I grew up reading Garfield comics and to this day I would read them in the daily Sunday newspaper, so I thought it was only necessary to pick a Garfield & Friends comic. This comic strip I chose was a simple one of three characters having a conversation, made up of only three panels. You could say the comic got straight to the point with no jabber. The comic is bright and full of colors, attracting the reader’s eye immediately. The colors make the reader more intrigued in the comic. Here we can see amplification, as McCloud writes about, through simplicity. All three panels have a couple and Garfield included in them. Garfield has the same grumpy and displeased looking face on in every one. He seems completely emotionless and motionless until he says the one word, “NO” in the last panel. The reader can get a good idea of the kind of animal Garfield is, and my idea of him would be a grumpy old man. Garfield does not seem to be the only motionless character as the man and woman barely move as well. There is also little talk as the woman says only one sentence. Since the panels are so still and there is no concept of time, it is left up to the reader to interpret the comic. It seems as if this conversation takes place in all of five minutes.
McCloud believes there are way words and images can interact. In this Garfield comic, I would say this strip is word specific, duo specific, and additive. The pictures illustrate what is going on but don’t significantly add to the complete text, which makes it word specific. The words almost have more meaning than the illustrations themselves, because the illustrations are so bland and motionless. The words make the illustrations come to life. According to McCloud, “If the words lock in the “meaning” of a sequence, then the pictures can really take off.” This comic strip can be seen as duo specific, because the words and pictures send essentially the same message. For example, in the last panel, Garfield replies “NO” but the reader can almost already tell he would say that by the negative and unamused look on his face. Finally, the comic is additive because the words amplify and elaborate the images. Without any of these word bubbles, there would be no way the reader could tell what was happening in this comic. The author was creative in the second panel by using the punctuation, “…” after the man’s sentence. This leaves not only the woman in the comic, but the reader hanging, wanting to read the next panel to see what the man has to say. The next panel could be something the reader expected or something completely out of the blue and both myself and the woman weren’t too impressed with his response. The man’s words portray how most men think these days, that women are perfect housewives and only there for cooking and cleaning. Many woman readers could be insulted by this and the idea of sexism could be brought up. However, Garfield’s single response ends the comic well with some humor. Since one person is talking at a time for most of the panels, it is easier to focus on what that character is saying. I feel like the illustrator should have made the comic more relatable and real by showing more movement and maybe a different background in each panel. On the other hand, the simplicity leads the reader to interpret the comic with their own imagination, and I enjoy this because I’m more of a visual learner and have the opportunity to get creative.