screams}
Narrator: Denial...
Garfield: I don't want to be alone!
{Jon and Odie suddenly appear in front of Garfield}
Jon: Want some breakfast, Garfield?
Garfield {jumps up and hugs Jon in joy}: Who needs it? I need you!
{Cut to the present day. A three-panel montage of Jon being silly is shown}
Jon {holding two pineapples in his hand and wearing a bunch of balloons on his head}: Garfield, I am going to tap dance on the front lawn in my underwear with a balloon animal tied to my head to my head and a pineapple in each hand!
Jon {howling}: Aroooooooo!
Jon {staring at nothing}: Why don't they make cars out of cardboard?
{The narrator of the Alone strips shows up again, narrating the ending}
Narrator: An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shade perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice... or terrify, all depending upon how we conduct ourselves today...

The author writes:

Garfield is a grumpy, sometimes depressed cat who is often too caught up in his own drama to care about other people. This becomes a problem when he fails to realize Jon is low-key depressed as well. The truth is, Jon is a cheerful man, but he suffers from unexpected bouts of depression as well. Sadly, Garfield fails to catch on to Jon's signs of depression, offering inappropriate consolation as best and directing the conversation to himself at worst. Jon's mental state continues to worsen without anyone noticing; until one day, during a depression bout, Jon decides that he can't go on anymore. He looks at Garfield for the last time, saying Garfield is fat, lazy and out of shape - which is actually a statement about himself - and goes away, never to return. Garfield, as usual, does not catch on to that and goes to bed in the usual grumpy mood. Garfield finally wakes up to find Jon and Odie gone and the house abandoned. It slowly dawns on him what has happened, but it is now too late for him to do anything about it. The only thing he can do is to enter denial mode, and create an imaginary world where Jon is still alive. In this world, Jon is shaped just like the way Garfield used to see him, a happy-go-lucky man who knows no depression. After all, such a cheerful and simple-minded man can never become depressed and kill himself, right?

While looking through various Garfield strips, I was shocked at how often Jon in the old strips gets depressed and how indifferent Garfield is to Jon's feelings (even when he talks about shooting himself). And then I wondered, what if the Alone strips are actually the result of Jon's depression, worsened by Garfield's indifference? That would also explain why "denial" is mentioned at the end of the strips, and why Jon becomes more and more silly with each new strip, and possibly why the Garfield series never ends and no one grows old. And this strip is the result.

Original strips: 1983-10-19, 1985-12-09, 1986-12-26, 1987-07-08, 1989-10-23, 1989-10-24, 1989-10-25, 1989-10-26, 1989-10-28, 1991-02-13, 2017-10-24, 2018-06-13.