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Comic Strip / Gnorm Gnat

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A typical example of the strip's Self-Deprecating Humor.

A short-lived comic strip created by Jim Davis, later of Garfield fame. Running from 1973 to 1975 in the Pendleton, Indiana Times, the strip featured the comedic misadventures of a group of bugs.

While Davis had attempted for many years to syndicate Gnorm Gnat, he met rejection from publishers who felt that a strip with insect characters was unmarketable. Gnorm Gnat ceased on Christmas Day 1975, with a final strip in which Gnorm wishes the city of Pendleton a Merry Christmas. Davis then went on to start Jon, a predecessor of Garfield.

Despite its obscurity, Gnorm Gnat has been subject of a number of references by Davis in the intervening years, most of them negative. The strip has also proven extremely hard to find, with fewer than three strips having been known to exist prior to July 2019.

Tropes present:

  • Art Evolution: Gnorm becomes uglier and more hairy in the later strips.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the back of Garfield Takes His Licks, Davis created a fictional Top Ten List of strips that he had tried before Garfield. #2 was Gnorm Gnat, listed behind only Garfield the Toaster.
    • In an anthology, Davis noted of the June 5, 1997 strip of Garfield, which featured just a spider and a fly, that "after 30 years I finally got a bug strip published."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gnorm frequently cracks wise about the antics of his friends.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Rosenwurm has a design reminiscent of Albert Einstein.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's suggested that Drac Webb eats other characters.
  • Mr. Imagination: Gnorm is described as having Walter Mitty tendencies. Davis would later use the same comparison to describe Orson of U.S. Acres.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Gnorm attempts suicide in a few of the resurfaced strips, and it's Played for Laughs. He doesn't succeed, however.
  • What's a Henway?:
    Gnorm: I have resolved to never again set you up for anymore of your rotten puns.
    Lyman: I made a resolution too. I have resolved to paint my car green and snu.
    Gnorm: What's snu? (Aside Glance) ...I think I just gone an' done it again.