Garfield Has Proven to Have Many Lives

by Joel Bustamante '11

July 15, 2008

Garfield has remained a staple of our culture since 1980, when the cat reached mainstream success. From his inception as an overweight cat that could barely move, to his current "human in a catsuit" look, the funny feline has charmed readers for 30 years.

Born from the creative genius of Jim Davis, Garfield comes from humble beginnings.  Davis’ original strip, Gnorm Gnat, failed miserably, and after five years of publication, was promptly cancelled. After much deliberate thought, Davis realized that while there were many dogs in the funny pages, there weren’t many cats. He combined all the cats he had ever known into one giant furball, and thus Garfield was born.

Davis has made the most of his creation, as he has established an empire revolving around Garfield. His company, Paws, Inc. controls every aspect of the cat, including: merchandise, promotions, television shows, games, and of course, the strip itself.  The cat himself has reached international fame, as it is printed in several countries, and holds the Guinness World Record for Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip.  Davis has also won many awards for his work, including the cherished Reuben award for Most Contributions to Cartooning in 1990.

Aside from becoming an icon for people today, Garfield has inspired many projects. and are both websites dedicated to education, specializing in elementary grades. These sites are collaboration projects with Davis’ alma mater, Ball State University. The websites have earned awards for their achievements in education, as well as an overwhelming outpour of support from thankful parents and teachers.

Garfield the cat is an important part of our culture today, and will remain that way for many years to come. With several new direct-to-DVD projects, and an all new CGI animated show in production, Garfield aims to spread his prominence to new generations


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