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

Vehicles enter Zion National Park   on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. With Independence Day set for Mond...
Mark Jones

Busy weekend expected at Zion National Park

With it being Independence Day on Monday, Zion National Park officials are expecting a busy weekend at the park and say visitors should expect long lines.
1 day ago
The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival will make its in-person comeback from July 28 to Aug. 7. Courte...
Devin Oldroyd

The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival is coming back to Salt Lake City

The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival will make its in-person comeback from July 28 to Aug. 7.
1 day ago
Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
1 day ago
The Path of Art explores artists lives....
Ryan Meeks

New podcast aims to bring awareness about Utah’s artists, creatives

KSL Podcasts is launching a new podcast, The Path of Art, to share the stories of artists, comedians, performers, and more. Listen to the first episode here.
2 days ago
Freshly pressed vinyl records are produced in a stamper at the United Record Pressing facility Thur...
DAVID SHARP Associated Press

Manufacturers struggle to keep pace with vinyl record demand

The Recording Industry Association of America says record album sales grew 61% last year — and reached $1 billion for the first time since the 1980s.
4 days ago
Art City Donut Truck's Conner Jensen, left, serves customers sugary desserts during the Food Truck ...
Devin Oldroyd

Eighth annual Food Truck Face Off to be held at Liberty Park on July 16

Utah's largest food truck rally for charity, Food Truck Face Off, is coming back to Liberty Park this July.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
30-plus years of ‘Garfield’ comic strips to sell at auction