That one comes from Will Burke, an Instagram artist whose art style is probably best described as if horror mangaka Junji Ito was locked in a room with nothing but a pile of weekly newspaper comic strips and his own screams. Burke draws nightmare versions of classic characters from the Muppets to SpongeBob, but his most popular work is probably his Garfield series. And for good reason.
But this obsession with turning everyone’s (or more accurately, nobody’s) favorite fat cat into John Carpenter’s The Thing isn’t just a Meme of the Week situation. It’s a rich, stupid tapestry over a decade in the making.
Way back in 2004, a popular artist on the Something Awful forums going by the pseudonym “Shmorky” started posting edited parodies of popular strips, such as Nancy, Archie, and Garfield, which incorporated sadistic themes into the ordinarily G-rated cartoons. He also invented “Zalgo,” an interdimensional, Lovecraftian nightmare meme which, naturally, fits into a variety of children’s comics.