Was I out of the loop, or uninformed? Was I just not paying attention when fun, clever, silly stuff was happening all around me?
Because judging by this unexpected little gem, I’m missing all kinds of charmingly awesome and crafty comics that have been under my radar.
Garfield’s Pet Force is a surprising tangent for America’s favorite lasagna-eating feline. The stories in this wonderful one-shot aren’t your traditional Garfield adventures with lazy Garfield, stupid Odie and compliant Jon. No, this book is – weirdly enough – a funny super-hero satire that puts the dog, cat and man in costumes and has them engage in a ridiculous sort of inter-universe crossover.
As drawn by George Lane and Gary Barker, this is a colossal quasi-Kirby crossover, a mighty menagerie of mixed-up main characters who satirize all depicted with artwork that adroitly mixes Jim Davis with the King, Jack Kirby. There are silly jokes aplenty here – puns on pet names, outlandish takes on the dark era of comics, absurd costumed heroes from alternate dimensions – all created in a style that is humorous, weird and really kind of awesome.
In this time when Marvel super-heroes may be better known than Garfield to the elementary school set, this is a smart choice for a publisher who’s trying to keep their kids’ line relevant to the vast majority of their audience. And Pet Force works well for that cohort of readers, delivering clever silliness that will provide long-lasting reading pleasure.
This comic will also be fun for their parents. Lane and Barker obviously love what they’re drawing, as seen by the craftsmanship they bring to every page, and small touches like the endless spilling of Kirby Krackle, the Marvel-eqsue character designs, and the old-school page grids make these jokes even sillier. Besides, it’s a wonderfully absurd touch to create competent super-heroes with the face of Garfield and his friends and the body of the Incredible Hulk.
Garfield’s Pet Force isn’t Alan Moore, but I was filled with chuckles and guffaws reading the book. I may have muttered “tee hee” a few times too.