Thursday, July 31, 2008

Garfield - Garfield + Garfield = Book

In a great example of a creator seeing someone doing something different with one of his creations and embracing that, Jim (Garfield) Davis is allowing a collection including both his original Garfield strips and the Garfield Minus Garfield strips altered by Dan Walsh.

Ballantine, the longtime publisher of Garfield books, announced the book, though not its title, yesterday. Walsh's blog has the press release posted; I'm sure it will be other places as well.

Davis didn't have to do this; he could have had his lawyer send a cease-and-desist letter and shut down Garfield Minus Garfield (as Bil Keane did to several iterations of the Dysfunctional Family Circus). But he saw something worthwhile in Walsh's work, and decided to not only not suppress it, but to celebrate it.

Many creators, and the world in general, have been grappling with issues of derivative works and intellectual property lately. Up until now, the trend had been for corporations and creators to demand as much power and control of everything as they could possibly claim. I don't know if this will help to loosen things up, but it can't hurt.

5 comments:

Tim said...

I now find myself in the strange, uncomfortable, and unprecedented position of respecting Jim Davis!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad he's doing this, but I doubt it for any high-minded reason. Davis hasn't created his own strip for years, and I can't help but think that this is just another way for him to make a buck off of other people's work.

Michael A. Burstein said...

For me, the key point here is that Davis still gets to control the rights to his work, and presumably make some more money off of it. I'm assuming that Walsh will as well, but the issue for me is that it's one thing to adapt someone else's work for artistic reasons; it's quite another thing to make a profit off it.

Of course, then we start getting into the question or parody, and artistic criticism and purple monkey dishwasher.

Bill Peschel said...

Jim Davis has quite the sense of humor. He appeared in the "Lazy Muncie" parody of the SNL clip.

Over at the Comic Curmudgeon, Bob Weber Jr. had taken numerous potshots for his "Slylock Fox" strip, but he's met some of the posters at a meet-up and even offers a Cassandra Cat T-shirt through the website. And Ces, the writer for "Sally Forth", regularly pops up and comment on the site.

Even Bil Keane's been cool with most of the stuff out there. I think, with Dysfunctional Family Circus, he was becoming worried that the tone of the snark was getting exceptionally nasty, so he asked them to stop. He didn't have a problem with keeping the archives up.

Paul D said...

Davis has always cared about one thing, and one thing only. That's making money. He's a marketing guy who turned Garfield into a full time job (I actually find his story pretty interesting). Seems to me he realized he could either send a cease and desist letter, or he could make money off of it. I'm sure that was no choice at all.

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