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'Garfield' creator apologizes for ill-timed Veterans Day comic strip

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Did 'Garfield' insult veterans?
  • Strip shows a spider asking why we celebrate "National Stupid Day"
  • Davis calls it "the worst timing ever"
  • He says the strip was created almost a year ago
  • Garfield is one of the most widely syndicated comics in the world
  • Jim Davis
  • Veterans Day
  • Holidays

See the "Garfield" strip that sparked the controversy.

(CNN) -- Jim Davis, the creator of the widely-syndicated "Garfield" comic has issued an apology for an ill-timed strip that ran on Veterans Day.

The strip, which appeared in newspapers nationwide Thursday, shows a spider's thoughts as Garfield the cat is about to crush it with a rolled-up newspaper.

"If you squish me, I shall become famous!" reads the thought bubble in the strip's first panel.

"They will hold an annual day of remembrance in my honor, you fat slob," the spider continues, referring to the pudgy orange cat.

The last panel shows the spider dangling above a teacher's desk while he addresses a group of other spiders: "Does anyone here know why we celebrate 'National Stupid Day?'"

Davis called the strip's appearance on Veterans Day "the worst timing ever."

"The strip that runs in today's paper seems to be making a statement about Veterans Day. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance," he said in a letter Thursday, addressed to friends, fans and veterans.

The cartoonist said the strip was created almost a year ago.

"I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today -- of all days," he said. "I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days, so when this strip was put in the queue, I had no idea it would run on Veterans Day."

Davis said his brother served in Vietnam, and his son has performed tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You'd have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our veterans have done for all of us," he said.

Garfield debuted in 41 U.S. newspapers in 1978. In 2002, the Guinness Book of World Records declared it the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world.

Today, the cynical cat is a ubiquitous pop culture presence, with books and movies to his name.

In his letter, Davis implied he did not intend to make the same mistake again: "You can bet I'll have a calendar that lists EVERYTHING by my side in the future."

CNN's Devon Sayers contributed to this report.