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Making GARFIELD Lasagna (and Talking His New Graphic Novel) with Cartoonist Judd Winick

Once, in college, Judd Winick attempted to cook lasagna, but it didn’t quite go as planned. “I used too much cheese, cooked it too long, and, I assume, was using the wrong kind of pan,” he said. “When I was done it pretty much looked like a burnt up tire. Except, I’m guessing a burnt up tire probably tasted better.”

Luckily for comic book fans, Winick’s art skills were better than his cooking talents, and he went on to become a New York Times best-selling cartoonist. Oh, and he also landed a part on a little show called MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco, the forerunner of reality TV.

The busy author has been hard at work on his entertaining action-adventure series Hilo, but took time out to create a short story for BOOM! Studios in their second Garfield original graphic novel, Garfield: Unreality TV. The book also features all-new adventures from legendary Garfield and Friends show writer Mark Evanier, as well as stories from ongoing Garfield contributors Scott Nickel and Antonio Alfaro.


Talking with Nerdist about taking on the iconic cat in an original story, Winick said, “Garfield is a part of my cartooning DNA. I didn’t find a daunting. I was more excited as all hell.” Winick became an immediate fan of Garfield as a kid, copying Jim Davis’ drawings to hone his skills. Those self-taught art lessons served him well when it came to creating this story that he describes as “a big, stupid action-adventure.”


But Winick’s story is much more than that. In his tale, Garfield eats spoiled lasagna, leading him down a treacherous dream sequence battle of giants. You can see the subtle nods to Davis’ original three-panel layouts, then Winick breaks out of the panels and into color for the nightmare scenes. It’s a great homage to the strip that translates the familiar Garfield and Odie tête-à-tête into a fun monster-versus-robot format, fitting the story perfectly.


Just as he was influenced by his childhood love of Garfield, Winick’s story inspired me as well. Playing off of Garfield’s obsession with layered pasta, I created Garfield’s Nightmare Lasagna featuring the lackadaisical feline’s face. Where does the nightmare come in? When you create his features out of food and place it in the oven, you never know what peculiar expressions the melted cheese might reveal.

As to whether cats should have lasagna as part of their regular diet, Winick said, “Cats should be allowed to eat whatever the heck they want. Just look at them. They know something. Let us trust their instincts.”

Check out the first three pages of Judd Winick’s story in the gallery below and in BOOM! Studios’ all-ages imprint KaBOOM!’s original graphic novel Garfield: Unreality TV, in comic book shops May 31st and in bookstores June 6.


Garfield’s Nightmare Lasagna

Lasagna ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
1 (26 oz) jar marinara sauce
16 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 Tablespoons parsley
Salt and pepper
1 (16 oz) package no-boil lasagna noodles

Garfield’s face ingredients:
10 oz cheddar cheese
8 oz ricotta cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 small slice ham
1 (4 oz) can sliced olives
1 cup mozzarella cheese

In a pan over medium high heat, sauté the garlic, then add the ground beef until brown. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the marinara sauce, then set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, eggs, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread one cup of sauce onto the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish, then place a layer of noodles on top.


Spread half of ricotta cheese mixture over that, then add another layer of noodles. Pour half the meat sauce on top, another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta, one more layer of noodles, then the remaining sauce. Finally, add one last layer of noodles.

Use the cheddar cheese to form the base of Garfield’s head. Then give shape to his snout area using the Parmesan cheese.


Place the Ricotta in a piping bag and pipe out the shape of Garfield’s eyes, filling them in completely.


Add a small slice of ham for his nose, then use the olives to add whiskers and details around his face.

Place the dish on a baking sheet, and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then serve immediately.


Let us know how your Garfield lasagna turns out!

Images: BOOM! Studios, Jenn Fujikawa


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