Lasagna Loving Cat Garfield First Debuted on This Day in 1978
Everyone knows Garfield, the lazy cat who loves coffee and lasagna and hates Mondays. He lives with his owner Jon Arbuckle and is often seen teasing Odie the dog. On June 19, 1978, Garfield and Jon made their debut in the comic strip which eventually became so beloved it spawned television shows, movies, and of course, tons and tons of merch. As of 2015, the comic strip has held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip as it has been syndicated in about 2,580 newspapers and journals.
Cartoonist Jim Davis is the genius behind Garfield’s antics. He started his career working as an assistant for T.K. Ryan’s Tumbleweeds. He then created a comic strip called Gnorm Gnat that never picked up. Growing up on a farm with 25 cats, Davis was inspired to create a larger-than-life cat in a new comic strip and the name and personality were inspired by his grandfather. While it is rarely mentioned, the Garfield comics are set in Muncie, Indiana, where Davis grew up.
Garfield was a hit right away! Just a few years later in 1981, Garfield had appeared in over 850 newspapers and sold over $15 million in merchandise. Since its success, Davis still has creative control but usually has his long-time assistants Brett Koth and Gary Barker do the inking and coloring work. While many people love the comic strip because it doesn’t delve into politics or social topics, Davis once admitted that was just because he didn’t really understand politics that well.
The Garfield craze is far from over and a new film is set to premiere in 2024, featuring Chris Pratt as the voice of the famous cat and Samuel L. Jackson as Vic, Garfield’s father. Not much is known about the plot so far, but it follows the success of several films, television shows, TV specials, video games, and even a short-lived themed restaurant in Dubai. In honor of our favorite fat cat, take a look at the very first Garfield comic that came out 45 years ago today: