19.06.

1987: The First Garfield Comic Strip

1987: The First Garfield Comic Strip
Photo Credit To Emmybomber. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons licence (source: http://emmybomber.deviantart.com/art/Garfield-410908038)

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 19 June 1978
  • The first episode of the comic strip about the cat Garfield was released on this day in 1978. Meanwhile, Garfield became the most published comic in the world. It appeared in 2,580 newspapers worldwide and is read by about 263 million readers. Merchandise related to Garfield's character (movies, toys, books, video games, and many others) worth between 750 million and one billion dollars is sold every year.

On this day the first comic about the cat Garfield was published simultaneously in 41 newspapers across the United States.

The creator and author of the comic strip is the celebrated Jim Davis who named the cat after his grandfather James A. Garfield Davis.

It is interesting that his grandfather was named after American President James Garfield, who was assassinated in 1881. Jim Davis grew up on a farm and later became a cartoonist.

He initially started developing a comic in which the main character was a bug, but he determined that readers would hardly identify with bugs. He noticed that there is abundance of comic books about dogs in the USA, but none about cats.

He concluded that if dog lovers love to read comic books about dogs, cat fans would probably enjoy a comic book starring a cat. That is how he came up with the idea for Garfield.

Garfield’s owner in a comic book is called Jon Arbuckle and is largely modeled on Davis. For example, he is also a cartoonist by profession, and also grew up on a farm.

Garfield and his owner Jon live in Muncie in Indiana, same as Jim Davis, the author of the comic strip.

During the past 30 years, the popularity of Garfield grew so rapidly that it entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip.

It was published in 2,580 newspapers worldwide and is read by about 263 million readers. Merchandise related to Garfield’s character (movies, toys, books, video games, and many others) worth between 750 million and one billion dollars is sold every year.

Interestingly, the gmail.com email service was firstly used by Garfield.com, but was later purchased by Google.

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