Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality

Back in 19th June 1978, Garfield, created by Jim Davis, was first published in the newspapers in which we were introduced to the two characters that will define the comic strip: the titular cat Garfield and his owner Jon Arbuckle. The former is a cat who is defined by his gluttony, sloth, having a mean streak and a tendency to make snappy comebacks, while the latter is defined as clueless, hapless, unlucky and eventually the victim to Garfield's sardonic thoughts and punishment. A few months later, we were introduced to Lyman, who would bring Odie with him to live with Jon and Garfield. However, Lyman gradually became absent, leaving Odie as a regular character in the comic who is defined by his lack of intelligence, playfulness and being a good friend. Occasional characters include: Pooky, Garfield's teddy bear; Arlene, Garfield's female friend; Nermal, a younger cat who Garfield is annoyed with; and finally Liz, Garfield's vet that Jon regularly goes to since he liked to flirt with her until they got together.

Garfield is also known for being heavy on merchandising, given that there are several Garfield products that would include comic strip collections, stuffed toys, clothings and licensed comic books.. The focus on merchandising naturally caused some to think that the creator made this comic as a form of merchandising, often in a tone of scorn. Jim Davis did confirm the suspicion, so it didn't help alleviate the opinion but is typically used as a reason to dismiss the comic further. From my understanding, certainly Jim Davis had merchandising in mind when he wanted to develop the comic, but he's also did his research and gotten feedback to help him. You see, on his first time creating a comic it was about a gnat, which publishers didn't see the appeal for. He took the feedback and ended the comic by effectively stomping away the main character, and on his next comic he decided on a cat because there are a lack of comics with the cat as the centrepoint. The comic would have also been titled after Jon, with Garfield as the side character that makes snappy comebacks. The publisher made Jim Davise realise that Garfield should have been headlining the comic by pointing out how the concept is worded in such a way where Garfield is the more interesting one, and the rest is history. It should also be pointed out that Jon still being a regular presence didn't come out of nowhere, given that tidbit.

As part of making this comic more marketable, Garfield lacks a lot of social commentary that comic strips tend to include, which Jim Davis reasoned that other comics does the task better than he could, as highlighting trends might outdate the comic. It's why you won't see Garfield talking about stuff like political scandals or tragedies happening around the world. That's not to say that there's a perfect track record on this, such as one point where Garfield mentioned a decoder ring, or one that had an unfortunate coincidence with Veteran's Day that made that particular comic insensitive. Because the comic basically plays on the character's personalities very often, combined with how a lot of strips take place at the table (a static setting), the comic might feel stagnant for some people.

So you have a comic that is a combination of being popular, having easily-recognisable characters and setting, very adaptable panels, general stagnation and enough people who expressed dissatisfaction with the comic, which means that this is an oft-parodied comic strip. These include Garfield minus Garfield, which subtracts every character except Jon (even Odie, so it's a very misleading title), one where Garfield is replaced with a realistic cat, one where every Garfield panel is combined to make a random sequence of three panels and (sigh...) Lasagna Cat. Most of the comics have a cynical tone in their parodying, although my personal favourite has to be Square Root of Minus Garfield, since it contains edits that are tasteful despite there being cynical edits here and there. The fact that Jim Davis actually loves the parodies and even contributed to some of them is a very good thing (helped by the fact that he's a nice person), as this has enriched the world with some good stuff. It's also why I still think Garfield is still good despite having a few things I dislike.

Besides the comic strip in which Garfield originated from, Garfield's also got two animated series: one is traditionally hand-animated and is used for the Specials and Garfield and Friends, while the other is CGI and is used for a few films and The Garfield Show. Both of them are very different but they still feature Garfield in zany adventures. There are also video games featuring Garfield, such as Garfield: Caught in the Act, a good game thanks to SEGA's involvement. However, he's known for the two recent games: Garfield GO (which plays similar to Pokemon GO) and Garfield Kart, a game that started on mobile and is clearly based on Mario Kart. That's not mentioning the two films that featured a CGI Garfield interacting with live actors, which because of how uncanny it looks, is constantly derided mainly for the mismatching of styles. It's also interesting that BOOM! Studios made licensed Garfield comics, including one where Garfield crossed over with Grumpy Cat.

So everybody, what do you think of Garfield? I am bracing for negativity about the orange tomcat, but I would love being surprised by a more positive outlook on the comic!

Thank you for reading.

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I loved Garfield as a kid, and I collected a lot of his books that I still have. I'd watch all the TV specials and occasionally some of the Garfield and Friends cartoon. They're cheesy, but I was a kid. I'm not super into it these days, but it was still a big part of my childhood.


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Ridley said:
I loved Garfield as a kid, and I collected a lot of his books that I still have. [...] I'm not super into it these days, but it was still a big part of my childhood.
Pretty much this. I like the comics I read every now and then, though. Got some good jokes and the comedy is great.


I really love reading the Garfield old comics from the 90's in my school library, because I don't have any.

Paper Mario

I love Garfield. Back when I lived with my dad and stepmom (who rarely allowed things like those damn brain-rotting video games), Garfield comics were one of my favorite things to read, one of the few allowed activities I could find enjoyment in. If Garfield was an option I'd usually choose it, and I still find the comics entertaining for the most part. In fact about a year ago I remember going to the website to find which Garfield strip came out on my birth date, and I spent hours reading the comics, both forward and backward from that date. It was nostalgically addicting ;D
good comic but only when it doesnt have garfield
that said i do have nostalgia for xmas animation since my family had it recorded on vhs (local 90's commercials and all) and watched yearly up until a few years ago


Now haunting the Switch.
I've been a Garfield fan all my life. I still have a couple of the books around here. Though I'm not much of a fan for the modern cartoons because to me Lorenzo Music will always be the voice of Garfield and hearing someone else take up the role feels weird.


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I like Garfield. I went on a Garfield kick for a little while some time in the first half of 2017. I mostly read the earliest comics from the late seventies to the mid eighties. I like how the themes of boredom and laziness are are not only expressed in the actions and dialogue of the characters, but also in the artstyle of the comic itself, such as the characters' eyelids going halfway down their eyes rather than always having wide eyes. I think that makes Garfield feel unique compared to other comics. The humor in the comic is pretty good as well, though it stays with a more simple type of humor as opposed to some of the other famous comic strips that tend to get more intellectual and meaningful. Overall, I think it's a pretty good strip, though it certainly isn't my favorite newspaper comic; that honor will likely always go to Peanuts.


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Don't talk to me about Garfield unless you've played this masterpiece of a game

(That was entirely sarcasm by the way)

There's a whole story about how this game caused me to have a breakdown at midnight on a Saturday but that's a completely different ballpark
Ah. Garfield. He was my comic character until several years ago when I switched to Peanuts. I still have a huge collection of books that I don't know what to do with.
Starting earlier this year I finally paid a visit to the Garfield website. I check it almost every day to see the newest comic, since I don't get newspapers anymore.