Garfield (Comic Strip)/Characters

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The main characters in Garfield are:


176px-Garfield the Cat svg 8434.png

The strip's title character. Most of the time, he's a fat, lazy, cynical cat, with Jon being the main victim of his constant sarcasm. Many of the strip's gags revolve around his constant eating and/or sleeping, as well as offering plenty of sarcasm towards Jon and abuse towards Odie.

Garfield: Remember kids, crime does not pay!
(Garfield steals Jon's doughnut)
Garfield: Although it can be pretty tasty.

Jon: Life's not fair, Garfield.
Garfield: Let's be realistic. Remember, you can't always get everything you want. You can't. I can.

  • Carnivore Confusion: Garfield has eaten sentient birds, fish and flowers, and has been known to kill talking spiders.
  • Cats Are Mean
  • Cats Are Snarkers
  • Cats Are Superior: And try telling him otherwise.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: The first time Garfield moved around on only two legs, Jon pointed out that cats couldn't do that, invoking this trope, in a way. Doesn't stop him from making bipedalism his preferred mode of travel in the new strips, though.
    • In one strip [dead link], Jon asks Garfield which way he puts his feet down when he walks. Garfield is then paralyzed, saying, "I'll never walk again."
  • Child-Hater: Though he has a good reason for it [dead link]
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the time.
  • Does Not Like Spam: His least favorite foods are raisins and spinach.
    • He also doesn't like mice, and makes friends with them occasionally. Other standard cat prey such as birds and fish aren't so lucky.
  • The Drag Along: At times.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As a cat, he's known to chase birds, which it's common. However, he won't go after those who are "part of the family". He was upset with Jon's family for turning Jon's pet chicken into soup.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Despite his general cynical attitude, Garfield loves his mother very much. He also loves Jon's mother quite a bit too, due in no small part to the amount of food she makes at family gatherings.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Occasionally. Non-food things he has eaten include his own food dish (accidentally while shoveling down his food super-fast), the TV remote (to prevent Jon from taking it), Jon's wallet ("Genuine cowhide."), and an unknown object Jon was carrying on a plate ("I hope that was food!")
  • Fat Bastard
  • Fat and Proud
  • Fat Cat
  • Flanderization: A strange inversion. Garfield started out very lazy and sarcastic, but de-Flanderized into a more playful attitude by the late eighties. Over time, he's gradually shifted back into his more cynical self.
  • Furry Denial: He constantly forgets that he's a cat. One time, he forgot to such an extent that he shaved.
  • Furry Reminder: On the other hand, he often does feline things, like licking himself, eating birds, playing with balls of yarn, etc.
  • Gasshole: Pure belch variant.
  • Gigantic Gulp: Mostly with coffee.
  • Heavy Sleeper: He's timed himself to see just how long he can sleep.
    • In one strip, this gets exaggerated; he wakes up and looks out the window to see a Jetsons-esque future, to which he says that his nap was a little long.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Occurs in a week from 1998 where he starts "freestyle hiccuping".
  • Jerkass
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although he constantly abuses both Jon and Odie, he does seem to love them both deep down. His softer side is most prominent around Christmastime.
  • Karma Houdini: A extreme example - he can bully Jon, Odie, and Nermal (verbally and physically) and NEVER receive any punishment whatsoever. (Every rule has its exceptions, though, and sometimes [dead link] karma [dead link] does [dead link] get [dead link] him [dead link].)
    • Not so much in The Garfield Show, where Jon tends to suspect Garfield of wrongdoing when something bad happens... and he's often right.
  • Klatchian Coffee: One of his favorite ways of staying awake.
  • Must Have Caffeine: See above.
  • Never My Fault: His typical form of self-chastisement.
  • Not a Morning Person
  • Out-of-Character Moment: This strip. Keep in mind that he had already established "I hate Mondays" as a Catch Phrase.

Garfield: Odie, I'm about to do something that's really out of character for me. But seeing that you saved my my life about 10 bazillion times tonight, I'm going to give you something that's very close to me. Something that really represents who I am. Here's your half of the Halloween candy.

Scale: Let me put it this way... Have you ever considered a career as a river barge?
Garfield: Your mother was a blender!
Scale: That hurt.

    • In another strip, when he does his act on the fence, he tells his audience: "All you your mothers wear army boots!"
    • Yet another strip, Jon tries to train Garfield to be an "attack cat", and makes a dummy from him to practice. When he orders "Attack!", Garfield tells the dummy: "Your mother wears combat boots!"
  • Villain Protagonist: Very much so.

Jonathan Q. "Jon" Arbuckle

668px-Jon arbuckle svg 8268.png

Garfield's owner and the most prominent human in the strip. For most of the strip, he was a simple enough bachelor who cared for Garfield, but eventually grew to be portrayed as a total loser. His personality hit a watershed in the late 2000s when he and Liz finally became the Official Couple.

Jon: You wouldn't believe my day, Garfield. First, I tripped and fell down six flights of stairs. When I landed, I got my head stuck in a bucket of pork chops. Then, a roaming pack of hungry wolves mistook me for lunch...and chased me into an open elevator shaft, which wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the rabid shaft badgers.

Jon: I think my toes are jealous of my fingers because they get to point at things.

  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Jon/Liz relationship until the late 2000s.
    • Also whenever he tries to outsmart Garfield.
  • Flanderization: He was once The Straight Man, and in the 90's was turned into being the Straw Loser compared to Garfield. See the entry below.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: What he usually wears on a date.
  • Lethal Chef: Jon is fine on everyday meals, but his attempts to produce something special invariably have results that even Garfield would rather starve than eat.
  • Metaphor Is My Middle Name: "Sneaky" and "adventure".
  • The Noseless: He doesn't have a nose so much as he has a very long philtrum.
  • This Loser Is You: "Sometimes you're lucky....and sometimes you're Jon."
  • Took a Level In Dumbass: In the early years of the strip, he was a fairly normal person. By the mid-90's, he's become a total moron who finds interest in mundane activities, mistakes sudoku for crosswords, and mistakes an upside down restaurant menu for French.
  • Sequential Artist
  • Straw Loser: Jon was Flanderized into this, becoming possibly the biggest loser in the world so that Garfield, with his laziness, gluttony, and general lack of doing anything in the comic other than just laying there can seem cool by making wisecracks at his expense. It's pretty sad when you're a Straw Loser to a cat. (Although lately, Liz the Veterinarian has apparently gone and fallen in love with him and they've started dating, which, apparently, takes some of the points off his Loser Scale.)
  • Write Who You Know: Like his creator Jim Davis, Jon grew up on a farm and later moved to the city. Davis has also said that he's based some of Jon's dating disasters on some of his own dating experiences.


136px-Odie the Dog svg 2306.png

Introduced in the strip's first year as Lyman's pet dog (see below), but later Retconned to be Jon's dog. He's pretty much portrayed as wide-eyed, drooling and dumb.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: He once climbed a tree because he didn't know that he couldn't.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Not as extremely as the other characters, he is sometimes seen walking on two legs but mostly still walks on fours.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. He is often shown to have a spot on both sides.
  • The Chew Toy: He usually tolerates Garfield's constant abuse.
  • Dogs Are Dumb
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sometimes done for laughs. For instance, one strip shows him waiting for Jon and Garfield to leave the house and then watching a TV series on Mozart with a copy of War and Peace at the side. Another arc showed him to be good at sudoku. There's another one involve him looking like he accidentally locked himself in the car, while him, Jon and Garfield is on a picnic, but turns out he actually locked them out so he could eat the food himself, while forcing Jon and Garfield to wait outside while it was raining.
    • In one 1980's strip, Jon sees a smug Odie beating a disgusted Garfield in 5-card draw poker.
      • JON: I don't believe it.
      • GARFIELD: Neither do I. Odie drew to an inside straight.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Some strips show it to be even longer than his body.
  • The Ditz: Sometimes he appears to be this, but see Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Retcon: See above.
  • The Speechless: He's the only animal in the strip that doesn't speak through thought bubbles.
  • Silent Snarker


The self-proclaimed "world's cutest kitten". Initially a kitten owned by Jon's mom, Nermal also had his origin blatantly retconned. He's now just a neighborhood cat who wanders into Garfield's house at random times.


Jon's roommate, who appeared two months into the strip. He was initially Odie's owner, and was intended to provide the role of someone that Jon could talk to, until Garfield took over in that role. As a result, Lyman totally disappeared from the strip.

  • Black Bead Eyes
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Such a prominent example that the trope could easily be called The Lyman. He appeared less and less between 1981 and 1982, not appearing or mentioned in Here Comes Garfield, before vanishing after April 1983. According to Jim Davis, he joined the Peace Corps and was never heard from again (possibly Killed Off for Real).
    • Finally averted! After 24 years, Lyman is set to return in a upcoming one-hour special of The Garfield Show entitled Long Lost Lyman and he will be voiced by Frank Ferrante.
  • Demoted to Extra: Prior to being written out, he was a major for the first two years, before being demoted to a minor character through the remainer he appeared.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Another possible reason why he was axed.
  • Porn Stache

Dr. Elizabeth "Liz" Wilson

Garfield and Odie's vet, and the frequent target of Jon's affection. Although Jon spent a good quarter century trying to date her with minimal success, she finally gave in.


Garfield's onetime girlfriend. She would appear on and off, and Garfield would constantly be as unsuccessful in trying to get her love.


The owner of Irma's diner, a Greasy Spoon that Jon and Garfield frequent.

Irma: (sobs) Sorry, I get emotional... My first husband passed away while eating the tuna special.
Garfield: Cheese! I'll have a grilled cheese!

  1. "What a pretty name! Is it short for Elizabeth?" "No, it's short for Lizard."