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No. 4193: The Feeny Saga

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The Feeny Saga

First | Previous | 2020-11-10 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/garfield/?comic=4193

Strip by: KelpTheGreat

{Jon picks up the ringing telephone}
Jon: Hello?
Jon: Fine, Mrs. Feeny, and you?
Garfield: Blow her a kiss from me, lip-lock
Jon {holding his hand over the phone, talking to Garfield}: She's not fine!
Garfield: I kinda figured that
Jon {on the phone again}: He did what?
Jon: He put what?... How many?!
Jon: A what?... On your what?!
{Garfield leaves the room}
Jon: I'm sorry, Mrs. Feeny...
Jon: I am so very sorry...
{Garfield re-enters the room}
Jon: I'm very sorry, Mrs. Feeny. Happy holidays to you too
{Jon hangs up the phone}
Jon: That was Mrs. Feeny
Jon: What's all this about her chihuahua?
Jon: She reports her chihuahua has been varnished a dark cherry!
Jon: Have you been harassing Mrs. Feeny?!
Garfield: Yes
Jon: Why do you torture that woman so?
Garfield: Because she's there
{The phone rings again}
Jon: I'm not going to answer that
Garfield {looking off-panel}: You'd better. Mrs. Feeny's on her cell phone in the front yard
Jon {holding his cell phone}: Ah, the screeching harpy
Garfield: Mrs. Feeny on line one
Jon: Oops! I sent that to Mrs. Feeny by mistake
Garfield: Poor Jon
Jon {off-panel}: That was Mrs. Feeny at the door for you...
Jon: She gave me a very nasty look
Jon: She got you a Christmas card...
Jon: With a little hand-lettered threat inside
Garfield: Nice calligraphy
Jon: It looks exactly like the one she sent us last year
Jon: We have to be considerate of our neighbors...
Jon: Think we should send Mrs. Feeny a Christmas card?
Garfield: How about mailing Mrs. Feeny's little dog to an obscure overseas nation with insufficient postage?
Caption panel: THE NEXT DAY
Garfield {looking out the window}: Ah! There's Mrs. Feeny...
Garfield: Is there anything sadder?
{Garfield leaves the window to find Jon}
Jon: Where are the box and the twine I bought?
Garfield: Don't worry about that now. Just come look outside
{Jon and Garfield are at the window}
Jon: Look, Mrs. Feeny is making a snowman!
{Mrs. Feeny has built a snowman facing the Arbuckle residence; the snowman is cocking a snook}
Jon: Well, that seems rude. Liz, come see this
{The snow outside has suddenly melted}
Garfield: Hey look, a sudden Spring thaw
{Liz joins Jon and Garfield at the window}
Liz: Who's that?
Jon: That's my neighbor, Mrs. Feeny
Liz: Interesting yard
Jon: She's quite the gardener
Jon: Her daisy garden won "yard of the month"
{Jon walks away; Garfield tilts his head back and laughs maniacally}
Caption panel: THE NEXT DAY
{Garfield is awakened by a phone ringing, which Jon answers off-panel}
Jon: Hello?
{Garfield has gotten up and joins Jon in time to hear the end of his phone conversation}
Jon: I'm very sorry... yes... goodbye
Jon: That was Mrs. Feeny complaining about you again
Jon: She claims you destroyed her daisies again
Jon: You fell asleep in Mrs. Feeny's flowers again, didn't you?
Jon: She has a picture of you destroying her garden!
Garfield: Very well... I'll sign it
Jon {turning his head towards off-panel}: Wait, what was that noise?
Garfield: Beneath that chintz housecoat beats a heart of pure evil
{Jon and Garfield are at the window, which is covered in splatters of black paint}
Jon: I see Mrs. Feeny got a new scope for her paintball gun
Garfield: You'd think it would improve her aim
{Liz joins the duo at the window}
Liz: Uh-oh. Here she comes...
Garfield: I'm ready for her
{Liz retreats further into the house}
Jon: Mrs. Feeny is on our lawn
Garfield: She's going down
{Scene shifts to Garfield reading from the script for next week's Garfield strip}
Garfield: Next week: Showdown between myself and Mrs. Feeny!

The author writes:

Quite some time ago, Xindaris created this SRoMG strip, in which they commented: "Speaking of that one, though, does else anyone [sic] remember Mrs. Feeney? I may be wrong, but I don't think there's ever been an SRoMG dedicated to her."

That inspired me to create exactly that: an SRoMG strip dedicated to Mrs. Feeny. And... woof. What a behemoth. Minus the several years of procrastination, this one easily took me several weeks of work. It probably took more time than all the rest of my strips put together, including my last "saga" strip where I tried to tie together as many mentions of a single subject as I could into a cohesive narrative.

As an additional note before I start talking about my strip here: in the above linked strip by Xindaris, they mention several mistakes in the middle of the two strips. But there was one additional one that they didn't notice: the misspelling of "Feeny" as "Feeney". That misspelling does not come up anywhere else on SRoMG, and is not in any of the original Garfield strips.

To start work on this strip, I first searched for every Garfield strip I could find that mentioned Mrs. Feeny. I used the Estonian search site, and the search on GoComics, but ultimately this third-party search site that's linked under the "Submit" page returned the most hits. Over the course of 20 years, Mrs. Feeny has been mentioned over 50 times.

Next, I had to decide the direction I wanted the strip to take. With such a staggering amount of original strips, I ultimately decided that the best thing to do would be to take a single panel from each one, allowing myself exceptions if necessary. I put each individual strip into Paint 3D on a massive canvas, so that I could see them all side-by-side, and started looking for the best panel to take from each strip.

I noticed fairly quickly that certain panels from different strips would make perfect sense when placed sequentially. Even if the art was somewhat incongruous, the dialogue flowed perfectly, like in panels 2 and 3 here - Jon asks her if she's fine, she replies that she's not fine - so I decided to try and get just the dialogue to make as much sense as possible, and not focus too much on the art.

Being faced with so many panels of different sizes, I decided the best thing to do would be to order them into rows, with the top of each panel being lined up within their own row, and not worry about the rest of it. I hope it's readable and not too confusing.

Eventually I started running into problems with just using original dialogue within the same original panels. Some panels couldn't be fit into the strip at all - like the strip where Jon and Garfield are driving - and some panels' dialogue didn't make any sense out of their original context, such as the strip where Garfield hires a mouse to run up Mrs. Feeny's leg. To get around these issues, I compromised by taking dialogue from some strips and putting it into other panels. Some times this was done very minutely, like in panel 33 - the word "Liz" is taken from the aforementioned driving strip. Other times I lifted larger portions of text and transplanted them into different artwork. The goal was to utilize some aspect of each original strip in some way. I won't go into a whole list of every single dialogue change here, but if you really want to know you can ask on the forums.

Whenever it was easy to do so, I altered the original artwork to make more sense. For example, in panels 6 through 8, you'll notice that Garfield briefly leaves the room, then returns. In the original of panel 6, Garfield is entering the room, just as he is in panel 8. I simply flipped Garfield in panel 6, to make it seem like he got bored with the conversation and left to do something more interesting for a while. Other places, like panels 46 and 47, there was no way I would have been able to keep the paint splotches from the former into the latter, so I didn't bother. And the transition from Jon telling Liz "she's quite the gardener" to him reading the newspaper about Mrs. Feeny winning "yard of the month" doesn't make sense if you look at the artwork, but... oh well.

After stringing together the first part of the strip - which I consider to be everything prior to the first caption panel - my progress started to falter. I had already established the time period as being early December, but I knew I wanted to include Garfield's molestation of Mrs. Feeny's flowerbed. And I knew I wanted to do the gag of having the snowman being made by Mrs. Feeny instead of Garfield, too. Also, I couldn't figure out a way to have Jon and then Liz join Garfield at the window, after the "is there anything sadder?" panel. So at this point, I was left with no recourse but to create entirely original dialogue for some panels. After coming up with Garfield's line, "Hey look, a sudden Spring thaw", I wasn't sure it was the most sensible way to introduce a transition from snowmen to flower gardens (particular since Garfield had already appeared in two panels at the window where it was clearly green outside). But then I re-read it several times and started finding it really funny in how ludicrous and handwaved it was, and decided to stick with it.

The last big problem I ran into was how to end the strip. I had several strips left over that I hadn't used yet, and I just wasn't sure what would be a good ending for such a long strip. When I realized that Garfield's line from the "leaf blower" strip could be interpreted as a challenge, rather than a promise of vengeance, the last five panels just fell into place: having become fed up with Garfield, Mrs. Feeny goes on a rampage towards the Arbuckle residence, armed with a paintball gun and a heart of pure evil. And then Garfield ends it on a fourth wall-breaking cliffhanger, promising a resolution that will never occur.

This was a lot of fun to make, and a serious creative challenge. Hopefully the sheer amount of work I put into this makes up for some of my lazier edits.

Original strips: 1999-08-01, 1999-10-24, 2000-02-07, 2000-03-26, 2000-05-21, 2000-12-23, 2001-04-01, 2001-05-03, 2001-09-09, 2001-09-11, 2001-09-12, 2001-09-13, 2001-09-14, 2001-09-15, 2001-09-30, 2001-11-04, 2002-01-29, 2002-02-10, 2003-12-08, 2005-05-23, 2005-05-24, 2005-05-25, 2005-05-26, 2005-05-27, 2005-08-28, 2005-12-20, 2006-02-17, 2006-12-06, 2007-06-02, 2007-09-29, 2007-12-01, 2008-07-31, 2009-05-31, 2009-06-05, 2009-08-10, 2009-08-11, 2009-08-12, 2009-08-13, 2009-08-14, 2009-08-15, 2009-12-19, 2010-01-11, 2010-09-20, 2010-11-30, 2011-03-23, 2011-03-24, 2011-03-31, 2012-05-05, 2013-03-07, 2018-01-25, 2019-06-26.