GARFIELD: the purrrfect comic strip hero from the mighty pen of Jim Davis
May 4, 2009
Open up any comic strip section of the newspapers in America, and most people would probably agree that the comic strip that is likely read first and foremost would have to be Jim Davis' Garfield!
Pay no attention to the fact that Garfield's image is pure commercialism at its finest, what with his appearance to be found everywhere from gracing calendars and books to t-shirts bags and stuffed toys; Garfield's popularity is mainly due to the fact that his sarcastic wit is unparalleled, his character is absurdly loveable in all his lazy glory, and Jim Davis's engaging style of cartoon drawing is too pleasantly organic to be ignored.
The humor behind Garfield as an otherwise typical tomcat character are his more humorously human characteristics: he's a lazy nap-addicted fatty whose favorite food is everything from pizza to lasagna! He refuses to hunt mice or play fair with his dog roomie Odie. He likes to howl at the moon at night and terrorize the life of sickeningly cutiepie kitten Nermal. He has a completely love-hate relationship with his owner John. I suppose we all see different sides of our personalities within the character of Garfield, which is probably one of the many reasons he's remained so popular since his first comic strip appearances in the 1970's.
As for me, the main reason I remain infatuated with the Garfield character to this day is soley due to the influence of creator/artist Jim Davis. As a child, I was virtually spellbound by Garfield and Davis' unique drawing style, and was often spoiled with ongoing gifts of Garfield comic-strip books by my stepdad due to the obvious influence of Jim Davis' artwork and humor within my own developing artistic style. Aesthetically, I loved everything about his drawing style, from its rounded nature and radial undertones, to its quirky command of caricaturized life drawing elements---Jim Davis obviously was a skilled artist, and unlike many of his cartoonist contemporaries, his style was a cut above the rest thanks to its inimitable appearance that was clearly his own creation, despite obvious recreations((as in the similarly-styled "Marvin" cartoon)).
What set Garfield apart beyond just his slickly drawn appearance was his acutely hip humor as well---beyond the typical cutesy cartoon/comic strip characters, Garfield remains not only consistantly funny, but wickedly sarcastic to boot! His humor is always on point, and Garfield strips are one of the few that actually do give me a case of the all-too-infrequent LOL's.
Beyond the consumerism and the awful recent set of live action "Garfield" movies((which should serve as true embarrassment to all involved in this commercial rape of the formerly respectful franchise)), the character of Garfield himself is timeless, as is the cartoonized world he happilly inhabits. Long may Garfield live to nap, eat, and be his usual sardonic self then---from children to adults alike, Garfield continues to capture the hearts of generations for good reason!