While working with Tom Ryan on the Tumbleweeds strip, Davis saw the possibilities of humor with insect characters. However, he failed to get it published. One editor said that despite his good gags and art "nobody can relate to bugs!" (although it's argued that The Far Side [which has many insect jokes] has disproved this). Jim literally killed off Gnorm via getting stepped on. Then, Davis went to create Garfield.
In 20 Years & Still Kicking!: Garfield's Twentieth Anniversary Collection, Davis explained about what the characters were intended to be like:
- Gnorm Gnat- The titular character. He was suppose to be the straight man and sometimes acts like Walter Mitty.
- Lyman- An insane buck-toothed doctor
- Freddy- A fruit fly with two weeks to live
- Dr. Rosenwurm- A highly intelligent worm
- Cecil Slug- Stupid
- Drac Webb- Tries to eat the other characters