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End of life
LostFoundPartially lostPartially foundExistence unconfirmedUnknownNon-existence confirmed
|imagecaption=The title character, drawn by Jim Davis.
|datefound=05 Jun 2020
|foundby=[https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM0V8r4kuIWIl6Sy-NHj2lg Quinton Reviews]
Jim Davis is known for creating the very famous comic strip ''Garfield'' that started in 1978, which has become a massive media franchise on its own, adapted into animated series, video games, TV specials and feature-length movies.
What is lesser known is that, before ''Garfield'', Jim Davis created another comic strip called '''''Gnorm Gnat''''', featuring anthropomorphic insects, which ran from March 1st, 1973 to December 25th, 1975.
The main character was the titular Gnorm Gnat, a straight man with "Walter Mitty" tendencies.
Other characters include a depressed fly, Freddy, who only has a week to live, Cecil, a "dumb" slug, Dr. Rosenwurm, a genius worm, Drac Webb, a cannibalistic spider, and an unspecified species "free spirit, just a tad insane" bug called Lyman (the ''Garfield'' comic strip would also have a major character called Lyman, Odie's original owner, who would infamously disappear without a reason).
One early comic strip also mentions a "John Arbuckle" as a poet, which would later serve as the name of the ''Garfield'' co-protagonist Jon Arbuckle.
The comic strip was only published weekly in ''The Pendleton Times'', a newspaper from the town of Pendleton in the State of Indiana. Davis tried to have it published in more mainstream publications, but it kept being rejected. Although his art and writing were praised, the main criticism he received was that the characters were considered "unrelatable" and "unfunny" due to being insects.
For a while, there was an urban legend stating that in the final strip, the main character died by being stepped on by the foot of a human. This was later debunked after a Google Drive document containing many Gnorm Gnat comics was uploaded online, with the actual final strip just having the protagonist thank the fans who stuck with the strips while standing next to the message ''Merry Christmas''. One potentially unreleased strip however had a different character be stomped by a human's foot, which perhaps contributed to the myth.
Jim Davis later created a new comic strip called [[Jon (found prototype "Garfield" comic strip; 1976-1978)|''Jon'']], running from 1976 until 1978 about a man named Jon, and his cat named Garfield having adventures and being lazy. The strip was later renamed to ''Garfield'' before becoming syndicated in 1978. Some strips from ''Jon'' (themselves often recycled from previous ''Gnorm Gnat'' strips) were later recycled into ''Garfield'' strips with minor changes, including Garfield being added to strips only featuring Jon and reworking a joke due to the fact that their dog Odie was originally named Spot. The comics were picked up for syndication in early 1978, and the rest is history.
Despite being the predecessor to one of the most popular comic strips of all time, very few of the strips resurfaced online for almost 45 years afterwards, and it seems Davis and his editors have no interest into collecting and reprinting them.
Only a few comic strips had been shown in ''Garfield'' celebration books, with the rest ignored.<ref>[https://isbnsearch.org/isbn/9780345421265 ''20 Years & Still Kicking!: Garfield's Twentieth Anniversary Collection''.] Retrieved 22 Mar '19</ref><ref>[https://isbnsearch.org/isbn/9780345455307 ''Garfield at 25: In Dog Years I'd Be Dead''.] Retrieved 22 Mar '19</ref><ref>[https://isbnsearch.org/isbn/0425287122 ''Garfield Complete Works: Volume 1: 1978 & 1979''.] Retrieved 22 Mar '19</ref>
According to an author of fan-produced parody website ''Square Root of Minus Garfield'', some scans of ''Gnorm Gnat'' still existed at the "local library" in Pendleton, Indiana, on "microfiche films". He was able to look at some previously unknown strips, including one from 1975 where the script was reused for a 1982 Garfield strip.<ref>[http://www.mezzacotta.net/garfield/?comic=2264 Square Root of Minus Garfield site that mentions Davis reusing ''Gnorm Gnat'' material for ''Garfield'' comics.] Retrieved 26 Mar '19</ref>
In January of 2020, YouTuber Quinton Reviews traveled to Pendleton and scanned every ''Gnorm Gnat'' and ''Jon'' comic he could find,<ref>[https://twitter.com/Q_Review/status/1217201304663142401?s=20 Tweet by Quinton revealing his plans for preserving the ''Gnorm Gnat'' and ''Jon'' strips.] Retrieved 20 Mar '20</ref> before later making them all available for public consumption on June 5th, 2020 alongside an accompanying documentary video about the process.
<gallery mode=packed heights=125px>
File:Gnorm sketch.jpg|Original pencil sketches of Gnorm, from around 1973.
File:Gnorm doctor.gif|A colorized panel from a series of rejected comic strip ideas by Davis.
File:Gnorm cast.jpg|The cast.
File:FirstGnormGnat.jpg| Digital scan of the very first ''Gnorm Gnat'' comic.
File:Gnorm strip.jpg|One of the strips reprinted in a Garfield celebration book.
File:Gnorm strip 2.jpg|Another rare strip reprinted before the whole series was found.
File:Gnat3.jpg|Yet another rare strip before the whole series was found.
File:Gnorm_strip_3.jpg|Another rare strip in French before the whole series was found. Translation: ''"I wished I lived in 6th century Britain during the time of King Arthur. I can see me now... a gnat in shining armor."''
File:Gnorm5.jpg|A rare strip featuring Cecil. Interestingly, this was a strip PAWS Inc sent to Ryan Shank for a Jim Davis documentary, and Quinton could not find it in any Pendleton Times archive. It's possible Jim Davis may have never had this particular strip published.
|description1 =A video mentioning Gnorm Gnat and including some comics. (Explanation starts at 1:48 comics start at 5:18)
|description2 =Follow-up video from Quinton Reviews detailing the documentation process.
*[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnorm_Gnat Wikipedia page on ''Gnorm Gnat''.] Retrieved 22 Mar '19
*[https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tGUwDNUG4QQsBnAQojy35hR7wEZDK01R/view Google Drive document containing all ''Gnorm Gnat'' comics.] Retrieved 05 Jun '20