- 26 Jun, 23
Jim Davis 101: Famous Comic Strip Creator
In our article titled “Who is Jim Davis 101: Famous Comic Strip Creator”, we will delve into everything you need to know about the renowned comic strip creator, Jim Davis, that our readers at Zatrun.com may be curious about.
Table of Contents
Who is Jim Davis?
James Robert Davis, born on July 28th, 1945, is an American cartoonist, television writer, television producer, screenwriter, and film producer. He is best known as the creator of the Garfield and U.S. Acres comic strips. Garfield, first published in 1978, is one of the most widely syndicated comic strips in the world. Davis’ other comic strip works include Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat, and Mr. Potato Head.
Jim Davis wrote and became a contributing writer for all of the Garfield TV specials for CBS. The specials aired between 1982 and 1991. He also produced the Garfield and Friends series which aired on CBS from 1988 to 1994. Jim Davis was the writer and executive producer for the CGI direct-to-video feature film series based on Garfield, as well as serving as executive producer for the CGI animated TV series The Garfield Show and Garfield Originals.
Early Life and Personal Life:
James Davis was born on July 28, 1945, in Marion, Indiana. He grew up on a small Black Angus cattle farm in Fairmount, Indiana with his father James William “Jim” Davis, mother Anna Catherine “Betty” Davis (nee Carter), and brother Dave Davis. Davis’ childhood on the farm parallels the life of Jon Arbuckle, the owner of Garfield. Jon also grew up on a farm with his family and lived with his mother, father, and brother Doc Boy. Jon is a cartoonist and celebrates his birthday on July 28th. Davis attended Ball State University, where he studied art and business. While at Ball State, he became a member of the Theta Xi fraternity.
In 1959, while attending Fairmount High School, Davis joined the staff of the school newspaper, The Breeze, and eventually became the Art Editor. His first comic strip appeared here and appears to have been inspired by his school life. Davis also drew most of the illustrations for the 1963 yearbook and reused the same characters. Davis has been married twice, his first marriage was to Carolyn Altekruse, who had dogs named Molly, despite Davis being allergic to cats. They have a son together. On July 16, 2000, Davis married Jill, with whom he had two children from a previous marriage.
In the fall of 2006, Davis joined Ball State University’s Muncie campus as a low-level instructor and taught classes on the creative and business aspects of the comic book industry. Jim Davis lives in Albany, Indiana under his company, Paws, Inc., which he founded in 1981, and produces Garfield with his staff. Paws, Inc. employs approximately 50 artists and licensing managers and manages Garfield’s vast licensing, publishing, and entertainment empire with agents worldwide. Jim Davis is a former president of the Fairmount, Indiana FFA chapter.
In December 2019, Davis announced that he would hold weekly auctions for all hand-painted Garfield comic strips made from 1978 to 2011. Davis announced that he began drawing the comics digitally using a graphics tablet in 2011.
Before creating Garfield, Jim Davis worked at an advertising agency and began helping Tom Ryan with his Tumbleweeds comic strip in 1969. He later created a comic strip called Gnorm Gnat, which was published in The Pendleton Times newspaper in Pendleton, Indiana for two years (1973-1975). When Davis tried to sell it to a national comic strip syndicate, an editor said, “Your art is good, your jokes are great, but no one can relate to bugs!” Despite his strong belief that animals were funny, he began reviewing comic strips.
He noticed that in Peanuts comic strips, Snoopy wasn’t just a one-trick pony, but rather a marketing success that was more popular than his owner Charlie Brown. Deciding that the comic book market was oversaturated with dogs, he decided to create a cat character as the lead character in his next comic strip. Davis published a comic strip called Jon in The Pendleton Times from 1976 to the early 1978, which later became Garfield and was first published in 41 newspapers on June 19, 1978. As of 2008, Garfield, which is published in 2,580 newspapers, is read by approximately 300 million readers daily.
In the 1980s, Davis created the slapstick comic strip U.S. Acres, which took place in a barn. The comic strip was known as Orson’s Farm outside of the United States. Davis also created a comic strip based on Mr. Potato Head toys in 2000-03 with Brett Koth. Davis founded the Professor Garfield Foundation to support children’s literacy. His influences include Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts, Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon, and Johnny Hart’s B.C. comic strips. In 2019, Davis sold Paws, Inc. to ViacomCBS, a major media conglomerate.