What new surprises lie in store

While Jim Davis may churn out a terrible comic strip, he’s actually a pretty cool human being, apparently! Then again, Davis is a shrewd businessman above all else. I guess it’s possible he appreciates someone’s poking holes in his life work in creative ways, but more likely he simply realized that letting someone publish a book that transforms his comic into depressing absurdism is the holiest of grails: A means by which to sell Garfield to people who hate Garfield.


Bonus image: This billboard is directly across from my hotel room, so every time I look outside this is what I see:

I think it’s supposed to be a public service campaign promoting the use of condoms, but the placement of the exclamation mark really sort of gives it a different subtext. “Stop! This person has a terrible communicable illness!” I feel bad for the lady who lent her face to the campaign; I’m sure she was intending to do a good deed, but now everyone in Shibuya thinks she is diseased.

Last second edit: Actually, just before clicking “post” I decided to look up her name, and apparently she’s a Japanese porn star. Sorry, “adult video.” So now I really don’t know what the ad’s subtext is supposed to be.

18 thoughts on “What new surprises lie in store

  1. What happens to your perception of the billboard when I say that the phrase “STD” has the same number of syllables as “Hammertime?”

  2. Nana Natsume also did inexplicable promo videos and Famitsu visits for the DS horror game Mitewa Ikenai.

  3. I preferred the strips that included garfield, but stripped out his speech/thought bubbles. Maybe that’s coming too!

  4. JC – yeah but being an adult video star and crossing over is nothing special, the lines cross over all the time. It’s highly unlikely in America you will have what once was the most famous porn star turn into a commentator appearing on nightly shows all the time. Basically the closet example you have to JAV stars in America would be someone like Pamela Anderson.

  5. I wouldn’t mind seeing lasagnacat.com made into a TV series. Maybe they could incorporate it into a revival of Garfield and Friends. No, I wouldn’t mind that at all.

  6. When I was in college my professor was working up a reading attitudes survey for preliterate kids. It was like the typical spectrum questionnaire (“circle one: strongly disagree – disagree – neutral – agree – strongly agree”) except the kids would circle corresponding picture of Snoopy, presented in graduated states of distress through elation. Even though this survey was only to be used in the university’s learning lab, when she asked for permission from Schultz’ people she got shut down with threat of a lawsuit.
    Later she asked Jim Davis for permission to use Garfield, and not only did she get the OK, they sent along some custom images to use with the survey. I think that makes Jim Davis a pretty cool guy.

  7. Yeah, if I had your room I’d probably keep the drapes closed constantly, that sign is creeping me out.

    I don’t know how long you’re in Tokyo, but if you happen to see some idiot American walking around in a Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends or Megaman t-shirt taking pictures of everything, that’d be me. I know you don’t know me or anything but feel free to point and laugh.

  8. I remember reading somewhere that Jim Davis’ degree was in marketing, and marketing was always the first and foremost thought on his mind when making, distributing and selling the comic and all related merchandise. Apparently his goal was to ensure that Garfield would be everywhere in the public consciousness at once, but not so over-exposed that people would tire of him. Apparently he did things like pull all Garfield merchandise off the shelf for years at a time if he ever thought it was getting over-exposed.

    As it turns out, he succeeded very admirably. Garfield ‘couldn’t lose his soul because he never had one to begin with,’ so all of this lasangna cat and garfield without garfield business is only going to help him make more money. If I cared about this sort of thing, I’d laugh at you guys for exposing him even more, but somehow, the fact that someone has so little regard for his creation that he’ll let others use him with impunity so long as he can make money goes so far away from perfect integrity that it achieves something different, perhaps opposite, yet no less perfect. Perfect consistency, perhaps. In this case, the best antithesis is probably not Peanuts, but Calvin and Hobbes, whom Watterson refused to even make toys out of. On either extreme lies a mind that has approached equally concentrated values of creativity and cash-flow persistence. Gaze upon both and despair! Or, rather, learn something.

  9. Hah! So thats who she is!
    I saw that the other day with my wife (who is Japanese) and she had never heard of the phrase STD. I don’t think this campaign will have much impact when they use a phrase the locals don’t know…
    Maybe its a campaign targeting foreigners only?

    But it will make my wife laugh to know that she’s a porn star. Thats so funny.

  10. I believe the message is, “A mistress of seduction uses protection while remaining a pinnacle of sensuality,” or some such. Or have I just taken your joke seriously and spoilt all the fun? :-P

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