Not having been a fan of Garfield since my age hit the double-digits, I can’t really say that I was terribly surprised by this look at Jim Davis’ marketing-centric approach to producing the Garfield comic strip.

The model for Garfield was Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, but not the funny Peanuts of that strip’s early years. Rather, Davis wanted to mimic the sunny, humorless monotony of Peanuts‘ twilight years.


Garfield‘s origins were so mercantile that it’s fair to say he never sold out—he never had any integrity to put on the auction block to begin with. But today Davis spends even less time on the strip than he used to—between three days and a week each month. During that time, he collaborates with another cartoonist to generate ideas and rough sketches, then hands them over to Paws employees to be illustrated.

I’d heard rumors before that Davis didn’t even bother drawing the strip anymore, but this is the first time I’d actually seen a printed reference about that.

(via the Something Positive LiveJournal)

iTunes: “God’s Little Joke” by Soho from the album Goddess (1990, 2:22).

8 thoughts on “Why Garfield sucks

  1. Having somebdoy else draw your comic strip is the rule not the exception. (Even Aaron McGruder admitted he’s given up drawing Boondocks.) And it’s a very old way of doing business on the funny pages. Davis admitted he had help doing the strip 20 or more years ago.

  2. When he’s not licensing the hell out of Garfield with toys, bags, napkins, paper cups, socks, and probably tampons, Davis takes a break from whoring out his creation to occasionally write a new strip. Found in the “humor” section of newspapers, reading the comic is like having a five-finger prostate examination. Many years from now when Davis dies and CNN is undoubtedly squandering precious airtime on the passing of another sanctimonious American icon, historians will look back upon this series as a cancerous lump on the teat of humor strips. There’s nothing funny about Garfield. Every single comic starts out the same: Garfield sits around being fat, he eats all the food, and his ambiguously gay owner yells at him…

    The cat eats food. Alright, WE GET IT. Move on. Then as if to piss all over our better judgement, Davis has received the National Cartoonist Society: Best Humor award. Twice. Garfield gets awarded for humor and “Family Guy” keeps getting canceled faster than a baby at Planned Parenthood.

    As if one criminally boring comic after another wasn’t enough to dull your senses, “Garfield: The Movie” is poised to hit theaters this summer. I’m impressed that they’ve been able to take a 2D character with a 1D personality and bloat it into a 3D disaster. With a tagline like “it’s all about ME-OW,” you can be guaranteed the cinematic equivalence of having your hand fed to a wood chipper when this mind-dump hits the screen. The tagline would be more fitting if it were changed to “it’s all about ME-OH-SHIT-I-THINK-I-JUST-HAD-AN-ANEURISM.”

  3. I am a gafield fan since day one. I just think that some people are not happy and never will be happy unless you’re slamming some one. I think to that is why the world is the way it is cause of complaining people who do that. I’m disabled and I get a smile when I read the strip.

  4. I admit that there are some Garfield jokes comic strips that are not funny. But if you will click the random strips from the website, you will find lots of funny comic strips too. I laughed or smiled 7 out of 10 Garfield comic strips I read. So majority are funny but there are a few or several that aren’t.

  5. Given Garfield’s historically cruel slant towards the treatment of dogs, the question begs to be asked of how this obnoxious strip wasn’t cancelled out of existence early on considering dogs are the most popular pet in the country. The reason that Garfield has enjoyed otherwise inexplicable success is because the strip has been driven by very powerful corporate interests and was designed to be aligned with the dumbing-down progression in America since its inception in 1978 (now more obvious than ever). Someone going by the name of Jim Davis was merely the selected tea boy, with experience clearly in marketing but not humor.

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