Garfield is the popular comic strip created by Jim Davis featuring the cat Garfield, the less than brilliant pet dog Odie, and their socially inept owner Jon Arbuckle. The character is named after Davis's grandfather, James Garfield Davis (who was probably named after former U.S. President James Garfield).
First appearing on June 19, 1978 (also considered Garfield's birthday), the syndicated comic strip pokes fun at pet owners and their relationship with their pets often portraying the pet as the true master of the home. Garfield also appeals because of the way he struggles with very human problems, such as diets, hatred of Mondays, apathy, boredom, and so on.
Over the course of the strip, Garfield's behavior has became more 'human' and less 'cat-like.' A few years after the beginning of the strip, Garfield began walking on two feet, and the strip changed to more of an emphasis on sitcom situations (Garfield making fun of his owner's stupidity, Jon's inability to pick up girls) and less on the foibles of cats. A number of the strip's readers feel that the quality of the writing has lessened, even as the artwork has retained a consistent level of quality (although Davis is no longer the sole, or even principal, artist).
The comic strip was turned into a cartoon special for television in 1982 called Here Comes Garfield . Actor Lorenzo Music, previously known as the voice of Carlton the doorman on the show Rhoda, was hired to portray the voice of Garfield. Twelve television specials were made (through 1990) as well as a television series, Garfield and Friends, which ran for from 1988 to 1994.
A live-action movie version of the comic strip, Garfield: The Movie, (with a computer-animated Garfield and live-action Odie) debuted in the USA on June 11, 2004. Due to Music's death in 2001, Bill Murray provided the voice of Garfield.
- Garfield: fat orange cat with distinctive black stripes and an attitude. He hates Mondays (not applicable if it's also his birthday), loves to eat and sleep (both to amazing amounts), watch TV, and play jokes on Jon and Odie. His favorite food is lasagna. Not known why but he also hates spiders and raisins.
- Odie: loveable but dopey yellow-furred, brown-eared dog constantly panting with his very large tongue, and the only character without a "voice." Often kicked off the table by Garfield or the victim of some practical joke. Odie's original owner was Lyman, a friend and roommate to Jon Arbuckle . However, Lyman disappeared and Odie became a pet to Jon. Odie is, to Garfield, a complete slobbering idiot. He is rarely seen without his giant tongue and drooling. He is also the sucker to Garfield's antics such as being kicked off a table and being clobbered a distance. He first appeared on August 8, 1978.
- Jon Arbuckle: their owner. A total nerd and clumsy individual who is extremely unlucky in the world of dating and coolness. Primary fodder and conversation partner to Garfield and is often the butt of his jokes. Was (possibly still is, due to it never being contradicted) a cartoonist, but this reference has not been seen since the early days of the comic strip.
- Arlene: Garfield's on-and-off girlfriend. A thin pink cat who seems to be the one living thing in the world who can successfully crack jokes at Garfield on a regular basis.
- Pooky: Garfield's huggable teddy bear.
- Nermal: cute kitten who flaunts his cuteness (the cutest kitten in the world, he says), which annoys Garfield immensely, usually resulting in him shipping Nermal to Abu Dhabi. Often comes in unannounced, much to Garfield's chagrin. He was originally meant to be owned by Jon's parents.
- Mom: Jon's mother who's always cooking up a meal.
- Dad: Jon's father who tends the family farm.
- Doc Boy: Jon's only brother who tends to the pigs on the farm, and as much a loser as Jon. Resents being called Doc Boy. He is apparently younger than Jon.
- Lyman: friend of Jon's who lived with him for a while; original owner of Odie. Fans and regular readers of the comic strip cite a rumor that Lyman was removed from the strip because of the suggestion that he was actually engaging in a Censored page relationship with Jon Arbuckle. Jim Davis has dismissed this rumor as nonsense; he has stated that Lyman no longer appears in the strip because Davis didn't find the character to be very interesting.
- Irma: waitress and owner of "Irma's Diner," diner occasionally patronized by Jon and Garfield. The food, service, and mental stability of her place is questionable. Her idea of a "chicken surprise" is her coming up to the table wearing a rubber chicken mask and saying "SURPRISE!."
- Dr. Liz Wilson: Garfield's veterinarian and long-time crush of Jon Arbuckle. Occasionally dates him, but these always become disasters (often thanks to Garfield tagging along for the ride).
- Herman the Mailman: one of Garfield's favorite chew-toys (Garfield doesn't think dogs should have all the fun), and always finding a way to deliver mail safely to the Arbuckle house (Note: He did succeed).
- Binky the Clown is a television personality noted for his extremely loud and piercing greetings, most notably "HEEEEEEEY, KIDS". In the Garfield TV series, he became more of a regular, and would modify his greeting to suit who it was he was greeting, such as "HEEEEEEEY, CAT". He also occasionally had his own segment on the show, called "Screaming With Binky".
- Hubert and Reba are Jon's stereotypical "grumpy old neighbors".
- Stretch is Garfield's rubber chicken. Jon gave it to him on his birthday.
- Al G. Swindler is, as his name suggests, a swindler, often conning Jon whenever he can. He only appeared in the TV series, and at the end of the episodes he was in, he would always say, "It's getting tougher and tougher to make an honest buck these days."
- Jon's house is also inhabited by mice (unnamed, though one of their first appearances shows one of them giving Garfield a business card for "Herman Vermin"), enjoying a quite full social life - to much annoyance of Jon. Garfield, however, cannot be bothered to chase them, and according to him they tend to either bribe or blackmail him to stay so.
- Garfield's otherwise boring life is occasionally enriched by spiders, who sometimes walk around the house or dangle from the ceiling - and whom he finds amusing to squish using a rolled-up newspaper. This, of course, leads to several attempts by the spiders to get back at Garfield - unsuccessful in most cases.
- When on diet, Garfield often has hallucinations, taking shape in walking food with limbs and a provocative manner of encouraging Garfield to eat them. This, of course, is impossible (as they don't exist), much to Garfield's frustration.
- Two trusty household appliances in the comic are the bathroom scale and the alarm clock. The two objects are quite different personalities: While the former usually allows itself to be quite cynical and crude about Garfield's overweight state, the latter sometimes retracts from ringing loud and waking Garfield, since he tends to pummel the disturbing factors.
Garfield marks his paws
- His album: Am I Cool or What?
- His suction-cupped kitties: "Stuck on You" phenomenon across America and takes several years for production met the demand (Which was created after an idea trade with Scott Adams in 1990, which involved what type of object could hold the thing other than sticky items).
- His books: introduces the "Garfield format" in publishing as its books are horizontally oriented to match comic strip dimensions
- His comic strips: published in over 2000 papers in the world, a world record
- Garfield and Friends (Animated cartoon series, 1988–1994)
- Garfield Gets a Life (animated special)
- Garfield's Feline Fantasies (animated special)
- Garfield's Thanksgiving (animated special)
- Garfield's Babes and Bullets (animated special)
- Garfield: The Movie (2004) - Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield.
- Official site
- Toonopedia: Garfield
- Slate.com: "Garfield: Why we hate the Mouse but not the cartoon copycat"