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Comic Strip / Jon

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Jon is an obscure comic strip by Jim Davis made for an local Indiana weekly newspaper named Pendleton Times between 1976 and 1978, between Gnorm Gnat and Garfield, being a prototypical version of the latter.

In a set-up that sounds very familiar in hindsight, the comic is about a cartoonist named Jon Arbuckle and his Fat Cat Garfield, who are occasionally joined by Jon's friend Lyman and his dog, Odi— sorry, "Spot". Its humor and jokes are near identical to Garfield's, down to the lasagna jokes, but the art-style is different. Many of the strips were even later redone in Garfield. Also notable for the comic, is that, due to the fact it was focused on Jon, there are several strips where the famous cat is entirely absent. However, the strip shifted focus from Jon to Garfield mostly due to pressure from comic syndicators to rework his cat as the star as they felt the cat had better lines than his human.


While it was published, Davis attempted to sell the strip to the syndicates, being eventually retooled into its current Garfield form and picked up nationally by United Feature Syndicate.

Not to be confused with the Garfield fan-comic Jon by Gale Gilligan.

You can view the surviving strips on the Garfield Wiki starting here.

Jon provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution:
    • Unlike his original design, March 1978 strips depict Garfield with thick tabby stripes.
    • Jon's design also starts out being quite a bit different, although he began to approach the look he would have in the Garfield strip proper by the end of the strip's run.
  • Ascended Extra: Garfield was a minor player in early strips, although his role would be greatly expanded by 1977, the strip being renamed late that year.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
    • Garfield's cheeks are much bigger than normal. He's also a solid, instead of a tabby, except for his striped tail. Starting in summer 1977, Garfield's fluffy jowls were smoothed out.
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    • Spot's first design resembled a chihuahua, although at one point it abruptly changed to Odie's first design.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The comic isn't based around Garfield, so some strips focus on Jon and his life without any appearances or even references to Garfield.
    • Odie is named "Spot". This explains the joke in Garfield when Garfield snarks "They should have named him 'Spot'" (referencing Odie's Potty Failure), which was "So that's why they call him 'Spot'".
    • The doctor is a goofy Herr Doktor type named Dr. Gustav Stitch, and he doesn't check up on Garfield but on Jon.
    • In one comic, Garfield threatens to punch Spot for no reason than just because he doesn't like him. This would be abnormally violent for Garfield.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: The June 17, 1976 strip saw Garfield answering a letter, and other strips may have had this as well.
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  • Shout-Out: One strip has Garfield thinking about the movie Rocky. Then, some fleas make him pose like a boxer.
  • This Is My Human: In the first strip, Garfield describes Jon as "my cartoonist".
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Garfield loves lasagna.


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