Comic Strip / Comics

What Was the Very First Garfield Comic Strip?

Garfield is a beloved comic strip character that has captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide. This famous orange tabby cat is known for his love of lasagna, his sarcastic humor, and his lazy personality.

But have you ever wondered where it all began? What was the very first Garfield comic strip?

The first-ever Garfield comic strip was published on June 19, 1978, in 41 newspapers across the United States. The creator of Garfield, Jim Davis, had been working on the concept for several years before it finally made its debut.

The Birth of Garfield

Jim Davis grew up on a farm in Indiana and had always been drawn to cartoons and comics from an early age. After attending college and working as an advertising artist for several years, he decided to pursue his dream of creating his own comic strip.

In the early 1970s, Jim began sketching a cat character who would eventually become Garfield. He based the character’s appearance on a stray cat he had adopted named “Marmalade.” He also drew inspiration from other cartoon cats such as Krazy Kat and Felix the Cat.

The First Strip

The first-ever Garfield comic strip features the iconic orange tabby lying on his back with a thought bubble above his head that says “They say I’m not much for moving around.” The punchline at the bottom reads “Maybe it’s because I have a comfortable spot.”

Fun Fact: The original name for Garfield was “Jon,” after Jim Davis’s brother. However, he eventually decided to name him after his grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis.

The Evolution of Garfield

Over the years, Garfield evolved into the lovable character we know today. He gained his love for lasagna in 1981 when Jim Davis decided to make it his favorite food. He also became more vocal and gained his signature sarcastic sense of humor.

Garfield’s popularity skyrocketed, and he quickly became one of the most iconic comic strip characters of all time. His image has been used in countless merchandise, movies, and TV shows.

The Legacy of Garfield

Today, Garfield has been in publication for over 40 years and is still going strong. Jim Davis continues to create new strips and merchandise featuring the beloved character. Garfield’s legacy has also inspired countless other cartoonists and comic strip creators.

  • In 1984, Garfield became the first comic strip character to have a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Garfield has appeared in over 2,500 newspapers worldwide and has been translated into numerous languages.
  • In 2002, a live-action movie adaptation of Garfield was released, starring Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield.


The first-ever Garfield comic strip may have been simple compared to the complex storylines that followed it, but it laid the foundation for one of the most successful comic strips of all time. With his relatable personality and humorous antics, Garfield has become an icon that will continue to entertain audiences for generations to come.