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Garfield

Garfield
Garfieldand friends.png
From left to right:
Nermal, Odie, Garfield, Arlene, and Pooky
Author(s) Jim Davis
Website Garfield.com
Current status / schedule Running/Daily
Launch date 19 June 1978; 38 years ago (1978-06-19)
Syndicate(s) Universal Press Syndicate (1994–present)
United Feature Syndicate (1978–1993)
Publisher(s) Random House (under Ballantine Books), occasionally Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre(s) Humor

Garfield is an American comic strip created by Jim Davis. Published since 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, the cat Garfield, Jon, his owner, and Jon's dog, Odie. As of 2013, it was syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals, and held the Guinness World Record for being the world's most widely syndicated comic strip.

Though this is rarely mentioned in print, Garfield is set in Muncie, Indiana, the home of Jim Davis, according to the television special Happy Birthday, Garfield. Common themes in the strip include Garfield's laziness, obsessive eating, coffee, and disdain of Mondays and diets. The strip's focus is mostly on the interactions among Garfield, Jon (his owner), and Odie (Jon's pet dog), but other recurring minor characters appear as well. Originally created with the intentions to "come up with a good, marketable character",Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion annually. In addition to the various merchandise and commercial tie-ins, the strip has spawned several animated television specials, two animated television series, two theatrical feature-length live-action/CGI animated films, and three fully CGI animated direct-to-video movies.

Part of the strip's broad pop cultural appeal is due to its lack of social or political commentary; though this was Davis's original intention, he also admitted that his "grasp of politics isn't strong," joking that, for many years, he thought "OPEC was a denture adhesive".

In the 1970s, Davis created a comic strip called Gnorm Gnat, which met with little success. One editor said, "his art was good, his gags were great," but that "nobody can identify with Bugs." Davis decided to take a long, hard look at the comics and he saw that dogs were doing very well, but there were no cats at the time. Davis figured that since he had grown up on a farm with 25 cats that he could come up with a strip based on a cat. He then proceeded to create a new strip with a cat as its main character and thus created Garfield, who borrows the first letter of his name from Davis's earlier work.Garfield originally consisted of four main characters. Garfield, the titular character, was based on the cats Davis was around growing up; he took his name and personality from Davis's grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis, who was, in Davis's words, "a large, cantankerous man". Jon Arbuckle came from a 1950s coffee commercial, and Odie was based on a car dealership commercial written by Davis, which featured Odie the Village Idiot. Early on in the strip, Odie's owner was a man named Lyman. He was written in to give Jon someone to talk with. Davis later realized that Garfield and Jon could "communicate nonverbally". The strip, originally centered on Jon, was first rejected by the King Features, Post-Hall and the Chicago Tribune-New York News agencies, all of which asked Davis to focus on the cat, who in their opinion, got the better lines. United Feature Syndicate accepted the retooled strip in 1978 and debuted it in 41 newspapers on June 19 of that year (however, after a test run, the Chicago Sun-Times dropped it, only to reinstate it after readers' complaints).Garfield's first Sunday page ran on June 25, 1978, being featured as a third-pager until March 22, 1981. A half-page debuted the following Sunday, March 29, with the strips for March 14 and 21, 1982, having a unique nine-panel format, but UFS curtailed further use of it (it did, however, allow Davis to use the format for his U.S. Acres strip).


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