Today we have Garfield’s 50th book. It is great that after 50 volumes of Garfield, Davis can still bring the laughs. A lot has changed in Garfield’s little world since his debut in the late 70’s. He has gone on to become one of, if not the most successful comic strip in history with cartoons, movies and every conceivable form of merchandise that you can imagine.
The Original strip of Garfield has never in changed in all that time as far as quality goes. Garfield has seen a major design overhaul but you still have the world’s greatest Grumpy Cat at the core of the strip. Garfield is the ultimate representation of the narcissistic lifestyle which society has evolved into since the 60’s. He is a self involved fat cat who always puts himself first and almost always gets his way.
He is still surrounded by his cartoonist owner and his lovable brain dead dog Odie, only now, Jon Arbuckle is showing signs of life. He is still the hopeless nerdy geek, but now he has finally landed the girl of his dreams in the Veterinarian Liz. The former hopelessness that was the characteristic of Jon Arbuckle, and even spawned the series, Garfield minus Garfield, has been toned down and Jon has evolved into a more human character to the benefit od the strip.
Garfield and Odie must now learn to get along on their own now that Jon can go out on a successful date. In this volume, Garfield celebrates his 29th birthday, an astounding accomplishment fro a fat cat, but a milestone we are all happy to see him reach.
I think Garfield is the natural predecessor to Charles Schultz and his peanuts gang. It has a minimalist style to it, and a light hearted humor with the same formula of a lovable loser in Jon, a carefree dog in Odie and in the center of the strip and in his own world, we have Garfield. He is larger than life, and a perfect comic representation of a self obsessed society indulging in every excess with simpleminded sincerity.
One day someone will analyze Garfield in a sociological sense, if it hasn’t been done already, and realize that Jim Davis foresaw a growing trend in American society and represented it with amazing humor and charm. For all the things that Garfield may represent, he is still our favorite fat cat. he is still as funny and lovable as he was back in 1978, maybe even more so. We can all see a piece of ourselves somewhere in Garfield’s world. it may be a piece we are not so proud of, but Jim Davis has not only let us see it, but he made us see it with a gentle humor which allows us to understand it all the more.
I highly recommend Garfield, Potbelly of Gold. For 50 books he has brought us laughs and I can only hope there will be 50 more. Until Next Time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.