The creator of Garfield, Jim Davis, spent his childhood on a farm in nearby Fairmount with his parents, brother and 25 cats. As a child, he loved doodling and eventually attended to Ball State University to study art and business. One of his first attempts at a cartoon strip was called Gnorm Gnat, but when he tried to sell the cartoon strip, the newspaper said that a bug was unrelatable.
Undeterred, Davis went back to the drawing board to find the perfect critter to be the hero of his comic strip. He noticed there were a lot of strips about dogs, but none about cats. Davis began sketching cats based off of the strays he encountered on his family farm, eventually settling on an orange, lazy cat.
Davis named the cat Garfield. The first Garfield strip was printed on June 19, 1978. The fat, lasagna-loving cat quickly became a fan favorite and remains one of the most popular cartoon characters in the world. Comic readers love Garfield’s cynical antics, lazy demeanor and witty sarcasm. Occasionally, Garfield lets his soft side show, but that’s usually only reserved for his beloved teddy bear, Pooky.
Jim Davis and Garfield still have strong ties to Indiana today. Davis currently lives in Albany, Indiana which is also the location of Paws Inc., the comic studio that publishes Garfield. Davis manages Garfield’s vast licensing, syndication and entertainment empire. Paws, Inc. is located just 45 minutes away from Davis’ birthplace of Marion. Visitors to Grant County frequently see Garfield, witnessing his comical hijinks along the way.
The Garfield Trail is composed of 14 fiberglass statues of the bright orange feline dressed and posed to fit in with his surroundings. It begins with a mellow Garfield in Marion at the pawprint-shaped Garfield Garden. He’s dressed up as a British soldier outside of the English-themed restaurant, Payne’s. Adventurous fans can find all the Garfield statues in one day.
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