Over the course of the strip, Garfield's behavior and appearance evolved. Initially, he was drawn extremely fat with flabby jowls and small round eyes. Later, his appearance was slimmed down, his eyes enlarged, and his head made rounder and more infant-like; these changes contributed to a stereotypically cuter appearance. By 1981, Garfield started walking on his hind feet from time to time (these rear paws are now drawn as proportionally huge), because he was too fat to walk on four legs. By the middle of 1983, his familiar appearance—featuring oval-shaped eyes—had taken shape. By this time,

Garfield was walking on two feet, and the strip emphasized sitcom situations such as Garfield making fun of Jon's stupidity and his inability to date. Jon and Odie have also evolved quite a bit, from being thin and starkly colored to the cartoons they are today.
Like many comic strips, Garfield is not exclusively drawn by its creator. Jim Davis still writes and makes rough sketches for the strip, but his company, Paws, employs cartoonists and assistants who do most of the work of the finished drawing and inking, while Davis's final job is usually confined to approving and signing the finished strip. Otherwise, Davis spends most of his time managing the business and merchandising of Garfield.
Learning from the indifference his previous comic strip creation Gnorm Gnat, Jim Davis has made a conscious effort to include all readers in Garfield; keeping the jokes broad and the humor general and applicable to everyone. As a result the strip typically avoids the social or political commentary present in some of Garfield’s contemporaries, such as Boondocks, Doonesbury, Dilbert, and Cathy. Although a couple of strips in 1978 addressed inflation and, arguably, organized labor, as well as Jon frequently smoking a pipe or subscribing to a bachelor magazine, these elements were ultimately pruned from the product with the intent of maintaining a more universal appeal. Davis adamantly disavowed social commentary in an interview published at the beginning of one of the book compilations, joking that he once believed that OPEC was a denture adhesive.
The characters and situations in Garfield have often been constant, with no change or development for the past several years. While this was not unique to Garfield, as Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes and the children of Peanuts never aged, other strips such as For Better or For Worse, Cathy, and Doonesbury maintain a continuity with characters who develop, age, and may even die as the strip proceeds. In one particular sequence, however, leading up to Garfield's 25th birthday (which is always marked by Garfield complaining about his age along with the rest of the characters making subtle references to it), Davis brought back the Garfield from 1978, the one that waddled and always had a frown under his pinpoint eyes. The old and new Garfields talk and find that, although they look different, they are still both too greedy and territorial to stand even themselves.[4] On 17 July, 2006,[5] a new storyline began with the promise of changing Garfield’s life forever (according to the strip's official website). During the next two weeks, Garfield and Jon accidentally spotted Garfield's vet and Jon's crush Liz in a restaurant with another man. After an embarrassing meeting, Liz admitted that she actually liked Jon, and the date ended with a kiss on 28 July (both Jon and Jim Davis's birthday), when Jon finally could say that he had a life.

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