Cats in Pop Culture: Garfield

Garfield is an orange tabby recognized by his wide girth and cynical outlook. For decades people have enjoyed reading about his love for lasagna, his single owner Jon Arbuckle, and his enjoyment for picking on the dumb, lovable mutt Odie.

Even though he’s a cat, Americans have long since been able to relate to his outlook on life and his hatred for Mondays.

Garfield photo
Photo by undugun

His first comic was released on June 19, 1978. Jim Davis, the original cartoonist, introduced Garfield and his owner in the short comic.

The comic was printed in forty-one papers all over the US.

Since that first debut, Garfield comics have grown to be printed in over 2,500 papers worldwide. Garfield currently holds the Guinness World Record for most syndicated comic.

Though Garfield’s personality has stayed the same, his appearance has evolved over time to become the one we’re more familiar with today.

Garfield photo
Photo by hdaniel

His first comic began with him as a large, slightly hunched cat with a smaller head and facial features than we know today.

As he took on the cartoon style we’re more familiar with, his eyes grew bigger, and his weight change from obese, realistic-looking cat to the chubby kitty with a pot belly.

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In 1984, he began to walk on his hind legs, and his feet grew bigger to accommodate the change. Garfield has never cared about his weight, and it’s stayed that way. Readers have always loved how comfortable he is in his own skin.

Garfield isn’t just a star on paper though. Off paper he’s starred in two live action movies, “Garfield: the Movie” and “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.”

The creator of the comics himself was happy with Bill Murray voicing Garflied, claiming Bill Murray’s attitude embodied what he wanted Garfield portrayed as.

 

Garfield’s first TV appearance was in the “Fantastic Funnies” on May 15, 1980 for a short scene.

Between 1982 and 1991, Garfield starred in twelve prime time cartoons on TV, and there was even an hour long documentary for his tenth anniversary.

Garfield photo
Photo by JeepersMedia

Garfield has also had two of his own TV shows.  The first, airing from 1988 to 1995, was called “Garfield and Friends,” and it had seven seasons.

Currently Garfield shares his unique personality in “The Garfield Show” that began in 2008 for his thirtieth anniversary, and it’s now in its fourth season.

 Both shows, though not connected, share Garfield’s many adventures with Jon, Odie, and other well known characters like Nermal, his little gray kitten nemesis.

 

Garfield is still as loved today as he always has been. He continues to be loved by children thanks to Jim Davis teaming up with Ball State University to create a website, professorgarfield.org, for children to play Garfield-themed games that not only entertain but also educate.

 Garfield even reaches onto today’s popular forms of social media. He has almost seventeen million followers on Facebook and over sixty thousand on Twitter.

Garfield himself would be pleased with that kind of following. He will truly be a cat loved for generations.

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