History for the Rest of Us

Garfield

Garfield

Jun 19, 2012

During the 1970s Jim Davis created a cartoon strip, Gnorm Gnat which was rejected by the syndicates. He had come up with the idea for Gnorm while working as an assistant for the Tumbleweeds comic strip. He would later say ‘I thought bugs were funny, and nobody else did”. He was told by a newspaper editor, “Your art is good, your gags are great, but bugs – nobody can relate to bugs!” Davis killed off the Gnorm character by having him stepped on, and turned his focus to a more easy to relate to character – Garfield. On June 19, 1978, Davis’ creation ‘Garfield’ first appeared in 41 newspapers. The comic strip quickly grew in popularity and by 2002 Garfield appeared in nearly 2600 newspapers being read by over 260,000,000 people. It is the most widely syndicated comic strip in history. Garfield is named after creator Jim Davis’ grandfather James A. Garfield Davis. Licensed Garfield merchandise generates revenue of nearly $1 billion annually. The comic strip is primarily made up of four main characters: Garfield – A lazy cat who hates exercise, and mornings, but loves Italian food, TV, tormenting Odie, and making sarcastic comments. Garfield was born in Mama Leoni’s Italian Restaurant. The Restaurant owner was forced to choose between Garfield and closing up shop because Garfield was eating all the food. His current owner Jon purchased him from the pet store. Jon (Jon Q. Arbuckle) – Garfield’s owner is a bachelor with a crush on Garfield’s veterinarian. Jon is often a victim of Garfield’s comments on his lack of social skills and style. He is a geek with an endless supply of pathetic pickup lines, but a good heart. Odie – First appearing in August of 1978, Odie is a long-eared yellow beagle who is not playing with a full deck. Odie is a sharp contrast to the sarcastic, sadistic Garfield. Happy-go-lucky, Odie appears completely numb to Garfield’s cynicism. Dr. Liz Wilson – Liz is Garfield’s veterinarian and Jon’s longtime crush. While Jon’s pickup lines have almost always failed, Liz has occasionally dated Jon. His ‘terminal geekitis’ has been a stumbling block to the relationship taking off. Movies The success of the...