Monthly Archives: May 2010

DC’s Vertigo Imprint

Note: Steve Bissette and I are teaching a course in contemporary comics history (Survey of the Drawn Story II, as it’s properly known).  Our students are required to submit an essay, in blog form, on an aspect of contemporary comics history.  They are restricted to the period of 1969 – present.

Today’s essay is by Carl Mefferd.  Enjoy!

 – Robyn Chapman

DC’s Vertigo Imprint

or

How Mature Comics Kicked my Ass

by Carl Mefferd

The early ’90s comics market was ripe for mature stories.  Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns made their impact in the ’80s and in time their darker, anti-hero mood permeated the industry.  It was onto this stage in 1993 that DC editor Karen Berger spearheaded a new imprint out of the ashes of Disney’s failed Touchmark Comics.   Berger had already head-hunted the bulk of UK talent that made up the British Invasion.  It was these individuals that formed the core writers for Vertigo: Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Peter Milligan, Neil Gaiman and Garth Ennis.  Vertigo’s first launch boasted such titles as: Swampthing, Hellblazer, Sandman and Shade the Changing Man.  But in the following years many popular titles that fit the imprint’s tone and quality were brought on board.  Vertigo continues to this day; publishing such acclaimed titles as: Y the Last Man, Fables and DMZ to name a few. 

But you can look all that up on Wikipedia.  What I really want to share is the experience of being a teenager introduced to Vertigo comics for the first time, and how they knocked my socks off.

I’m embarrassed to say I read Spawn as a kid.  I saw other kids reading it so in perfect teenager tradition I followed the crowd.  I thought it was ok, but never anything incredible.  As I got older I started to feel like Image comics and the whole “grim and gritty” scene was shallow and overly commercial, like those market-driven re-brandings that try to make everything extreme and follow what the young people like.  


I discovered Vertigo Comics through Moore’s work but really got into it via Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles and Garth Ennis’ Preacher.  Something about the tone and content was perfect for a disillusioned, moody teenager.  It had a bit more intelligence than the angsty, macho fluff that Image produced, but still enough sex, drugs and violence to keep me hooked.  Vertigo was to Image what HBO is to Michael Bay; still entertaining but with more substance. 


But there was more to it than sheer titillation.  Reading these books opened a window to an adult world I had yet to experience but was on the cusp of; full of real danger, despair and passion.  They were often counterculture, attacking mainstream society, the government and organized religion, which was music to the ears of a young cynic like myself.  In addition to being against the same things I was, these titles pushed for revolution, radical new ideas, and reflection.  The heroes weren’t just strongmen but rather thoughtful individuals with their own beliefs often running contrary to the mainstream.  

Ultimately Vertigo comics helped me fall in love with the genre and find my way to other more wholesome but still artistically beautiful titles.  It also made me realize that adult content can be gratuitous but it can also help to tell more mature stories that would lose their impact if they avoided the inappropriate.

It seems that every generation of comic readers and consumers has particular scene that leaves its mark on their young, impressionable minds and opens the doors to what comics are capable of.  One of the earliest examples was the horror comics of 50’s that veterans of the industry still talk about.  Later it was the underground comix of the 60’s and 70’s; and in the case of me and other peers it was Vertigo comics in the 90’s.  Though it has changed over time, the innocent image of comics often constricts the type of stories we think we can use it for.  It’s not until someone defies the censors and makes full use of the word “graphic” in graphic novel do we realize there isn’t any story comics can’t tell.  

– Carl Mefferd

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Congrats, Class of 2010!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Center for Cartoon Studies class of 2010.

Root hog, or die!

See more photos on our flickr page.

Nippon Fanifesto! A Tribute to DIY Manga

Note: Steve Bissette and I are teaching a course in contemporary comics history (Survey of the Drawn Story II, as it’s properly known).  Our students are required to submit an essay, in blog form, on an aspect of contemporary comics history.  They are restricted to the period of 1969 – present.

Today’s essay is by Betsey Swardlick.  Enjoy!

 – Robyn Chapman

By Betsey Swardlick

I lived in Japan for three years…

…and while I learned to speak the language well enough to have some truly amazing conversations—

–I never really got good at that whole READING thing.

This may be why I love manga so much.

Today I’d like to talk about a particular subset of manga that is near and dear to my heart.

JAPANESE FAN COMICS

Generally, the term refers to self-published minicomics, often by amateur artists, featuring characters from commercially published manga, anime, or other media.

I got turned on to doujinshi by a group of my classmates who decided that I needed to know what it took to be a real manga fangirl.

(Thanks forever, guys!)

They cut Saturday class one weekend and took me with them to

“Comic Market” is a gigantic comic convention, usually in Tokyo, occasionally in Fukuoka, solely for doujinshi artists! It is HUGE. The year I went, it was being held in Fukuoka Dome, which is a stadium. It is a major event.

Doujinshi artists and writers tend to form groups called “Circles,” publishing and distributing their work under the Circle’s name rather than their own. Though most doujinshi artists aren’t professional manga-ka, an astonishing amount of effort and skill goes into the production. This is no Xerox operation. Check out the craftsmanship on these babies:

One of my Comiket purchases, a four-circle collaboration.

Just like minicomics as we know them in the states, doujinshi are extremely varied in style and content. Some are straight up “continued adventures” types.

 Some are more whimsical, composed of gags and parodies.

There are also a whole lot of  the “HEY DON’T YOU THINK CHARACTER X AND CHARACTER Y FROM ANIME Z SHOULD KISS/HOOK UP/FALL IN LOVE? SO DO I!” variety.

During my second stint in Japan, I stumbled upon a real treasure trove in Fukuoka City. A small comic shop on a hidden back street devoted entirely to doujinshi.

You can buy doujinshi at some big comic/toy/hobby shops like Mandarake,

….but it’s kind of a meat market. You have to do a lot of elbowing to get near the good stuff.

What surprised me the most, browsing through Rose House, was the amount of doujinshi about relatively obscure American properties. I mean sure, Harry Potter and Star Wars are international superhits, and some things are just inevitable…

 but Homicide: Life On The Streets?

That didn’t even air in Japan! Master and Commander? Boondock Saints?!  I even found one about

There are even instances of professional manga-ka making doujinshi of their own work.

Yoshinaga Fumi, creator of the incredibly popular manga “Antique Bakery,” self-published the series’ sequel in doujinshi format. Perhaps to reach a more specialized audience?

And speaking of suing people—HOW THE HECK IS ANY OF THIS LEGAL? These are fan-made comics featuring largely corporate-owned characters, being sold, for money, in retail stores! Surely, says my American brain, someone must object to this.

It’s hard to get a sense of how Japanese copyright law works (especially when you’re illiterate) but it seems as though doujinshi, while perhaps technically illegal, are largely tolerated. This to me is illustrative of Japan’s superior understanding of fans and the value of fan culture.

I feel like Japan understands that in order to ensure the success of an entertainment property, you must create mania… obsession. And in order to create obsession, you have to allow the fans to feel as though the property is theirs somehow. It belongs to them, the true believers. This is where fanworks come in. They are the ultimate expression of love and ownership from fans. Manifestations of pure devotion. This is an area in which I feel we in the States fall short.

PROJECTED NATIONAL REACTIONS TO THE EXISTENCE OF FAN COMICS

….or something like that.

IN CONCLUSION:

I feel that fanworks are constructive, not destructive, and I admire the place they hold in Japanese culture.  Doujinshi represent a genuine enjoyment of media and the creative energy produced by active participation in fandom.  The vitality of Japan’s fan culture can be clearly seen in the quality and quantity of its doujinshi.

– Betsey Swardlick

Junji Ito and Uzumaki: The Strange Horror of Life

Note: Steve Bissette and I are teaching a course in contemporary comics history (Survey of the Drawn Story II, as it’s properly known).  Our students are required to submit an essay, in blog form, on an aspect of contemporary comics history.  They are restricted to the period of 1969 – present.

Today’s essay is by CJ Joughin.  Enjoy!

Junji Ito (伊藤潤二) and Uzumaki: The Strange Horror of Life

by CJ Joughin
 

Born in Gifu prefecture, growing up Junji Ito was inspired by the works of Kazuo Umezu, artist of such notable works as the Shogakukan Manga Award-winning The Drifting Classroom. Ito later became a dental technician and balanced work with comics, even as his comic work was beginning to gain strong notice, earning him an Umezu Award for horror manga. His works range from terrifying shorts such as The Enigma of Amigara Fault, to bizarre and horrific longer works such as Gyo. He has also had success in having several of his stories made into TV shows and movies.


During the time that I lived in Japan, just over a year in a relatively small suburban port town across the bay of Nagasaki, I lived in an area fairly reminiscent of the setting of Ito’s story Uzumaki. I have found that there are few manga that capture atmosphere of living particularly in the more rural parts of Japan as well as Junji Ito’s three-volume masterpiece. Details like air raid sirens blaring at 5:00 every day to the layout of the towns and buildings are done with such an honest authenticity that it allows for anyone that’s ever lived in just about any part of Japan to connect with this town, while allowing someone unfamiliar with this kind of way of life to have real insight.

What is so powerful about Ito’s horror is the subtle details and emotional pull his stories have over the reader. His world is fleshed out both in his artwork, where he uses line in great clustered detail to lead a reader through each page and panel in an almost dizzying but absolutely purposeful manner. His facial expressions are intense and whether portraying madness or a subtle sense of dread, his characters feel believable. He is able to make even the typical, calm moments in his stories feel unnerving. While Uzumaki used spirals to great effect to dictate the flow of the narrative, his other works such as Gyo also played heavily with motion to build a feeling of loss of control.


Image from the story Glyceride

The protagonists of Uzumaki, Kirie and Shuichi, are portrayed as fairly typical high school students with a normal relationship. They are thrust into a terrifying situation when the entire village is overcome with an unnatural obsession with the geometric form of the spiral.  It appears in everything, from the lines on a plate to the ripples in a pond or the coil of a snail’s shell. While the “spiral sickness” that infects the town is supernatural in nature, the real sickness is the trap that comes from not being able to escape this small town. Shuichi, being the one that commutes to go to school, is the one that’s able to sense the contamination while everyone around him is so accustomed to the way things are that they can’t see beyond their universe.


Image from Uzumaki vol. 1

 One of the most powerful themes throughout Uzumaki is the utter devotion the people in the town have towards each and to the town itself. The near insane dedication to stick by one’s friends and family even, as in many cases, they become literally twisted together or contorted as the spiral builds up through the story. It’s this personal sense of obligation combined with the spirals disorienting and terrifying supernatural control over the town that compels the reader forward and creates sympathy for the doomed residents of the town. You wish that Shuichi and Kirie would run from the impending doom, but you understand what keeps them there. Kirie’s devotion to her younger brother is particularly well-developed and heartbreaking as the story nears its conclusion.

Image from Uzumaki vol. 3

Ito’s protagonists are often very sympathetic characters, never lacking in depth. In Uzumaki, as well as in Gyo and Hellstar Remina, there is the knowledge very early on that, in all likelihood, a positive outcome is impossible.  But there is still a sense of desperate hope as well. This is what makes Ito not just a master of horror comics, but a master storyteller as well.  I would suggest that even someone who usually finds themselves squeamish at the idea of scary comics could find something amazing in his work.

– CJ Joughin

Cool Comics of the 1990s

Note: Steve Bissette and I are teaching a course in contemporary comics history (Survey of the Drawn Story II, as it’s properly known).  Our students are required to submit an essay, in blog form, on an aspect of contemporary comics history.  They are restricted to the period of 1969 – present.

Today’s essay is by Lawrence Derks.  Enjoy!

  Cool Comics of the 1990s

by Lawrence Derks

  The 1990s were a great time for comics. No, seriously. Normally when people discuss comics in the 90s, they talk about holographic-foil-variant covers, costumes with lots of pouches, and, of course, the comics crash. While it is not the intent of this blog to ignore these events, I find it absolutely criminal that an entire decade of comics is known more for its financial failures than its creative successes. And there were a lot of creative successes in the 1990s. So to rectify this, I will use this space to highlight a couple great comics whose only mistake was being produced in the same decade as “extreme” superheroes.

    In 1992, seven of the industries most popular artists left top-selling comics like Spider-man, X-Men, and X-Force to form their own publisher, Image Comics. It was supposed to be the place to find superheroes for the 90s’ generation aka EXTREME! However, it was also a place where creators would actually own the rights to their own work. And while a lot of those original Image comics did not age well, one work really stands out as a great read: Sam Kieth’s The Maxx.

 
    At first glance, The Maxx looks like the quintessential 90s superhero comic: bulging muscles, scantily-dressed women, and graphic violence. Unlike the standard 90s superhero, though, The Maxx had more to it than flashy visuals; it had a story. The basic premise of the series is Julie Winters, a freelance social worker, helps out the Maxx, a homeless man dressed as a superhero. The comic shifts between two worlds, the real one and “The Outback.” As the comic progresses, Julie Winters and the Maxx learn they are connected through a tragedy that happened in Julie’s past which she refuses to acknowledge. It also becomes clear that The Maxx is not a story about a superhero at all, but a tale about trauma and suppression.

    Also, while the design of the Maxx looks like the standard 90s superhero, there is nothing standard about the artwork. Sam Kieth uses a couple of different techniques in The Maxx. For the “real” world, he draws with very bold lines and it’s colored in a very traditional style. However, when the story shifts to the “dream” world or “The Outback,” Kieth shifts to pages painted with an almost Frank Frazetta-like feel. Which is fitting since Kieth draws a tiger-bikini jungle girl in “The Outback” scenes. 

    Another great comic, created in 1994, was Rob Schrab’s Scud: The Disposable Assassin for Fireman Press. The title tells the basic premise, however there was a lot more to the comic than a funny concept. In the first issue, Scud is hired to kill “Jeff” a creepy tentacled monster. However, as he’s about to kill Jeff off for good, Scud learns he’ll self-destruct upon completion of his mission. So instead of killing Jeff, he takes “her” to the hospital and hooks her up life-support. The subsequent issues are about Scud taking on other assassin jobs just to make enough money to pay for Jeff’s life-support (which is also his life-support).

    While the comic is funny and great entertainment, Rob Schrab also puts a lot of himself into the book. Scud eventually finds love, which starts to mimic’s Schrab’s own feelings. The comic eventually became much darker, which Schrab attributes to a break-up and various real world problems. Scud: The Disposable Assassin is a great example of comics as therapy and it’s done in a much more creative way than a typical auto-bio comic. It documents the ups-and-downs of his life and relationships without explicitly being out his feelings.

    I highly recommend both The Maxx and Scud: The Disposable Assassin, which are both available in a convenient collected form. There are many more great comics created in the 90s and I encourage Schulz blog readers to post their own favorite 90s comics in the comments section below. Maybe together we can change the way people think about the 90s and show that comics then were more than just flashy gimmicks.

– Lawrence Derks

“At Last You May Gaze!” – The Complete Milt Gross

“Milt Gross’ loosey-goosey style followed the three Rs: Rebellion, Raucousness, and slightly Ribald on a few occasions…”

– Craig Yoe, “Laughs by the Gross!” (from the book reviewed herein, pg. 17)

__

One-man comics tome cottage industry Craig Yoe (of Arf! fame, who launched his career in the 1970s editing/self-publishing fanzines, one of which I contributed art to) has gifted cartoonists, comics lovers and anyone who loves to laugh with the incredible The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story (2010, IDW Publishing). In an era of abundant comicbook and comic strip reprint volumes, this handsome hardcover is worthy of special attention and celebration, offering a eye-popping treasury of high-octane hilarity from the one and only Milt Gross.

Milt Gross (1895 – 1953) was a cartoonist’s cartoonist in his day, a dynamo of frenetic energy whose every line was alive and in-and-of-itself funny. His work was omnipresent and everywhere from the Roarin’ Twenties on, as were the many loopy non-sequiters he introduced into our culture via his comics: “Banana Oil!” (or, as a mouse razzes it in Nize Baby, “Benena Hoil!!”), “That’s My Pop!” “Dunt Esk!” and “Nize Baby” (among countless other catchphrases) were all coined by Gross, fêted throughout his lifetime as one of America’s most beloved (and prolific) cartoonists. In his heyday, Gross seemed to do it all — single-panel gag comics, comic strips, comic books, pioneer wordless graphic novels (He Done Her Wrong, 1930, a savage parody of Lynd Ward’s sober ‘wordless woodcut novels’), movie title card art, gag writing, animation, advertising, etc. — providing inspiration for generations of cartoonists who followed, including Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, Jules Feiffer, Sergio Aragones, Sam Henderson, and countless others.

The Schulz Library shelves are already peppered with venerable Gross classics, all of which are highly recommended. The titles alone lift the soul: Nize Baby, Deark Dollink, Dunt Esk!!, Banana Oil, De Night in de Front from Christmas, I Shoulda Ate the Eclair, etc.

My personal all-time favorite remains Hiawatta Witt No Odder Poems, reprinted complete in Thomas Craven’s marvelous book Cartoon Calvalcade (1944), which was inexplicably on my mother’s bookshelves and always in reach. I used to read Hiawatta aloud at a tender age. I had to read it aloud to divine its meaning — it was scribed in Gross’s patented phonetically-rendered urban Jewish near-gibberish (well, to me it was almost gibberish), completely disemboweling Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1855 epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, a model of trochaic tetrameter. Gross’s exquisite pen-and-ink illustrations reduced me to tears laughing, and they kept tempting me back into my rereading Hiawatta until I’d finally decoded it, which took years (hey, whatdyawant? I was a backwoods kid). I’d practically memorized it by the age of six — which is more than I can say for the original Longfellow poem.

I thus inadvertantly divined my first mega-dose of Jewish humor in a surprisingly unadulterated form, though I was a Duxbury, VT lad growing up far, far from the Bronx neighborhoods Gross grew up in (Hiawatta also prepared me for Mad and Harvey Kurtzman’s brand of cartooning and satire, which I was exposed to soon after first laying eyes on Hiawatta in Craven’s book).

With The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story, editor/author Yoe offers an ideal intro to Gross’s life, times and career. Though the Al Jaffee introduction and Herb Gross (son of Milt, natch) foreword are models of economy, Yoe’s lavishly illustrated biographical essay is almost worth the price of admission in and of itself. Punctuated with many never-before-published Gross cartoons and comics pages, Yoe’s overview provides a snapshot of the cartoonist and his personal life. The whole is rich in anecdotes and candid about the health issues that plagued Gross in his latter days without succumbing to morbidity; the reader’s spirits remain as spry and high as Gross’s gags throughout.

What Craig Yoe showcases herein is not just a stellar, comprehensive introduction to Gross’s best-known works, but a sterling and truly all-inclusive showcase for the complete uber-rare ACG (American Comics Group) comicbook series Milt Gross Funnies (1947), which only ran two issues.

It’s an unusual chapter in Gross’s career and in comics history, and in its way a Holy Grail of sorts for Gross aficionados. As Yoe notes, “there were no other comics named after their creator, unless you count Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, which didn’t have one line drawn by Disney in them.”

The particulars of the deal between Gross and ACG has always been tough to define. ACG expert Michael Vance once wrote, “These books were printed in Canada by Milt Gross Publications (both deviations from standard ACG procedures) and may have been only produced and distributed by the [Benjamin W.] Sangor Shop. Whether this title should be listed as an ACG book remains unresolved… Gross’s final work in comics would appear for several years in random ACG titles, including Giggle and Moon Mullins…” (Vance, Forbidden Adventures: The History of the American Comics Group, Greenwood Press, 1996, pg. 30).

How Milt Gross Funnies emerged from the usually staid ACG lineup remains a bit of a mystery. Yoe goes further in his own research, connecting and contextualizing Milt Gross Funnies with the various ACG humor titles packaged under the guidance of vet animator Jim Davis (of Fox and Crow comics fame, not the Garfield creator of today) and offering insights from ACG business manager Frederick Iger from Yoe’s own interviews with the industry vet. Iger recalls Gross working from his hospital bed at times during his brief fling with ACG and Milt Gross Funnies, which makes the unflagging vim and vigor of the work bubbling off these pages even more remarkable.

Yoe also publishes (for the first time anywhere) Gross’s cover for the planned third issue, along with a plethora of four-color stories, gags and comic pages from Giggle Comics, The Kilroys, Moon Mullins (all 1948), and more — all in all, over 300 full-color pages of antic Gross comics, long unseen and unread save by the lucky collectors of such vintage rarities.

Despite the familiarity of the silly Gross slapschtick for seasoned devotees, it’s a hoot to drink it all in illuminated with color (all my childhood Gross exposures were black-and-white only), and the procession of beloved characters and tropes — from “That’s My Pop!” to Count Screwloose and more — only fuels the fun.

Whether you’re a geezer like me tapping old veins or a neophyte new to Gross, these pages are percolating with pleasures few 21st Century comics even approach. Give it a gander — or, as Gross himself would have put it, “At Last You May Gaze!”


– Stephen R. Bissette, CCS Faculty since 2005; 

May 4, 2009, Mountains of Madness, VT

Garfield and Fans

Note: Steve Bissette and I are teaching a course in contemporary comics history (Survey of the Drawn Story II, as it’s properly known).  Our students are required to submit an essay, in blog form, on an aspect of contemporary comics history.  They are restricted to the period of 1969 – present.

Today’s essay is by Jesse DuRona.  Enjoy!

Garfield and Fans

By Jesse DuRona

In 1978, a little comic strip appeared that changed the world.  It is about a fat, lazy, irritable orange feline who loves lasagna and pestering his loyal canine companion.  This comic strip, of course, is Garfield.

Garfield is written and illustrated by Jim Davis, who originally created him to be marketable.  His original strip, Gnorm Gnat, was published in Indiana in the 1970s.

Davis had originally wanted to syndicate Gnorm Gnat, but was told that bugs are not funny (which can be contested, given the success of Gary Larson’s The Far Side).  Never the less, Davis killed off Gnorm Gnat (literally, via a stomping foot) and gave life to Garfield.  Davis’ ploy to create a more popular character paid off in full, as it lead him to create one of the most popular comic strip characters in American culture.  Garfield has gained wild commercial success, responsible for everything from mugs to dolls that sick onto car windows.

The 80s and 90s were when Garfield enjoyed most of its popularity.  Most notable are the Emmy award-winning television specials, such as Here Comes Garfield, Garfield in Paradise, and A Garfield Christmas Special.  Following the success of these shorts came Garfield and Friends, which ran from 1988 to 1994.

Garfield’s popularity can also be measured by how often it is parodied.  Most notable is Garfield Minus Garfield, a strip created in 2008 by Dan Walsh.  This strip takes the series in dark and ironically hilarious turn.  Walsh’s comics are reprints of past and present Garfield strips with Garfield himself removed from the strip using digital manipulation.  The result is an entirely new take on the now solitary Jon Arbuckle.

Poor Jon.  Without his faithful feline companion, he is reduced to a schizophrenic manic-depressive, albeit a hilarious one.  Jim Davis himself has praised the comic, and even sanctioned its publication.  The book shows both the original and altered comics side by side.

There are many other parodies of Garfield that can be found on the web.  One such parody is Lasagna Cat, which takes older strips and makes live-action videos out of them.  While funny, they take a negative view of Jim Davis himself, insinuating that he has no talent.

One of the more interesting takes on Garfield was done by Jim Davis himself.  In October of 1989, Davis wrote a 6-strip story arch in which Garfield discovers that Jon and Odie are missing, and their house has been abandoned. 

With no friends left, Garfield has to come to terms with his greatest fear: loneliness.  Some have speculated that, in this strip, Garfield has died and his ghost was wandering the house.  Davis himself has said this is not the case, and that he simply wanted to do something legitimately scary for Halloween.  It is certainly a more disturbing Halloween tale than even the 1985 television special Garfield in Disguise, which was also scary, but targeted to a younger audience. 

Garfield, while it is an astounding commercial success, is not often given the credit it deserves.  It has lost a lot of its popularity over the years, and attempts to revitalize the franchise have gone largely unnoticed.  In 2004, the first full length Garfield movie was released, though it was met with critical disdain.  It was followed by a sequel, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, in 2006.  Even Bill Murray’s excellent voice acting could not save these films from their negative reviews.  The Garfield Show, a CGI rendered series in 2008, has not helped matters either.  The series lacks that organic feel that Davis’ art brings to the characters, and many of the episodes are based off those from the wildly popular original series.

As for the strip itself, which is still the most relevant thing about Garfiled, it remains the most popular syndicated comic strip in the world.  It has over 260 million readers worldwide.  Jim Davis, now in his 60s, still does all the composition himself, though he does have a staff of over 50 people to help with the heavy lifting, such as the TV show.

On a personal note, I am a huge fan of Garfield.  I grew up on the series, and it is one of the things that inspired me to pursue cartooning as a profession.  Garfield, despite being rough around the edges, is a very honest and likable character.  We can relate to him, and we admire him because he is true to his nature and is unapologetic about it.  In some ways we wish we could be like him, carefree and happy.  It is because of this that Garfield will continue to be successful for many years to come.

– Jesse DuRona