The Garfield Effect

Sep 21st, 2010 | By | Category: Prose

With the advent of the internet, people now have a new medium to “get discovered” on, hence my column…

In the sea of talent, there are dim bulbs who take Edison’s quote of “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration,” and focus on the 90% to pump out crap as if King Midas himself blessed them so that their creative genius hemorrhaged out literary or artistic gold, without ever really realizing that the necessary 10% to fully gain the “success” status had already considered them Persona Non Grata.

Thankfully, most of these people never get “discovered,” and so they blissfully remain in obscurity. I remember going to one “Con” sometime back, where one of the forums presented to the attendees was called “So you want to start a webcomic.” Having no desire at the time to start my own webcomic (mainly due to the oversaturization of webcomics) I did not attend. It was, however, a sign of the times, and something that led me to a phenomenon that I call the “Garfield Effect.”

Garfield Effect: A comic that is supposedly humor based, and flounders in its own efforts to bring forth amusement or laughter from its viewer, either because it has grown stale over time (and the creator’s well of inspiration has run dry, or they simply no longer care), or because it was never funny to begin with. See Garfield the comic strip for an example.

Both Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side are saints in my book of Sunday comic history, not only because they were so great, but because they died gracefully, leaving us with fond memories and happy times, while comics like Cathy continued to drone on into the background, recycling old jokes about gaining weight and bathing suit season (Ack!).

It is with the proliferation of the web into our lives that we no longer have to wait till Sunday to grab a doughnut, a coffee, and some mild amusement. We can now do that at work. Daily. And get paid for it if we’re good enough….

However, there are the occasional traps we fall into, where we want our 10 seconds of life back. The bad comics with humor that could’ve been conjured up by a fifth grader with a book of “jokes” from his or her local public elementary school library (and I’m not talking about the book of dirty jokes placed there by the high school teens to corrupt the young minds). With this I present you an atrocity, so unfunny, if it were a movie it would be considered one of the worst movies ever, and gain cult like status that only drunk people would enjoy because they find amusement in the tragedy.

I present you with *drumroll*

PocketPC Dayz (they spelled “days” with a ‘z’ because they are so cool and hip, just like you!)

(Or because it leaves you in a “daze” of “WTF”… either work.)



I find the sentient PocketPC (which may be this man’s only friend) rather obnoxious. Keep in mind, the PocketPC was the distant Neanderthal cousin of that iPhone or Android phone that’s in your pocket… unless you’re just happy to see me, in which I case I suggest you go to a doctor (that doesn’t even look like a healthy shape).

Does anyone else find it odd that this man is at an IT show and it’s just him and a bunch of vendors? Normally I would take this to be a bad sign, though clearly seeing the forest for the trees is not something this man does well, nor can his electronic BFF help.


Doomed to stay indoors?! Well, in my time we have these things called “laptops.” You see, they allow you to move your computer functionality around at relative ease, while being able to type up documents such as this one, instead of mangling words with your sausage fingers, so the following text of “Grandma gave me some cookies” doesn’t come out as “Grandpa gave me some nookie” followed by some cursing at the autocorrect feature. Even with my Droid’s ease of access to the web, I still have problem traversing sites on its small screen. I will say my Droid takes better sexy bathroom mirror pics of me than my laptop ever did…


Apparently Alex and his magic walkie-talkie get paid to play games all day. Judging by the setting, they also take public transportation where people usually shut their pieholes, and pretend the smelly foreigner who doesn’t believe in showers is merely a cloud of flatulence that will soon pass and nothing more. Yelling “You go Napoleon!” is not only a lame rip on “You go girl!”, but will most likely get you dirty looks from people who can hear you through their iPods, and gain you notoriety as that “weird guy who probably has Tourettes.” At least you’ll get the seat all to yourself!


Alex and his magic walkie-talkie go to France! You can tell by the Eiffel tower, the little flags above the crepe stand, and the person of indeterminate gender with what looks to be a mutant beret in one panel that turns into a fez in the last panel.

Oh, and the “Pepe LePeu” reference “HAHAHAHAHA OMG SO FUNNEEE!!!111)

Before Fandango tried selling movie tickets online with paper bags, I guess they were a translation application called Handango. I could be wrong though. I probably am, but still… Also, based on the person of indeterminate gender speaking English in the last panel, I’m willing to bet, Alex doesn’t need Handango. It’s just a theory though… He does get points for avoiding the use of “Voulez vous couchez avec moi?”


Which would you rather read an eBook on? I mean if someone put a gun to your head and forced you, you Luddite?! An eBook reader such as a Kindle or a Nook, or your iPhone? Yeah, me too. Oh! You don’t say! A cottage-cheese-like discharge? Well… you should really go get that checked out!

Granted if I had to pick reading a book, or reading the text on my Droid, I’d still choose the book, because I don’t want to squint at a small screen any more than I have to, in order to avoid talking to people. And I don’t know about you, but my leisurely forays into the wonderful world of Britannica, just aren’t the same when viewed on my phone’s tiny screen. However, it’s great for when trying to remember some useless fact at dinner. (Just the other day I looked up “rennet” when trying to remember the bacteria harvested from stomach lining used to make cheese! Fascinating!)

The magic walkie-talkie’s use of “Neanderthal” and “stone-age”, however, seems prophetic. Keep in mind these comics were made back in 2005. How I miss that bygone era.


Now for the kicker… for all that talk about how PCs are like soooo yesterday, here we have an advert showing the magazine featuring these comics, not on a PocketPC, but a *gasp* laptop! Furthermore, a few of these strips were actually found in print form! Oh, if the creator only knew his opus was being displayed in such a medium…

These comics could’ve been pulled off better without the main character looking like a total pompous douchebag (See? You don’t need Ed Hardy clothing to achieve that status) who loves shoving their new iPad in your face while belittling your current methods of “getting’ shit done!” They too could’ve used some actually wit, other than some hackneyed Oz or Looney Tunes reference being used. Alas, the PocketPC went down in history as being nothing more than a glorified PDA, and I’d like to think that this offense of a comic strip helped.

You can, however, thank the PocketPC for the existence of your iPhone. Just pretend the comic never happened.

Stephen Elkham appeared in the Defenestration office one day when Amber forgot to shut a window after closing up. In a bizarre twist of irony, Stephen actually joined Defenestration through infenestration…and a ladder. Genevieve, Andrew, Eileen, and even Ben Franklin all tried to shoo him out with various methods (Ben tried logic and reason, Eileen tried magic wardings, Genevieve tried verbal lashings, and Andrew merely whacked at him with a rolled up newspaper) while Bigfoot stood back and laughed his ass off. However, Stephen barely acknowledged any of them while creepily staring at the wall and sipping coffee. Soon after, that room was converted into the “Creepy Staring Guy With Coffee” room, and was mostly used for storage. One day, while moving some old equipment back there, Haratron had serendipitously stored a typewriter in front of Stephen. It wasn’t until a few days later that Eileen noticed that the “CSGWC” room was suddenly alive with the ticking of typewriter activity, and suddenly full of papers (one of them was the complete version of Hamlet all in caps, another was hundreds of pages with nothing more than “All werk n no plai, mayks Jack a LOLboi kthx,” and yet another was a scathing review on Jane Austen and how the Bronte sisters should’ve ganged up and shanked her via a time machine). It was clear the creepy guy had some sapience… plus there was now a seemingly endless source of material that could be added to the website (Jersey Devil was charged with filtering though and scanning in all the documents). Stephen is still referred to as CSGWC though…

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