Garfield (comic)

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The protagonist of the comic strip as spraying Superman, graffiti on a house wall in Halle (Saale)

Garfield is the name of since 1978 appearing comic strips by Jim Davis with cat Garfield, dog Odie, and their socially awkward owner Jon Arbuckle in the lead roles. The success of Garfield lies on the one hand in the parody of the owner / pet relationship, on the other hand in the all too human problems of the hangover, such as diet , assembly or boredom . The main comedy of the comics is based on the markedly cynical handling of these problems. Garfield first appeared in the US and is now very popular around the world. In German-speaking countries, the strips were first published in 1984 by Krüger-Verlag; Egmont Ehapa launched a new edition in 2007.


main characters


Garfield is the main character. He is a fat, lazy, often sarcastic cat (quote: "cheeky, fat, lazy and filosofisch"), who likes to eat and sleep. His birthday is June 19, 1978 (the day the first Garfield strip appeared). He was born in Mama Leoni's Italian Restaurant at a proud weight of five pounds and six ounces.

Garfield has orange fur with characteristic black stripes on its back. His owner Jon usually names Garfield's breed in his presence as exotic shorthair, red-tabby , a red-tabby exotic shorthair cat , or something similar. Strictly speaking, however, Garfield is a simple tiger, an “orange-colored bacon dumpling with stripes,” as Jon once confessed to the vet on the phone. Garfield's favorite dish is lasagna , and it probably plays a role in the fact that he immediately ate all the lasagna in the Italian restaurant where he was born. He also ate Jon’s ferns and often ate chicken, especially in his early years, until in December 1980 Jon forbade him to eat whole chickens because of the small bones that could choke him.

If Garfield is not busy eating or sleeping (interview: "There must be something else in life besides eating and sleeping - but I hope not."), He usually passes the time watching television or destroying various furnishings as well comparable destructive activities.

Garfield likes the mice around the house as conversation mates, but to Jon's chagrin refuses to hunt them. He also speaks to spiders more often, but normally kills them using various objects, mainly newspapers. Garfield doesn't particularly value being made aware of his weight or age, and certainly not his birthday, even if he really does appreciate the event because of the attention it will then receive. On normal Mondays something happens to Garfield with frightening regularity, the range of Monday events ranges from small humiliations to almost absurd incidents, such as a step mine in the food bowl, which is why Garfield detests the beginning of the week (O-Ton: “I hate Mondays! "). But Christmas cannot come soon enough for him.

Garfield's facial expressions and gestures correspond to those of a human. He communicates with the reader in the form of thought bubbles that can also be understood by other animals (rarely even plants). People don't understand Garfield. Whether Jon Garfield understands literally or whether he understands his hangover as a long-time owner “understands” his pet is open and is handled differently in the series: While Jon Garfield does not seem to understand in newer strips, he could in earlier strips be aware of his cat's thoughts. Most of the scenes, however, are kept ambiguous.

Over time, Garfield learned to write. While he is not yet able to do this in the early episodes, he later shows himself to be able to type, which at first only results from a few uses of the typewriter, but in new comics very often from the use of the computer. Other equipment is also evolving. In the past, the scales only printed out pieces of paper, today they beep digitally or even speak. Current technical developments (e.g. cell phones, sat navs, answering machines, internet) are sometimes introduced ironically, which, thanks to Jon's lack of technical know-how, leads to many chaotic situations.

As the comic strips progressed, Garfield's appearance and behavior evolved. At the very beginning, Garfield was portrayed as extremely obese, with flabby cheeks and small, round eyes. He was later slimmed down and his eyes widened. At first Garfield moved on all fours. However, he has always used his front paws like human hands. Over time, he began to stand and walk on his back legs, which gave his appearance a strongly human image. However, he has always retained some typical feline postures, such as: B. Sitting with pulled back legs and stretched front legs. From around 1983 Garfield's current appearance was largely introduced.


Odie is a lovable dog with limited mental abilities, even if on rare occasions he demonstrates an extraordinary intelligence. Normally, Odie's abnormally large tongue hangs drooling from his mouth. Where she disappears to when Odie for once doesn't pant is one of the greatest secrets in the world for Garfield. Odie is Garfield's only roommate who hardly ever speaks, apart from a Garfield dream. In previous comic strips, however, it happened three times that Odie also “spoke” in thought bubbles. In a newer strip, Odie whispers something in Garfield's ear, which Garfield then tells the reader.

Garfield likes to push Odie off the table or annoy, humiliate, offend, otherwise treat him as "rude" or trick him. Even if it doesn't seem like it, Garfield is quite fond of his animal roommate. Odie used to belong to Lyman, who brought him to Jon one day. Since Lyman disappeared from the series without explanation, Odie belongs to Jon. Odie's favorite toy is a small ball that rings as soon as it is moved (dingle ball). Almost nothing can stop Odie on the hunt for the ball. Odie's birthday is August 8th (first appearance on the comic strip).

Jonathan Q. "Jon" Arbuckle

The owner of Garfield and Odie is an outsider who often suffers from boredom and has neither professional success nor happiness with women, at least not for many years. This is due, among other things, to his flashy clothes, his clumsiness, his affection for the accordion and polka music. His poor cooking skills are still legendary. His attempts to be cool or to impress the ladies in any way always fail miserably. Jon Arbuckle is a cartoonist and the main interlocutor for Garfield. His great love is Liz (in earlier German translations Bea ), Garfield and Odie's vet. After years of unsuccessful advertising, he has been with her since July 2006, which he still has to get used to the most. Jon's birthday is July 28th.

Minor characters

  • Arlene : Arlene is a pink, neighborhood street cat with a long neck and gaping teeth that Garfield first met on the December 17, 1980 Strip. Garfield turtles around with her now and then. A real relationship stands in the way, however, that Garfield is on the one hand more in love with himself than with anyone else and is also about as romantic as a stone.
  • Nermal : A cute gray and black striped kitten that Garfield likes to confront about his age and figure. That's why Garfield hates it, but everyone else loves it. Because of this, but also because of his exceptionally sarcastic streak, which can easily keep up with Garfields, and his razor charm, Garfield is often sent by parcel post to Abu Dhabi , Tierra del Fuego , Timbuktu or other distant places. Nermal was owned by Jon's parents on the first strip he appeared on in September 1979. After that he became a neighbor cat.
  • Pooky : Garfield's teddy bear , which he loves to hug and which used to belong to Jon. Garfield found him in a dresser on October 23, 1978. In January 1983, Pooky briefly lost his arm, but it was sewn back on. Pooky cannot think or move.
  • Stretch : Stretch is a rubber base that Jon gave Garfield for his sixth birthday. It appears in the comics for a week at a time, but only rarely afterwards. His last appearance dates from December 31, 1995. In the German translation he is usually called "Schnippi".
  • Dad : Jon's father who runs the family farm. A down-to-earth, genuine farmer, who in rare cases tends to be somewhat naive. Jon and Garfield visit him and Mom every now and then on the farm. Once the two of them come to visit Jon for a few days, which ends in fiasco: Dad breaks the tap in the bathroom, wants to get up early, milk at night, etc.
  • Mom : Jon's mother, whose entire day seems to be preparing a monumental variety of dishes, which is why she is especially loved by Garfield. Mom also crochets all kinds of things. Garfield doesn't like the sweaters that she crochets for him every Christmas, because there's always something fishy about them, which Jon's mother does not on purpose, but with "legendary" regularity. Her favorite saying is: "Eat, boy, eat!", Which of course has a special effect on Garfield.
  • Doc Boy : Jon's brother, who is an even bigger loser and bore than Jon and still lives on his parents' farm. He looks a lot like Dad, except that he has three more hairs on his head.
  • Lyman : is a friend of Jon who lived with him for a while. He is also the actual owner of Odie. In the early 1980s Lyman disappeared from the stories without a trace, without any mention of where or for what reason. In the radio play series he traveled and then never appeared again. Jim Davis said that he simply had too few uses for Lyman, which is why the figure slowly disappeared. On April 2, 2013, he appeared in a photo Jon was reading in a newspaper.
  • Dr. Liz Wilson (initially Bea for a while in the German version ): Garfield's vet and Jon's beloved. Garfield hates going to the vet, but Jon regularly, and not infrequently, drags him there on flimsy pretexts in hopes of meeting Liz. Every now and then he succeeds, but the dates all end in disaster. Sometimes Garfield helps out a little. The first kiss between Liz and Jon took place on December 19, 1981. On July 26, 2006, Liz admits to Jon that she likes him, and on July 28, 2006, the two kiss again.
  • Binky, the clown : He is a television clown who always brings Garfield to the edge of incandescence with his shrill voice (“ Haaaallo children! ”) And penetrating manner. He made his first appearance in 1985 in the Garfield Halloween Special . While he practically never appears in the comics and is rarely "heard" on TV, he made regular appearances in the television series Garfield and Friends and even had his own sketch there at times, " Laughter with Binky ". In the comics, however, Garfield, and especially Jon, are fans of Binky. Jon also owns a "Binky-the-Clown-Mug" and "Binky-the-Clown-Socks".
  • The Postman : It's Garfield's chew toy. In the television series he was given the name Herman Post .
  • Irma : Owner and only waitress of Irma's Diner , a place where Jon and Garfield eat occasionally. The food and service at this establishment, as well as Irma's state of mind, are very questionable. Her shop is open 24 hours a day all year round, which means she is always overtired and occasionally falls asleep while serving. She's also very clumsy.
  • Xan : Xan owns the Xans Cafe Caffeine , which Garfield and Jon frequent on newer strips. He likes to make fun of Jon indirectly.
  • Erwin Ehrlich (English Honest Harry ): He's a salesman who cheats on Jon over and over again. His office is in a motor home with the engine running. Erwin acts as a Christmas tree seller, used car dealer or refrigerator representative. Only Garfield and Odie see through his deceptions. In the television series he appears under the name Al G. Swindler .
  • Ellen : Jon is constantly trying to convince her to go on a date over the phone, but she vehemently refuses. She first appeared in a comic strip in July 2006 while visiting a restaurant with Jon after suffering from amnesia after an accident.
  • Hulda & Hubert (Engl. Reba & Hubert ): An elderly couple and Jon's neighbors. They think Jon is crazy, mainly because of Garfield's quirks, so they want to move regularly and call the mental health department. They also have a small dog that bites Garfield's tail in a row of strips as he walks through tall grass. Reba is also sometimes called Erna in German .
  • Mrs. Feeny : A neighbor of Jon who is a constant target of Garfield's pranks. Usually it is her flower beds or her little Chihuahua who fall victim to Garfield's orgies of destruction, which is why she repeatedly complains to Jon by phone or in writing. Mrs. Feeny's husband has also been exposed to Garfield's pranks. However, the Feeny family has never been featured in a comic strip.
  • Libra : Jon owns a talking Libra who loves to pester Garfield for his weight. However, it is questionable whether it is always the same device, as it is regularly destroyed by Garfield for the aforementioned reason. In the earlier comics, the scales couldn't speak, but printed out pieces of paper.
  • Trees : You are constantly trying to get Garfield to climb on them. Usually by promising him things that await him upstairs (new branches, a great view or even a cappuccino machine). Garfield knows that he will not come back down alone, but usually climbs the tree anyway, from which he will eventually be rescued or fall down for various reasons.
  • Spiders : Garfield hates spiders. They are recurring characters in the comics and are always killed by him in the end with a newspaper or other objects. A particularly stubborn and defensive spider is called Frank.
  • Mice : The mice that live in Jon's house are left unmolested by Garfield, because Garfield likes mice when they are alive and, secondly, cannot stand them as food. Some of them have names like Squeak , Fat Eddie , Herman Vermin, or Floyd .
  • The snail : She lives in Jon's garden and is a good friend and conversation partner of Garfield.
  • Ferns and Flowers : Every now and then Jon brings home a fern that Garfield keeps eating. Various flowers are also victims of Garfield's attacks of destruction, preferably the flowers from Mrs. Feeny's award-winning garden and bouquets that Jon buys for Liz.
  • Uncle Roy : Uncle Roy is the main character in a children's show of the same name that Garfield has seen frequently on previous strips. His main competitor is Binky the clown.
  • Garfield's mother Sonja : She lives in the pizzeria where Garfield was born. Garfield hardly sees them. There is also a grandfather Garfield, but he hardly sees either. In a couple of strips he demands that Garfield eat mice.
  • Duck : One day when Garfield is romping around in Jon's flower bed again, he meets a duck and wants to eat it; then when he jumps the duck flies up and Garfield hangs by its feet. Then there was a small series of strips that talked about Garfield's encounter with the duck. After that, however, the duck never appears again.
  • Birds : Garfield constantly tries to eat the birds in Jon's garden and develops a certain imagination (e.g. bear traps, chicken broth in the bird bath, the warning of an approaching hangover or the suggestion to hide in Garfield's mouth). Most of the time, however, the birds are too intelligent for Garfield to attempt to catch them. Sometimes he also eats them when they offend him or just insult him.
  • Goldfish : Jon occasionally buys a goldfish, which (almost always) ends up in Garfield's stomach. He often lurks in front of the glass or tries to catch him with a bait. Once Garfield admits that he doesn't like fish, but that it's an old cat instinct that he cannot or won't ignore.
  • The chain dog : Garfield's frequent interlocutor in the newer strips. The two are actually quite fond of each other (although Garfield is careful to stay out of reach of the chained dog). Sometimes the dog is represented by a smaller dog, sometimes even by a snake. The appearance of the chain dog changed quite frequently. In earlier strips he resembled a bulldog, in later strips he is a tall, shaggy mixed breed. He has kept this look to this day.
  • The Santa Claus : Santa Claus (engl. Santa Claus ) always occurs around Christmas time in the comic strips. Either he appears in person or as a double in department stores. Garfield tries again and again to please Santa Claus, among other things he puts landing lights on the roof of Jon's house, puts him, instead of milk and cookies, a pot of coffee and a steak under the Christmas tree or oil the fireplace so that he can slide does not get stuck. Another running gag of the series is that Garfield (sometimes Odie and Jon) tries to stay up late on Christmas night to see Santa. However, he always falls asleep. Then Santa Claus covers him up or presses a candy cane in his paws. Although Garfield has respect for the real Santa Claus, he often plays pranks on the department store Santa Claus and gleefully beats the disguised elf actors.
  • The Cricket : It wanted to become Garfield's conscience, but it failed.


Radio plays

In the 1980s the Ariola Garfield record company produced radio plays . Garfield was voiced here by Hape Kerkeling .


Since 1983, for television cartoons produced that first on CBS ran, and four of which Emmy Awards won. The animated series Garfield and Friends was later produced. The series The Garfield Show followed in 2008 .


In 1995 three maxi CDs were released (Cool Cat, Cool Cat Remix and Party of Love) and the accompanying album Keep Cool, Cat . Cool Cat was able to assert itself in the German charts for 15 weeks and reached number 28 as the highest position. The music genre is Eurodance , the singer is Rachel Wallace.

The idea for Garfield's foray into the rave scene came from its creator, American cartoonist Jim Davis. He got in touch with the Munich production team that had already staged the comic duck Daffy Duck with a party zone in 1991 and ordered a hit for Garfield.


In 2004, 20th Century Fox produced the real-life version of Garfield - The Film with Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt in the lead roles; Directed by Peter Hewitt . In the German version, Garfield is spoken by Thomas Gottschalk .

On August 6, 2006, the sequel Garfield 2 was released . In the German version, Garfield was dubbed this time by Oliver Kalkofe . The second film went down with the critics, largely because almost everything from the first film was reused.

The third film Garfield - Fett im Leben was a direct-to-DVD production and was released in the USA on October 1, 2007, and in Germany on March 3, 2008. In contrast to the first two parts, it is a fully animated film. In 2008 and 2009 a further film was produced.

Computer games

Under the title Garfield - Attack of the Mutant Lasagna , an anonymous fan published an adventure game in 2004 that was produced with the Adventure Game Studio program . Despite all of Jim Davis' attempts to avoid distributing the game under threat of legal action, it can still be downloaded for free from Home of the Underdogs .

Everyday objects

As with many well-known comic characters, everyday objects such as pens, wristwatches, school folders, telephones, etc. were imprinted by Garfield or made in the form of the comic figure. In Brittany, on the stretch of beach between Plouarzel and Ploumoguer , hundreds of corded Garfield-style telephones have washed up on the beach every year since the 1980s, without it being known where they came from. In this part of France, telephones were synonymous with plastic waste in the oceans . It was not until March 2019 that a lost shipping container was discovered in a nearby sea cave that was difficult to access, and dozens of Garfield telephones were washed out of it at high tide.

Running gags

  • Garfield keeps mentioning in the comic strips that he hates montages. Monday often behaves like a person by telling Garfield, for example. B. Throwing pies off the strip, often after Garfield made a comment about Monday. Only once, at the beginning of the series, does Garfield say that he loves Montage because he doesn't have to go to work.
  • Garfield's nightly concerts (Katzenjammer) often end with being thrown at him and still thanking the audience.
  • Odie is frequently rammed, pushed, or kicked off the table by Garfield.
  • Garfield often comments on the fictional television program. He can praise it, complain, make fun of it, etc.
  • Nermal is regularly packed in a postal package by Garfield, which is then addressed to Abu Dhabi , Yukon or similar distant locations.
  • The postman experiences much suffering and is very often stopped from his work by traps or attacks by Garfield.
  • Garfield kills spiders in a variety of ways, including: B. rolled flat, drowned etc.
  • The fish in Jon's Aquarium are mostly eaten by Garfield.
  • Before he got together with Liz, Jon tried desperately to get a date by phone, but was mostly hated by the women and thus insultingly rejected. This has been commented on many times by Garfield.
  • Garfield has a strong passion for lasagna. The smell alone can make him forget everything else.
  • Garfield tries to stay up late on Christmas night to see Santa, but often falls asleep.
  • Garfield regularly relieves Jon of his food.
  • When Jon and Garfield argue over the last cookie or donut, Jon always gets nothing.
  • His black horizontal stripes often fall off him, e.g. B. by water, blow drying etc.
  • Before his birthday, Garfield is regularly haunted by birthday nightmares, often in the form of speaking objects.


Davis received several awards for the comic, including the Elzie Segar Award and the Reuben Award .


  • The Garfield strips were initially printed in 40 newspapers and magazines, the number of which had grown to 2570 worldwide by 2006. Garfield thus holds a Guinness world record .
  • Like many other comic strips, Garfield is not exclusively drawn by its creator, but by several artists at Paws, Inc., founded by Jim Davis. Jim Davis usually signs the strips before they are printed.
  • Since June 7, 1999, Garfield has been printed in color in newspapers and magazines.
  • The cartoon character was named after Jim Davis' grandfather, James Garfield Davis , who was given this name in honor of the 20th US President James A. Garfield .
  • In 2004, the car brand KIA advertised on the occasion of the film launch in cinemas with Garfield . Three vehicles were designed and raffled accordingly as part of a promotion .
  • From the beginning of the 2000s to October 2013, the current Garfield comic could be obtained in English by mail subscription from U-Comics. This service has been discontinued and replaced with a Daily Garfield smartphone app.

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Titus Arnu: Garfield is a tomcat - or is it? In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . March 9, 2017 ( online [accessed March 10, 2017]): "Garfield is male."
  4. The first Garflied strip of 19 June 1978
  5. ^ Strip from November 12, 1980.
  6. ^ Strip from November 13, 1980.
  7. ^ Strip from December 14, 1980.
  8. see e.g. B. Garfield comic dated August 15, 2009 or Garfield comic dated April 23, 2007
  9. See the November 22, 1980 strip.
  10. ^ Strip from December 17, 1980.
  11. ^ Strip from September 3, 1979.
  12. October 23, 1978 strip.
  13. ^ Garfield Complete Edition 2, 1980 to 1982, Cologne 2007, Egmont
  14. , accessed on November 27, 2008
  15. , accessed on November 27, 2008
  16. ^ Strip from December 14, 1984
  17. L'affaire des échouages ​​de telephones Garfield en Bretagne enfin résolue
  18. 30-year-old mystery about Garfield telephones solved
  19. see e.g. B. Strip, May 28, 1984
  20. ^ Strip from May 28, 1979

Web links

Commons : Garfield  - collection of images, videos and audio files