Rocky Mountain News throws Garfield in the litter box
A sidebar to an article introducing three new comic strips to the Rocky Mountain News mentions in passing that the tabloid has bid farewell to a trio of older offerings: "Herman," "Hagar the Horrible" and -- most notable of all -- "Garfield."
Oh, how the times have changed. Once upon a time, Jim Davis' "Garfield" was the hottest strip in the land -- so much so that during the late '80s, amid a particularly brutal stretch of Denver's daily newspaper battle, the Rocky and the Post tangled over which of them would have the honor of publishing the humor-free faux-adventures of the lasagna-gobbling feline -- and after one side achieved victory, the losers retaliated in memorable fashion.
As Westword's Alan Prendergast reported in a Denver print roundup dubbed "The Hundred Years War," the Post held the "Garfield" franchise in the late '80s. However, the Rocky stole it away after agreeing to pay a then-whopping $62,554 per annum for the rights, and then ballyhooed its achivement by erecting a yuletide Garfield display on the roof of its building. The Post's response? Pranksters snuck onto the building and vandalized the fat cat.
Today, of course, a lot fewer people care about the strip, which has been repeating the same tired jokes for decades. It's a problem shared by a lot of geriatric comics -- a subject debated in the September 2007 Message column entitled "The Funnies Aren't Anymore." Just over a year later, the folks at the Rocky have targeted several of the worst offenders -- but there remains plenty of dead wood to be chopped. Now how about sending "Marmaduke" to the pound? -- Michael Roberts
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.