Garfield is a cat in a comic strip by Jim Davis with the same name. He is the main character. Garfield, a lazy, fat, and cynical orange Persian/tabby cat, is the main character of the comic strip. People know that he loves lasagna and sleeping and hates Mondays, his friend Nermal, and exercise.
How Garfield Came to Be
Jim Davis didn’t just make Garfield. He also made a lot of other comic strips. The cartoonist started the farm animal strip U.S. Acres in 1986. It was never very popular and only ran for three years, but it was used as the “and Friends” part of the TV show Garfield and Friends. Before Garfield, Jim Davis became famous with a daily comic strip called Gnorm Gnat about a gnat and his insect friends. Gnorm’s mind was very busy, and he lived with a sad fly, a dumb slug, a smart worm, and a spider that ate other spiders. But Davis only got the strip published in The Pendleton Times, a newspaper in his home state of Indiana. No other magazine or newspaper would touch it. Davis told The Guardian that a newspaper syndicate editor once told him that his comic strip was funny, but that “nobody can relate to bugs.” So, he decided to make a comic strip about an animal that people would like and that could turn into a huge business, like Snoopy did. “I looked at the comics for a long time. I saw dogs doing well. But no cats. I was like, “Huh!”” So, Davis decided to make a comic strip about cats. He would use what he learned growing up on a farm with many cats as inspiration.
Through the Years with Garfield
• In 1978, Jim Davis’s comic strip Garfield ran for the first time in 41 US newspapers. Jon Arbuckle, the cartoonist who made the strip, introduced himself and his cat Garfield. Even though the characters sometimes spoke directly to the reader, most Garfield comics were about how the characters talked to each other. Why do they call it oven is one of the famous strip from Garfield.
• In 1980, Garfield’s first book had all of the comics that had been published since his first one until January 22, 1979. The book had short, wide pages so that the comics could be printed just as they would have been in their original newspapers. The first prints were in black and white, but the ones that came out in 2001 were in full color.
• In 1982, when Garfield’s first half-hour TV special aired, the cat went on a mission to save Odie from the pound. Garfield’s voice was done by Lorenzo Music for almost 20 years, until he died in 2001.
• In 1984, when Garfield made his debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he became more popular than ever. From 1984 to 1989 and from 1992 to 1999, the Garfield balloon was seen often. From 2003 to 2006, a newer version of the balloon was sold.
• First Emmy Award in 1985! Jim Davis won his first of four Emmy Awards for the second animated TV special, “Garfield on the Town.”
• In 1987, Jon, Odie, and Garfield spent Christmas with Jon’s family on their farm in the first Christmas special. It first aired before Christmas in 1987 and was shown every year until 2000. Jim Davis wrote the teleplay for the special and said it was partly based on his own life.
• On September 17, 1988, Garfield and Friends first aired. Each episode had two Garfield cartoons and one U.S. Acres cartoon, which was another comic strip drawn by Jim Davis at the time.
• On July 3, 1991, Garfield’s first music CD came out. It had songs by popular artists like The Temptations, Patti LaBelle, and B.B. King. Some of the songs had also been played on TV specials in the past.
• The CD single Cool Cat by Garfield came out in 1995 and went to #1 on the charts in Germany. The CD had four different versions of the single, which was then made into a music video with Garfield and a few other singers.
• The Guinness Book of World Records recognized the comic as the most widely distributed comic strip in the world. This title still stands today.
• I’m in the Mood for Food is the first official Garfield cookbook, but it won’t be the last. The book has 70 recipes by Barbara Albright and art and Garfield comics by Davis that have to do with food. On March 2, 2003, the book came out.
• On June 1, 2004, In Dog Years I’d be Dead came out to celebrate 25 years of Garfield. The book takes a broad look back at the whole franchise. In 2004, Bill Murray did the voice of a computer-animated Garfield in the first live-action feature-length film about Garfield. The movie made more than $200 million at the box office around the world. Two years later, a sequel called “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” came out.
• Garfield’s second TV show debuted in France in December 2008, just in time for Garfield’s 30th birthday. In November 2009, it debuted in the US. The whole show was made with computers, and it wasn’t connected to Garfield and Friends in any way. Garfield’s voice was done by Frank Welker.
• In May 2012, Studios came out with the first Garfield comic book series. Most of the stories in the new series were written by Mark Evanier, who also worked on The Garfield Show. The new series came out once a month until May 2015. The comics were re-released in volumes, and new comic books and graphic novels, including a new limited series coming out in 2018, have also been made available.
• In 2018, for Garfield’s 40th birthday, a new book came out called Age Happens: Garfield Hits the Big 4-0. It has classic Garfield strips, guest strips by other cartoonists, fan art, and even a forward by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Before the internet took off, Garfield existed in many different ways, such as a comic strip, anthologies, TV specials, and a TV show. A couple of generations of artists and comedians grew up with Garfield and learned from its tropes. When they got older, they analyzed, deconstructed, and rewrote the comic strip in shockingly different ways. Because of this, weird Garfield stuff has its own funny, confusing, and creepy corner of the internet.