ENTERTAINMENT

30-plus years of ‘Garfield’ comic strips to sell at auction

Dec 22, 2019, 10:38 AM
In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 photo, Heritage Auctions collectibles specialist Brian Wiedman displa...
In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 photo, Heritage Auctions collectibles specialist Brian Wiedman displays Garfield comic artwork drawn by creator Jim Davis in Dallas. Thousands of the comics drawn by Davis are going up for auction. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS (AP) — Cartoonist Jim Davis is offering up more than 11,000 “Garfield” comic strips hand-drawn on paper in an auction that will stretch into the coming years, with at least a couple of strips featuring the always-hungry orange cat with a sardonic sense of humor available weekly.

“There are just so many, and it was such a daunting task to figure what to do with them so that they could be out there where people enjoy them too,” said Davis, creator of the comic strip that appears in newspapers around the world and has spawned TV shows, movies and books.

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions began offering up the strips in August. The auction house is selling two daily strips each week, along with longer Sunday strips being offered during the large-scale auctions throughout the year.

The strips span from the launch of “Garfield” in 1978 to 2011, when Davis began drawing the strip digitally. He says he still draws it by hand but now it’s with a stylus on a tablet instead of on paper with a pencil, pen and brush.

Comic art collector Nagib Baltagi has purchased about 20 of the strips so far and plans to bid on more. The 36-year-old said the “Garfield” auction particularly resonated because he loved as a kid watching the cartoons and reading the books.

Baltagi, who lives in Miami, said he’s drawn to the strips that feature several of the characters and have a storyline that strikes a chord, in addition to ones that ran on meaningful dates.

“I tend to go for the ones that kind of remind me where I was in my life,” he said.

Indiana-based Davis says that over the years he gave some strips to family, friends and staff, while others are on displays at museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, and he even tried selling them on his website for a few years. But he kept most of them, he says, storing them in a fireproof, climate-controlled vault.

The auction, he said, “was just a logical thing to do with an awful lot of comic strips and an opportunity to allow not just collectors but a lot of the fans over the years to have access to the strips as well without me having to send them out one at a time.”

Brian Wiedman, a comic grader at Heritage, says the daily strips are currently selling on average from around $500 to $700, and the longer Sunday strips are selling for $1,500 to $3,000.

He said the value is often determined by “who is doing what, when and where.”

“So Garfield eating lasagna, which is a trademark for him, that would be considered kind of one of the more expensive ones,” Wiedman said.

Also adding value, he said, is an appearance by the strip’s other characters, which include Garfield’s owner Jon Arbuckle and Odie, his dog.

Caitlin McGurk, associate curator and assistant professor for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University, said that Davis “struck gold” by creating a character people love.

“It’s kind of a classic comic you could pick up any day and feel good about,” she said.

McGurk, whose museum has about 20 “Garfield” strips, likes the idea of the auction and noted that that the number of paper strips he’s auctioning would be a difficult for a library to store.

“I think it’s great if he can get that in the hands of fans and people who will love it,” McGurk said.

Baltagi said Garfield appeals to everyone. “Who doesn’t love a grumpy cat?” Baltagi said.

Davis, who is 74, said he has no plans to retire from drawing the comic featuring the orange feline known for his dislike of Mondays and diets.

“It’s fun. It’s just fun,” Davis said.

Today’s Top Stories

Entertainment

An attendee walks through the Midway Ice Castles during opening night in Midway on Friday, Dec. 29,...
Devin Oldroyd

Construction begins on Midway ice castles one icicle at a time

Construction has begun on the Midway ice castles. Each castle is crafted one icicle at a time according to a press release.
2 days ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
2 days ago
At the Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary in Kanab, dozens of dogs enjoyed a gourmet Thanks...
Waverly Golden

Thanksgiving Dinner at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab

At the Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary in Kanab, dozens of dogs enjoyed a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner made by Chef Shon Foster and his team.
6 days ago
Zuri plays with a pumpkin during Feast With the Beast for Thanksgiving at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lak...
Waverly Golden

Animals at the Hogle Zoo make a smashing entrance for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving Day, Utah's Hogle Zoo animals are making a smashing entrance involving pumpkins and other fun activities.
8 days ago
A new trove of information revealed about the shooting on the 'Rust' movie set shows Alec Baldwin q...
Josh Campbell, Cheri Mossburg and Chloe Melas

‘Rust’ case file details Alec Baldwin’s texts after deadly shooting

Baldwin's phone was turned over months after the fatal October 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal.
10 days ago
DOCUTAH Awards...
Devin Oldroyd

Ten films awarded special honors at DOCUTAH 2022

The DOCUTAH International Film Festival, hosted by Utah Tech University, awarded 10 films with special honors in its 2022 season.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
30-plus years of ‘Garfield’ comic strips to sell at auction