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Comic Strip / Garfield

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Garfield is a long-running (since June 19, 1978) newspaper comic, written by Jim Davis. It stars Garfield, a sarcastic cat famous for his laziness, gluttony, occasional spurts of evil and avoiding of karma; his owner, Jon Arbuckle, a cartoonist who dresses badly, cooks badly and was long a complete failure with women (until, 28 years later, the veterinarian Liz finally gave in); and Odie, a really dumb dog with a penchant for licking, and the only animal who doesn't have "thought speech".

The strip began in the Pendleton, Indiana Times in 1976 as Jon (his second strip after Gnorm Gnat), which already featured the core cast: Jon, Garfield (looking quite different), Odie (then named "Spot") and his original owner, Jon's roommate Lyman (best known for disappearing with no explanation). Many if not most of the Jon strips were later redone when it was retooled into Garfield. Upon being syndicated nationwide in June 1978, Garfield had a rough start, being slow to be picked up by newspapers, and many predicting it would be a Short Runner. However, the first book collection, Garfield At Large, shot to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, held the spot for nearly two years, and turned the strip into one of the most successful ever, generating much merchandise and multi-media projects including:


Jim Davis has stated that he created Garfield with the sole intention of making money. He decided to create a strip that would be popular with the masses, in order to be commercially successful. The fact that he succeeded says one or two things, depending on how cynical one is. On the other hand, at least he bothers to admit it.

Garfield's speech is completely internal, even in his animated version. Although it made animation much easier, fans wondered exactly how much Jon understood Garfield considering they couldn't actually hold a conversation. With that in mind, they started the trend of removing Garfield's dialogueor even Garfield altogether— from the comics. What results is a surreal trip into the mind of a very disturbed and lonely man, which quite a few people consider funnier than the original strip, even by Jim Davis himself. And going one step even further, Square Root of Minus Garfield proves that True Art Is Incomprehensible — and hilarious. It's also spawned Garfielf, an intentionally So Bad, It's Good fanmade video. And last, but not least, there's Lasagna Cat, a bizarre series of videos in which actors for Jon, Garfield, and Odie act out certain strips in the series' history, while also making music videos as "tributes" to Jim Davis.

Probably holds the distinction of being the comic strip that features the most tropes whilst not naming any.

The official website can be visited here, which also features a complete Garfield comic strip archive, as does The website was far more sophisticated back in the 2000s decade offering card games, eCards you can send to someone for a special occasion, animated videos, "Leave a message" ringtones, original music and a more extensive shopping market. However, around the mid-2010s all these features were discontinued implying budget cuts were made to the website.

On August 6, 2019, Nickelodeon parent Viacom announced that it had acquired all global rights to the Garfield intellectual property (along with those of U.S. Acres) and that it would begin development on a new animated series for Nickelodeon. Davis retains the rights to produce the daily comic strips for the foreseeable future, though his involvement in future Garfield media is unknown.

"Garfield": Oh boy, let’s get this over with so I can eat my lasagna:

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  • Aborted Arc: Many storylines end like this, especially the ones where Garfield, Jon and Odie take a trip. They always go out of their way to make a strip or two preparing or heading to their destination, but by Sunday they're suddenly back home as if nothing happened. If the story spans more than one week, the Sunday strip will continue the storyline instead.
  • Accidental Truth: In one comic strip, Garfield tells Odie there's been a dog food recall as an excuse to steal his food. Then Jon reads in the newspaper that it really was a dog food recall.
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • Odie was once able to climb a tree because he didn't know he couldn't.
    • Odie once hung in a upside-down hammock. Garfield said he's successfully doing that because Odie's too stupid to understand gravity.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Garfield has had several after eating leftovers late at night. For instance, a 1988 strip leads to him dreaming that he slept for 50 years and woke up to a world where cats are hunted for food.
  • Acrofatic: For such a ball of lard, Garfield is surprisingly athletic when he wants to be, being able to run extremely fast and even beat up other animals and even people! Some readers have theorized that all those diets Garfield has endured over the years were partially successful.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: That one Monday Garfield fell into a sinkhole in his own house, even he can't help but be amazed at Monday's originality.
    Garfield: Cool! A sinkhole, right here in the kitchen!
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Garfield: Aha! Could this be a telltale trail of teddy bear hair? Even if it isn't, that was a pretty nifty bit of alliteration.
  • Aesop Amnesia: At least twice, Garfield became so fat his feet couldn't reach the floor. And yet as soon as he slimmed back down, he went right back to his gluttonous ways.
  • Affectionate Parody: Jim Davis sometimes uses Jon's family to poke fun at his own Down on the Farm roots. Jon's father is depicted in one strip at being amazed by an indoor toilet, while in another he breaks Jon's sink after trying to pump the faucet.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Garfield has done this to steal food from people's pockets on at least two occasions.
  • Air Guitar: Jon does it in the April 26, 2015 strip. Garfield counters with Air Lasagna.
  • Alien Abduction: Garfield is worried about his girlfriend Arlene because she believed his alien abduction excuse.
  • Alien Animals: One strip suggests that cats are invaders attempting to subjugate humanity, and that they are responsible for certain seemingly-mindless actions of dogs and lower-class humans.
  • All Cloth Unravels:
    • Garfield only pulls on a thread from Jon's pants, but the shirt somehow unravels, too, leaving Jon naked outside.
    • Garfield once tried to unravel his way out of a Homemade Sweater from Hell in this manner, only to have Jon's mother re-knit the sweater immediately, catching up to him by the third panel.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Word of God is that the 1989 Halloween story arc is this, although some readers continue to have their own interpretations.
    • In one strip, Garfield discovers a bottomless pan of lasagna. He's not happy when he realizes it was just a dream.
    • Jon got a date and asked Garfield to pinch him to be sure it wasn't a dream. It was, and he screamed.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: This strip features one of the Trope Namers themselves.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Arlene is about as pink as a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Jon once told Garfield, "We are going on a diet." Garfield starts questioning the implications behind this statement... implications that aren't obvious, that is.
    Jon: I don't think I'm getting through to him.
  • Anal Probing: "Dang Earl, yer bein probed!"
  • And a Diet Coke:
    • Occurs in this strip.
    • Inverted in this one, in which Garfield is given a lasagna that's low calorie and one-third fat. He requests two more.
    • In this early 1990 strip, Garfield looks over Jon's cereal wanting it. Jon retorts that Garfield's already eaten 12 donuts, 6 pancakes, 1 pound of ham and a quart of milk. Garfield asks just what kind of point Jon is making.
    • Jon makes a complicated pizza order in this strip ending with "2 diet Colas".
  • And Then What?:
    • In one strip, Garfield is being chased by a dog and wonders what the dog would actually do if it catches him. So he turns around and surrenders to the dog, asking it what it's going to do now. The dog then starts a waltz with Garfield, with an irritated Garfield demanding that he gets to lead next time.
    • In another one, a mouse tells Garfield mice would rule the world some day. Garfield asked "Then what?" and the mouse said they'd then live in people's house and eat cheese. Garfield was unimpressed by the answer.
    • An insect said someday they'd rule the world. Garfield asked "Then what?" and the insect hesitated before saying they'd "crawl on stuff".
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Ellen's reaction when Jon tried the sympathy angle by claiming he only had one week to live.
  • And This Is for...: Garfield clobbered Odie and said "That's for not being a cat." Later on, Garfield realized it was wrong on his part to Clobber Odie for not being a cat since it wasn't Odie's choice. Garfield then kicked Odie. "This is for being a dog."
  • Animal Jingoism: The traditional cats vs. dogs rivalry is played straight on many occasions between Garfield and Odie and all the other dogs he interacts with, but it's also repeatedly subverted. Garfield and Odie can get along perfectly well when they feel like it. One particular strip involves what looks like a large, angry barking dog chasing a terrified Garfield, but in the last panel they stop to catch their breath as a despondent Garfield tells the dog that they'll never catch the ice cream truck.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: None of the animals are anatomically correct, but in a family-friendly daily newspaper comic strip, would you really expect them to be?
  • Anthropomorphic Shift:
    • Garfield originally started out looking more like a real-life housecat, but per Art Evolution, he became extremely humanoid in 1984.
    • This was lampshaded in two strips. In one, Jon asked Garfield where the cookies in a jar went. After getting no response, he said, "For a cat who walks on his hind legs, you don't speak much!"
    • In the other, Jon told him that cats can't walk on their hind legs. Garfield said, "I didn't know that," and then, to Jon's shock, started walking on his front legs.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • "What's new, Garfield?" "Well, King Kong is on the roof batting down airplanes. The entire planet is being ravaged by brain-eating aliens... but more important, my dish is empty."
    • "Birthdays bring you lots of things... Gray hair. Bad eyesight... Creaky joints. Ear hair, aches, pains, bad teeth... Sigh... And cake!"
    • Another one that occurs while Jon's watching a soap opera:
      Jon: I have some bad news, Garfield. I ran out of your favorite cat food.
      Garfield: I'll survive.
      Jon: Odie chewed up your scratching post.
      Garfield: Big deal.
      Jon: And Frank left Marcia for Stephanie.
      Garfield: (dramatic expression) HOW COULD HE?!
    • "Why do people expect us cats to eat mice? This mouse could be somebody's mother. This mouse could be a deacon in its little mouse church. And one of the fuzzy sucker's bones might get caught in my throat."
  • Art Evolution: A rather extreme example, as Garfield has gone from having a huge body and beady eyes, to having a huge head and a body that looks like a basketball with legs. Just look at his face alone. The art evolution even predates Garfield, as the short-lived predecessor Jon features a slightly different face for Jon, a lumpier and un-striped Garfield who has enormous jowls and a marking on his tail, and an Odie (then named Spot) who resembles an oversized Chihuahua more than anything else.
    • Lampshaded heavily in a 25th-anniversary arc where 2003 Garfield meets 1978 Garfield.
      2003 Garfield: So I was you, huh?
      1978 Garfield: A long time ago.
      2003 Garfield: How did I see out of those itty-bitty eyes?
      1978 Garfield: First explain how you stand on those two spindly legs.
    • Further lampshaded in that year's birthday strip where we see not only 1978/2003 Garfield, but also 1978/2003 Jon and Odie.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Real cats are lactose intolerant. In real life, feeding a cat with lasagna would eventually kill it (that may explain why Garfield is overweight, though).
  • Ascended Meme: Jim Davis not only approved of Garfield Minus Garfield, he also contributed a few to the book.
  • Aside Glance: Occurs in the final panel of nearly all the comics, often as a reaction to a particularly stupid line or action.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Jon asked if Garfield would sleep all day. Garfield then checked his social calendar. He said he'd have a high tea with the Queen of England but had no appointments for that day so he slept and Jon mentioned the trope's name.
  • Ass Shove:
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: In one strip, Jon begins a phone call politely, only to yell threatening things at Garfield for stealing his food yet again. Needless to say, Debbie thought the yelling was directed at her.
  • Attack Backfire: This strip had this happen to Garfield, with Jon Comically Missing the Point of what Garfield was actually trying to do.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the announced movies on TV is "Attack of the 50-Foot Calzone".
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Garfield was grateful for the trope when a dog that was chasing him suddenly decided to chase the mailman instead. The dog then decided to chase a squirrel instead of the mailman.
  • Attention Whore: Garfield practically wrote the book on this.
  • Author Appeal: There is a definite point in the comic's long run when you will notice that most of the (human) females begin to be consistently drawn with huge breasts, butts, and lips. Some strips, such as this one, draw women in a Non-Standard Character Design.
  • Autocannibalism: Hinted here, combined with in-universe Fridge Horror.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: They may give each other a hard time, but Jon and Garfield really do care for one another. Jon even went so far as to throw out a potential girlfriend (literally) when she told him she was allergic to cats and forced him to choose between her or Garfield. Garfield and Odie also qualify.
  • Awkward Silence: THIS Strip is where Jon asks Liz for the reason of why she goes out with him. Then, it eventually caused Jon and Liz to pause for some seconds while staring at each other. Finally, Jon said that "this is an awkward pause" and Liz finally mentioned that she is gathering her thoughts, actually.

  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted and slightly altered with Nermal being able to talk (in the strip, at least, Nermal is an adult or at least adolescent cat who is intentionally invoking this trope; he deliberately stunted his growth because he's able to get away with more if people think he's a kitten). Though averted in the cartoon as Garfield sabotages Jon's dates to avoid (future) little kids making his life a living hell.
  • Babysitting Episode: Not quite babysitting, per se, but two different arcs had Garfield and Odie being pet-sat while Jon was out on a date with Liz. The first time, they were pet-sat by the horribly nearsighted Lillian while the second time had them under the care of the muscle-bound Greta.
    • Very early strips had Garfield and Odie being babysat by Jon's Aunt Gussie.
  • Bad Date: Happens a lot to Jon until he and Liz become an official couple.
    • One example went something like this:
    Random Woman: Jon Arbuckle?
    Jon: Hi, do I know you?
    Random Woman: We went out once.
    Jon: We did?
    Random Woman: I ran away screaming from our date...
    Garfield: You'll have to be more specific than that.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In this Sunday story, a dog was approaching Garfield, giving the impression he'd maul the cat but then the dog instead invites Garfield for lunch. Garfield commented that "Things aren't always as they seem".
    • Jon asks Odie to guess who's going to the vet. Garfield, believing Odie to be the one, makes up a tale to make the experience seem scary and then Jon reveals that Garfield is the one going to the vet.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    • Garfield notices a spider, produces a can of bug spray and says it "ought to do the trick". He then whacks the spider with the can.
    • It's the last day of 2019 and Garfield is counting the seconds until something arrives. After he happily exclaims its arrival, it's revealed he's talking about a pizza.
  • Balloonacy: Jon has "the world's largest balloon" delivered. Results in All Balloons Have Helium when it floats the house away.
  • Banana Peel: Here, here (logo box), here, here, here, and here. Variant here. Subverted here.
  • Banging Pots and Pans: Garfield does this to Jon a lot.
  • Based on a True Story: According to Garfield, Jon's love song to Liz "I'll Stay With You Forever Even If You Try to Lose Me in a Shopping Mall" is "based on a true story".
  • Beach Bury:
    • Garfield once buried Odie "up to his knees" (i.e., only his legs were sticking out of the sand).
    • Happens when Jon lets some kids bury Garfield. He actually finds it relaxing... at first.
  • Beach Episode: The cast frequently visit the beach. Bad things happen to Jon every time.
  • Beat Panel: Very often, which is surprising for a three-panel strip.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • One strip has Garfield stranded up a tree. Garfield says to it "Stupid tree...May all your stupid branches fall off!" Needless to say, all the trees branches broke off and fell to the ground. Including the one he was on.
    Garfield: Nice curse, Garfield.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Featured in these two comics. The first is with the ghosts of animals he ate and the other is with characters wearing ghost costumes.
  • Bee Afraid:
    Garfield: Aren't you going to answer your bee?
  • Beggar with a Signboard: A dog says he will eat homework for food.
  • Belly Dancer: In the 34th book "Life to the Fullest", an extra strip reveals a few group of women considered to be Jon's worst dates, among them being Suki, a Japanese woman who is a combination of a sumo wrestler and a belly dancer.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ask Garfield to "beg" for something. Garfield has also triggered Jon's on occasion such as this memorable early cartoon where Jon reacts to Garfield eating his chicken by pelting him with all the other food on the table.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Odie usually tolerates Garfield's abuse... but only usually.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Garfield ate a pizza before it arrived. He has "friends high up in the delivery business".
  • Big Ball of Violence: Showed up in early Garfield/Odie fights.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Garfield, when channel surfing:
    Garfield: Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Ah! Trash!
    Garfield: Quality... Quality... Quality... Quality... Dreck... Quality... Quality... Woah, back up there!
  • Birthday Hater: Garfield's birthday is celebrated every year, and he doesn't like it much, as it reminds him how old he is. He often has nightmares and weird hallucinations related to age. (He does like getting cake - and the attention - when the actual party comes, however.)
  • Black Comedy
    • The mass amount of pain inflicted on Jon and Odie often leans into this:
      Garfield: Ooo... I bet that hurt.
      (Garfield leaves and returns with a potted plant. He drops it onto Odie with a crash.)
      Garfield: Get well soon!
    • His repeated murder of spiders (which are sapient in this universe) also veers into this on occasion. After he kills one spider, its spouse comforts its child in a heartwrenching scene while Garfield looks on.
      Garfield: I guess I should feel like a heel. But I don't. *STOMP*
  • Blatant Lies:
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Generally averted, since Jim Davis has said that he tries to avoid US-centric references or puns, so that the strip can be easily translated. However, this was not always true in the early years.
    • The Spanish translation was pretty rocky at first:
      • "I ate a Milk Dud and kissed a cat" became "I hate spoiled milk and kissing cats".
      • "I love it when the Good Humor man comes" had "Good Humor" translated literally, as if it were just a friendly man who inexplicably hands out ice cream to cats.
      • In this strip, Garfield's dialogue was translated to something like "But at least I haven't broken a limb" even though he's clearly pointing to a branch — i.e., the "sturdy limb".
      • This one oddly changed "They say the pet alligators that are flushed into the sewers grow to huge proportions" to "They say there are huge crocodiles…" with no explanation as to how they would get down there.
    • The current Spanish translators (see here since it's no longer on the Garfield website) are generally quite skilled, to the point that they sometimes slip in their own puns. For instance, this strip went with a pun on "sleeping bag" that still works when translated back into English. They even localize some references properly, one of the most obvious being that cats are said to have seven lives instead of nine in most Spanish cultures. But even then, they're not infallible:
    • A couple of Hungarian bloopers: In this strip, the spider's line became "I can tell when I'm being fooled!". Which doesn't make the slightest of sense. In another strip, "my place" was translated litarally, as "én helyem" ("my spot"), when "nálam" ("at my place") would have been correct. Similarly, the expressions "Well, what do you know!" and "Okay, I'll bite" have also seen word-for-word translations ("Just what do you know!" and "Okay, I'll bite you"). Also, in one instance, the word "Egad" was left untranslated.
    • One Brazilian translation turned Jon's dialogue into (roughly) "Yes, that was me. Okay." instead of the original dialogue meaning "Smelly Feet Gag Up to Eleven".
  • Blunt "Yes": Garfield's answer when Arlene asks if he's going to stare at his phone through their entire date.
  • Bowdlerise: In one farm-based strip, Garfield says "wanna swap sheep jokes?" His editor, concerned over this being misconstrued for a bestiality reference, changed it to "dirt jokes". Another farm-based strip kept in "sheep jokes," however.
  • Box-and-Stick Trap:
    • This strip has Jon doing this to Garfield to take him to the vet:
      Garfield: Jon thinks he can trap me into going to the vet using a grilled cheese sandwich as bait. What kind of gluttonous idiot does Jon take me for anyway?
      [Gilligan Cut to the stick down and Garfield in the box, enjoying his sandwich]
      Garfield: What, no pickle?
    • Garfield sees one of these traps with a birthday cake as bait and says another birthday is out to get him.
  • Bratty Food Demand: In one strip, Jon's cousin Judy visits with her bratty little daughter Tammy, who demands food by repeatedly shouting, "Mommy!", then repeatedly shouting, "I'm hungry!". Garfield offers to "disappear" her.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    Garfield: Cats are very complicated.
    Jon: You're a lump.
    Garfield: Cats are very complicated lumps.
    Garfield (staring at food bowl) Glop.
    Jon: (puts rosemary in it) And a sprig of rosemary!
    Garfield: Glop with a sprig of rosemary.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens fairly regularly.
    Garfield: Is it my imagination, or is this strip getting longer?
  • Brick Joke:
  • Briffits and Squeans: Briffits are the most common.
  • Bubble Pipe: Jon uses a bubble pipe once or twice. Garfield himself once blew soap bubbles with a real pipe:
    Jon: My ivory-stemmed, mother-of-pearl inlaid meerschaum!
    Garfield: My blow toy.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • In one Story Arc where Garfield and Odie run away from home, Garfield describes the feeling of being on his own as "so....out-on-my-own-ish."
    • An even earlier example had Garfield describe the sight of Odie begging for food as "bug-eyed and pant-y and slobbery."
  • Bullet Seed: Shows up in two strips, both times with watermelon seeds. One example provides the page image.
  • Burp of Finality: One strip has Jon sit down to watch a video cassette that turns out to be an Apocalyptic Log recorded by his rare and expensive talking parrot.
    Taped!Parrot: AIEEEE!
    Taped!Garfield: BURP!
  • The Bus Came Back: Lyman appeared two more times after his last appearance as a regular (4/24/83): once for the 10th Anniversary strip (although only in the logo box and a photograph) five years later, and once on a newspaper in the 4/2/13 strip twenty-five years after that.
  • Burping Contest: Many strips have them between Jon and Garfield.
  • Butt-Monkey: Jon is a huge one. Here's just a few of his moments.

  • Canines Primary, Felines Secondary: Inverted. Whenever he and Odie show up together, Garfield the cat tends to have the spotlight.
  • Canon Immigrant: Garfield's family first appeared in the special Garfield on the Town. That special was later reworked into a 1984 storyline where they appeared in the comic.
    • Binky the Clown was first seen in Garfield's Halloween Adventure before appearing in a 1986 storyline about Garfield and Odie getting lost and joining the circus (although one earlier strip had Garfield wondering where the Binky the clown show was).
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Garfield and Odie's relationship, to a tee.
  • Cartoon Cheese: Shows up often when the mice are involved.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Jon is an excellent cringeworthy example — until his Relationship Upgrade with Liz.
  • Cash Lure:
  • A Cat in a Gang of Dogs: Inverted, Odie is the only dog in a gang of cats.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Garfield has had several.
  • Catching Some Z's: Usually it's only a single Z in a speech bubble variation (although some early strips play it straight).
  • Catchphrase: Jon has yelled out "Garfield!" so much, it's pretty much become as synonymous with him as "Alvin!" is for Dave.
  • Cats Are Mean: Could probably be the Trope Namer. Not that the trope is deployed consistently, but Garfield's Comedic Sociopathy is probably one of the series' most frequent recurring aspects (although at times he also demonstrates the capacity for great kindness).
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Garfield, of course.
  • Cat Up a Tree: Often happens to Garfield. As he puts it, cats are the world's greatest tree climbers, but the world's worst tree climber downers.
  • Ceiling Corpse: They weren't dead, but Garfield once duct-taped his neighbor's little dog to the ceiling above her phone, and when she called Jon about the missing dog, indicated that he should tell her to look up.
  • Censorship by Spelling:
    • One of Jon's attempts while on the phone with Liz:
    Jon: I know a place with a great B-U-F-F-E-T.
    Garfield: Make it a table for T-H-R-E-E.
    Liz: What did you get Garfield for Christmas, Jon?
    Jon: I got him a C-A-T T-O-Y. (whispers) He's right here.
    Garfield: I wanted a J-E-T S-K-I, you D-O-R-K.
  • Chalk Outline: Jon did it to Garfield for laughs.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the early days, Garfield acted more like a regular cat, compared to the more humanlike behavior of later comics. Jon, on the other hand, was more like the average cat owner, displaying none of the weird eccentricities he later came to possess. Also, the relationship between Jon and Garfield was completely opposite to what we see today, with Jon acting as the straight man to Garfield and Jon making the sarcastic quips about Garfield's sometimes weird behavior.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: Jim Davis opens the comic's 20th anniversary book by claiming, "I was born July 28, 1945, in Marion, Indiana, and was promptly dropped on my head - which explains my lifelong desire to become a cartoonist."
  • Childish Pillow Fight: In one strip, Jon challenges Garfield to a pillow fight. Garfield easily defeats him with a pillow stuffed with a giant chicken's feathers.
  • Christmas Episode: From the 2000s on, Davis has taken to devoting the entire month of December to Christmas-themed strips.
  • Christmas Light Chaos: The comic has used this trope many times:
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lyman. once it became apparent that he was The Artifact (he was originally brought in to give Jon someone to talk to). Arguably one of the most iconic examples in the funny papers. Although he appeared in a photograph in the newspaper Jon's reading three decades later.
  • Clark Kenting: Parodied. As an excuse not to chase a mouse, Garfield claimed he "didn't recognize him in those glasses".
  • Clip Show: June 19, 1988, the 10th anniversary strip. This strip is also the last personal appearance of Lyman (look at the logo box).
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Irma, the eponymous diner waitress of Irma's Diner. Jon sometimes wanders into this as well, making comments such as "I think my toes are jealous of my fingers because they get to point at things."
  • Clown Car: Jon says his Uncle Clarence was a circus clown who retired last year and "thirty of his buddies came to his retirement party in one car".
  • Clutching Hand Trap:
    • Happened to Garfield with a cookie jar in a 2002 strip, but he subverts it by breaking the cookie jar on Jon's head, instead of just simply letting go of the cookie that he wanted.
    • Jon got both of his hands stuck in pickle jars (as did his date) in another strip.
    • Garfield gets his hand caught in an olive jar in an early strip.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Every time Garfield goes on a diet.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Especially in the earlier years, much of the humor comes from Garfield's abuse of almost everyone he meets, usually just for his own amusement. Jon, Odie, Nermal, spiders, dogs on chains and the mailman are frequent targets. Garfield is on the receiving end sometimes too.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Garfield finally got a comic book in 2012 through BOOM Studio, written by Mark Evanier (who also wrote a lot of Garfield and Friends episodes). One of the covers was drawn by MAD stalwart Al Jaffee!
  • Comic-Book Time: A weird zig-zagging. Garfield's birthday (and occasionally Jon's) is celebrated in every year, and he complains about getting old. However, none of the characters ever age physically.
    • One should also note that after the 25th anniversary, they stopped listing Garfield's age every year. Possibly because of the fact that a real cat typically only lives within half the time that Garfield's been around.
      • This was even lampshaded by Jim Davis with the title of a retrospective that was released at that time: Garfield at 25: In Dog Years, I'd Be Dead.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Jon: This morning I had a bowl of cereal with strawberries. When I turned my back, a mouse ate them. What do you say to that, Garfield?!
    Garfield: We have strawberries?
    Jon: I don't believe it.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Liz, whose job for nearly three decades was to become exasperated by and/or snark at Jon's attempts to woo her.
    • Jon's father, too. He typically was a Grumpy Old Man who was there to complain about the antics of the other characters (though on certain occasions he did get to be silly).
  • Continuity Nod: "Ah-HA! I knew I still had those old rubber arms!"
  • Contrived Coincidence: Jon gets his head caught in a wastebasket and his hands caught in pickle jars right before his date, then worries what to do because his date is coming at any moment. Turns out she had the same thing happen to her.
  • Cool Cat
  • Cool Old Lady: Jon's grandma, who rides a motorcycle, boogies down on the piano, and is just an out-and-out badass grandma. (Ironically, her daughter is much more old-fashioned.)
    • Also Jon's Aunt Gussie, who, among other details, made a living teaching "slam-dancing", commonly referred to today as "moshing". Yes, you read that right.
  • Covered in Kisses: Once on a date, Liz commented that Garfield must've been a cute kitten. Jon replies that he was and whips out his wallet to show her a picture. Liz, at first, appears to be surprised that he keeps a picture of his cat as a kitten in his wallet. When Jon returns home, his face is covered in lipstick as he tells Garfield, "I owe you one."
  • Crazy-Prepared: Whoever put the "Stay Off the Grass" sign Garfield decides to climb also put a "Stay Off the "Stay Off the Grass" sign" sign.
    Garfield: Oh, come on!
  • Creator Cameo: Jim Davis appeared in the title panel for the 10th anniversary strip.
  • Crossover:
    • Marmaduke appeared at the beginning of a sunday Garfield strip. As Garfield realized the fence he was painting his name on was Marmaduke's, he apologized stating "wrong strip".
    • April Fools Day 1997 saw various United Features Syndicate strips crossing over with one another. This strip's contribution saw Jon and Garfield temporarily moving in with Blondie and Dagwood while they wait for the fresh coat of paint on their house to dry up. (That day's Blondie, in turn, saw Garfield stealing one of Dagwood's famous sandwiches.)
    • This strip features U.S. Acres characters, as does this onenote .
    • In one strip, Garfield walks past a mirror, but instead of seeing his reflection, he sees Snoopy. He chalks it up to it being Monday.
  • Crying Wolf:
  • Cue Card: Jon is using cue cards at a restaurant to sound romantic for Liz while Garfield holds them behind her. Not realizing the last card was Garfield telling him what he wants in exchange for it, Jon says "and I want a big, fat doggie bag for this".
  • Cue the Flying Pigs:
    • Consciously averted by Garfield: "Don't get me wrong, I love dogs. I'd never hurt a dog. And if I'm lying, may lightning... *pause* ... strike the dog next door." (Crack) "Yip!"
    • Jon made a drawing of a pig. Garfield made a better drawing, although his had wings. When Jon complained that pigs didn't have wings, Garfield said they would before Jon outdrew him. Also counts as a Shout-Out as that strip ended with Garfield calling Jon "Pablo".
  • Cue the Rain: Common, especially when the gang goes camping. In a Sunday strip:
    (Jon has just finished mowing the lawn)
    Jon: Finally! All done!
    (It immediately starts raining. It then stops, and the grass automatically regrows)
    Jon: That's just not fair!
    Garfield: Suck it up, mow boy.
  • Cultural Translation: In the Spanish version of the strip, "fudge" is usually translated to "chocolate".
  • Cut-and-Paste Comic: It's not, but the remarkably regular art style gives this impression.
    • The strip began using digital artwork in November 2011, and thus artwork is often reused and modified, pushing it into this trope.
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest:
    • One logo box pictures Jon holding a single slice of pizza, and Garfield holding the entire rest of the unsliced pizza over his mouth.
    • A variant, one comic depicts Garfield trying to decide whether to leave one scoop of ice cream or two while he eats the rest.
  • Cute Kitten: Nermal, the world's cutest kitten. (Often qualifies as Cute Is Evil, as he can often be very mean to Garfeld. Also, in one strip it is revealed that Nermal is using coffee and cigarettes to purposely stunt his growth, and claimed to be a midget in another.)
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: One of Jim Davis's favorite gags.

     D - F 

     G - I 
  • G-Rated Drug: Garfield, like a lot of Real Life cats, tends to react this way to catnip.
  • Garden-Hose Squirt Surprise: Happens to Odie.
  • The Ghost:
    • Ellen, until she finally appeared onscreen. And had amnesia.
    • Jon's neighbour Mrs. Feeny and her dog. All that's known is that they really hate Garfield for horrendous things (e.g. Garfield had shaved her dog bald, painted him green, stole his bell collar, duct taped him to the ceiling; for Mrs. Feeny, Garfield gave her laxative-laced bran muffins, sent her a hairball package for Christmas, destroyed her garden, and even abducted 15 howler monkeys from the zoo then dumped them all into her house....yeah, we don't know how Garfield did it either). Since Mrs. Feeny can never get back at Garfield, she beats up Jon instead.

     J - M 

     N & O 

     P - R 



     U - W 

     X - Z 


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