This new mammoth book contains the complete 'Garfield' comic strips from 1978 to 1979. A second volume, covering the years 1980 and 1981 is on it's way, and I assume if the sales are good enough, more are likely to follow.
Released to celebrate 40 years since Jim Davis' feline creation first went to print in a modest collection of newspapers (though it wasn't long before 'Garfield' took off and soon became an international success), this book takes the reader back to where it all began. Throughout the book we see a gradual change in Garfield's (initially mammoth) appearance, and the introduction of several characters who would go onto become firm favourites, the dim-witted canine Odie, his owner Lyman (who was written out of the strip one day with no explanation), Garfield's teddy bear friend Pookie, and Nermal the kitten, his arch nemesis.
The strips are presented in chronological order, beginning with the very first dated June 19th 1978, which saw Garfield and his cartoonist owner Jon Armbuckle introducing themselves, and from there we are able to follow the title character on his journey, reading his many subsequent catchphrases since his first one, ''feed me'', and tracing back as to when he began to reveal his passion for lasgana and his hatred for Mondays. This is therefore a history lesson, as well as plentiful entertainment.
Of course, all of these strips, which are still very fresh and funny today despite their age (and the fact 'Garfield' became even funnier as the years went on), appealing to young and old readers alike, have been made available before. I bought the first few books in the 'Fat Cat 3-Pack' series so already had all of them, and they were in full-colour, unlike here where they are in black in white format aside from the extended Sunday strip which are in colour. Having said that, this is a hardback volume and all the comics are in the one place, meaning that if you didn't already buy the aforementioned, you won't have to purchase one than one book to have them now. The fact that it's a hardback, and nicely presented, makes 'Garfield Complete Works: Volume 1: 1978' seem all the more like a collector's package.
What this book offers than others don't is a new introduction by Jim Davis, archive material, and it's front cover also looks very classy. If you don't already own a Garfield book, then this is a great place to start as it takes you right back to this acid-tongued, lazy cat's beginnings, and at the price, provides very good value for money, especially considering that you are getting two year's worth of comic strips.