Friday, November 12, 2010

An open note to Jim Davis

Dear Mr. Davis,

I am writing regarding your comic strip which ran yesterday, Veterans' Day, and your subsequent apology for the timing of the strip. My children read your strip online daily, and when we shared a laugh over yesterday's strip, it didn't occur to any of us to take the strip as a slam against veterans. My husband is a veteran, as are both of his parents, and we were planning a small family celebration of the day, so it's not as though we were unaware of the significance of the date. It's just that, as regular readers of the strip, my girls know that these "squished spider" series that appear periodically in Garfield's world are quite likely to contain an episode like yesterday's, and none of us thought for a moment that you would deliberately plan to insult veterans.

In fact, our family has always been impressed by your way of doing things. Your comic's website, for instance, makes all your past strips available for instant viewing (and searchable by date or keyword) at no charge; many cartoonists are not quite so generous with their archives. You also offer tons of games and other "freebies" on the site. Of course, you do advertise your products which are for sale, too--but on the whole the site is easily the most family-friendly comics website on the Internet.

You also displayed tremendous class when a creative person decided to see what happened when Garfield is removed from the Garfield strips; it's hard not to respect an artist who not only doesn't get mad at someone's parody/altering of his work, but admits enjoying it and even joins in the fun.

The point I'm trying to make, here, is that anyone who has followed or been a fan of your work over the past thirty-plus years already knows that you're just not the kind of person to poke fun at the idea of military service with its accompanying sacrifices. Your quick and sincere apology, which my girls saw on the website and shared with me, was a simple confirmation of that fact.


Erin Manning