This Day in History (19-Jun-1978) – Garfield, holder of the Guinness World Record for the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, makes its debut

Garfield is a comic strip created by Jim Davis. A humorous strip published since June 19, 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, a fat, lazy, cynical orange cat Garield, who loves lasagna, coffee, and his remote control; his owner, the long-suffering Jon Arbuckle; and Odie, a sweet but dumb dog. Garfield was named after the grandfather of Davis.  In June 1978, Garfield appeared in 41 US Newspapers. In a year it crossed 100 newspapers. Garfield at Large, his first book, hits #1 on The New York Times bestsellers list in 1980 and stays there for nearly two years. In 1982, seven Garfield books appear simultaneously on The New York Times bestsellers list…a never-before-seen feat that has yet to be matched! Same year, Garfield made the cover of People magazine as America’s #1 personality.

As of 2013, it was syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals, and held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip. It’s read daily by 260million people around the world. People relate to Garfield because Garfield is them. “He’s a human in a cat suit,” as creator Jim Davis likes to say. Garfield loves TV and hates Mondays. He’d rather pig out than work out; in fact, his passion for food and sleep is matched only by his aversion to diet and exercise (he prefers lay-downs to sit-ups). He’d like mornings better if they started later. Coffee “strong enough to sit up and bark” is the only way to start the day. What could be more human?

Originally created with the intentions to “come up with a good, marketable character”, Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion annually. In addition to the various merchandise and commercial tie-ins, the strip has spawned several animated television specials, two animated television series, two theatrical feature-length live-action films and three CGI animated direct-to-video movies. Part of the strip’s broad appeal is due to its lack of social or political commentary; though this was Davis’s original intention, he also admitted that his “grasp of politics isn’t strong,”



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