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End of life
LostFoundPartially lostPartially foundExistence unconfirmedUnknownNon-existence confirmed
|imagecaption=Garfield as he appears in this comic strip.
|datefound=05 Jun 2020
|foundby=[https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM0V8r4kuIWIl6Sy-NHj2lg Quinton Reviews]
By now, almost everyone knows about Jim Davis's famous comic strip cat, ''Garfield''. However, what is much lesser known is the fact that, before the ''Garfield'' comics were syndicated into several mainstream newspapers, Jim Davis had published various "prototype" ''Garfield'' comics weekly in the Pendleton, Indiana newspaper, The Pendleton Times. These comics were interestingly titled '''''Jon'''''.
''Jon'' centers around the titular character Jon, along with his plain, stripe-less cat, Garfield. Lyman, the character who eventually infamously disappeared with no explanation in ''Garfield,'' also had an appearance here, along with his dog, Spot. Spot is the original version of Odie in this comic strip. It's unknown why his name was changed, but a likely reason is that the name "Spot" is a very stereotypical name for a dog, which was made fun of in one of the comics. This name change also resulted in Davis having to alter the punchline of one of the comics, so that it would still work when remade in ''Garfield''.
Most comics in this series would eventually get slightly altered and re-released as mainstream ''Garfield'' comics when those came out. However, there were a few unique comics which never got adapted into ''Garfield''.
After September 1st, 1977, the strip's name was changed to ''Garfield'', named after the cat in the comic strip. This was suggested by Tom K. Ryan, creator of the comic strip ''Tumbleweeds'', pointing out that Garfield had all the good lines, and was the main focus of certain strips.
On March 2nd, 1978, it was revealed to Pendleton Times readers that the newly-named ''Garfield'' would be getting syndicated into more mainstream newspapers. 2 final prototype strips were shown as a farewell, showing designs for Garfield and Jon much closer to how they looked in the first few mainstream ''Garfield'' strips.
For some reason, this short-lived comic strip had gone almost completely undocumented for 40 years until just recently on July 28th, 2019, when Youtuber Quinton Reviews had someone in Pendleton make scans of various then-lost [[Gnorm Gnat (found Jim_Davis comic strip; 1973-1975)|''Gnorm Gnat'' comic strips]] (Jim Davis's other Pendleton Times comic). However, to his surprise, he later got another email with the subject ''"Here is Jon"'', revealing to him, and the ''Garfield'' fandom, 38 of these comics.
From January 8th, 1976, to March 2nd, 1978, 112 ''Jon'' comic strips were produced. However, only 38 had been preserved on the internet from their initial discovery to their complete release via a Google Drive document uploaded by Quinton Reviews.<ref>[https://drive.google.com/file/d/1e6qIhEusfMgSJ9-e_R-Vgh4Vrlq93-aw/view Google Drive document containing 38 prototype ''Garfield'' strips, as well as various ''Gnorm Gnat'' comic strips.] Retrieved 23 Aug '19</ref> The first found strips were discovered in a public library in Pendleton, along with several of the ''Gnorm Gnat'' comic strips.
In January of 2020, Quinton traveled to Pendleton and scanned every Jon and Gnorm Gnat comic he could find,<ref>[https://twitter.com/Q_Review/status/1217201304663142401?s=20 Tweet by Quinton revealing his plans for preserving the Jon and Gnorm Gnat 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:1976,01,08.png|Digital scan of the very first ''Jon'' strip.
File:Spotcomparison.PNG|Comparison between a ''Jon'' strip and a mainstream ''Garfield'' strip, where the punchline was changed to reflect Odie's name change.
File:1977,09,01_B.png|Digital scan of the first strip with the name changed to ''Garfield''.
File:ThelastGarfieldproto.PNG|The last 2 known prototype ''Garfield'' strips.
File:JonRecolor.png|Colorization work by LMW user Goosen12 on the first ''Jon'' comic strip.
|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/Garfield Wikipedia page on ''Garfield'', mentioning Jon.] Retrieved 24 Aug '19
*[https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mIxJ-58j1j001X7PHmafY3y8mdtG8HV-/view Google Drive document containing every ''Jon'' comic strip.] Retrieved 05 Jun '20