Next week on June 19, Jim Davis will celebrate 30 years doing the Garfield comic strip. His syndicate, Universal Press has released a Q & A about the strip:
Q: You’ve been drawing Garfield for 30 years now. Looking back, what was the most exciting event that happened during your career with regards to the strip?
A: “While it can’t be considered an event, being embraced by the readers is what I’ve found most exciting about doing the strip. The knowledge that my effort is entertaining someone gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s a heady experience!”
Q: What’s the last time you laughed out loud over a comic strip that another cartoonist did?
A: “It was just a few weeks ago. The strip is PVP (Player vs. Player) by Scott Kurtz. His timing is flawless. PVP isn’t in newspapers, it’s online! Some of the sharpest stuff is being done online by some very talented, young artists. They keep me looking over my shoulder.”
Q: Why doesn’t Garfield ever get to be a taster on those HGTV cooking challenges?
A: “Garfield isn’t a taster; he’s an eater. Maybe if they came up with a show called ‘Binging with Emeril’…”
Q: Did you ever consider another name for Garfield other than the name of your grandfather?
A: “I originally planned to call the strip Jon, the adventures of a single guy who owns a cat. However, every time I wrote a gag, the cat got the punch line. I couldn’t write around the stupid cat. I finally had to admit that the cat had the dominant personality (and ego), so I named the strip Garfield, the adventures of a cat who owns a single guy.”
Q: Will there ever be a time and will you ever reach an age where you begin to travel or pursue other interests and completely turn Garfield and the gang over to the care and supervision of others?
A: “I envision letting the day-to-day tasks go to other staffers while I’ll always continue to do the strip, at least until someone says, ‘Uh, Davis, you’re losing the young readers with the liver spot jokes.’ “
Q: If you were whisked away by aliens to serve as a dictator for a planet light years away, would the business of Garfield continue here on earth without you?
A: “Is that a cute way of asking, ‘Will the strip continue after you’re dead?’ In a word, ‘Yes.’ For as long as Garfield can continue to make people smile, I hope we have someone to do well by him.”
Q: What do you want to say to the thousands of newspaper editors out there who have continued to subscribe to Garfield for years and years?
A: “Thanks for your support. I hope I’ve helped make your readers as loyal to you as you’ve been to me.”
Q: What do you want to say to the millions of fans who love Garfield dearly?
A: “What I always say in the answers to their letters, ‘I’ll do my best to keep you entertained.’ “
Q: What little known fact about Garfield to you know that many of us don’t? For example, we’ve heard, but we can’t confirm, that in Garfield’s early years there was an increase in people seeking orange tabby cats, making them a much sought after item. How cool is that if it’s true?
A: “30 years ago dogs outnumbered cats in American households, now, cats outnumber dogs. Coincidence? I think not.
Here’s something nobody knows (until now): Years ago I did another strip called U.S. Acres. When I ended the feature, one character refused to retire. When Jon and Garfield visit the farm today, look in the background. Sometimes Roy the rooster peeks out from behind a tree and waves.”
Q: You’ve always been so laid back about people who do parodies or who poke fun at Garfield. What gives? Isn’t some righteous anger in order?
A: “Hey, if nobody cared, there would be no parodies. I’ll take the parodies.”