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Garfield – Not Aging Gracefully

Garfield by Jim Davis turns 40 today.

Newspapers around the world are celebrating the occasion.

In Canada the Edmonton Journal ran an article and interview with Jim Davis.

Q: What did your life look life before Garfield?

A: I was earning $135 a week as an assistant to T.K. Ryan on the Tumbleweeds comic. I wanted to have enough papers with my own strip to not have to take a second job. I figured 100 papers, for my lifestyle living in Indiana. I was 32 when I got syndicated. It was like going to college for 22 years, never knowing when you’re going to get a diploma.

In India the Deccan Chronicle does the same:

“It’s fun being a cartoonist,” Davis says, “I work 12-14 hours a day, and I love what I’m doing.” He sets aside one week each month to focus on writing the comic strip, while his staff help him with blue-lining, inking, lettering, and colouring. He says he’ll continue drawing “until someone taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Jim, you’re not funny anymore’.”

In the past couple weeks Jim must have set a record giving newspaper and television interviews.
There is no doubt about one record Jim and his creation have set, the South Florida Reporter notes:
2013 – Garfield is syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals and holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip.
Mental Floss11 Things You Might Not Know About Jim Davis includes this:
Since 1978, Garfield has grown from a comic strip to an international brand, with movies, TV shows, books, video games, and merchandise. In 1981, Davis founded Paws, Inc. to manage Garfield’s licensing. Dozens of licensing experts, artists, and writers work at Paws, which is located in Davis’ home state of Indiana. And the operation is huge: Garfield merchandise—from posters to clothing to calendars—earns nearly $1 billion in revenue per year.
And, of course, there is a book being released on the anniversary to celebrate the birthday.
Speaking of Garfield books…note that, at this writing, 25% of the Amazon Top 20 Sellers in their Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Anthologies category are Garfield Fat Cat 3 Pack editions.
And 38 years after the first Garfield collection (Garfield at Large) in early 1980, that book remains in the Top 100 (#59 at the moment).
Yeah, I think we can write Jim Davis off as a success story.

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