Garfield is the title character of a comic strip created by Jim Davis. Published since 1978, Garfield chronicles the life of the cat Garfield; his owner, Jon; and Jon’s dog, Odie. 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. Common themes in the strip include Garfield’s laziness, obsessive eating, and disdain of Mondays and diets. 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, television series and movies. Part of the strip’s broad appeal is due to its lack of social or political commentary.
Few things are more banal than a Garfield comic strip, but apparently few things are more profitable than relatable banality. My daughter now has two plush Garfield toys from my 1980s childhood. With one billion dollars in Garfield merchandise sold each year, this lazy cat is difficult to avoid, despite having nothing interesting to say. However, it’s all worth it, because the existential angst of Dan Walsh’s Garfield Minus Garfield is the best.