Garfield, the famous cartoon cat, celebrates his 34th birthday on Tuesday, and his creator says the smart-alecky cartoon cat who hates Mondays and loves lasagna will probably outlive him.
"I wouldn't be opposed to having someone carry on when I can't do it," said Jim Davis, 66, who launched the comic strip about a single guy who lives with his cat in June, 1978.
"I developed the strip to make people laugh, to feel better. That's what really drives me, and if Garfield can continue to do that for 500 more years that would be great!", said Davis.
Plans to celebrate Garfield’s birthday in Garfield style are afoot (or even a paw!). "We will enjoy it with friends and, in true Garfield spirit, eat as many hot dogs and hamburgers as we can possibly stuff ourselves with," Davis said, adding that someone might even cook up the tubby orange tabby’s favorite dish - Lasagna!
"I thought it would be funny for a cat to like lasagna," said Davis, explaining the origins of Garfield's peculiar appetite. "But as it turns out, cats like DO lasagna."
Garfield, who was named after Davis' grandfather, James Garfield Davis, has changed much since he first debuted in 1978 - he was fatter, and flabbier, when Davis first introduced him to the public.
He initially planned to call his new strip "Jon" after Garfield’s lovable but lonely owner, Jonathan Arbuckle, but "...every time I wrote a gag, the cat took the punchline," Davis said. "The cat was a wiseguy and, I swear, from the first day took over the strip. So, I gave in and changed the name of the strip to 'Garfield' and played with it."
With Garfield, Davis immediately knew he had something special, but he realised he needed more supporting characters besides the ever-optimistic Jon to counter the ever-pessimistic Garfield. One of the sidekicks he came up with was Odie, a dim-witted brown-eared beagle.