April 9, 2010

Worth 9 Lives: Heathcliff

Heathcliff. Some may love this orange cat with an attitude. Some may not. Some may see him as Garfield’s rival (in reality Heathcliff predates Garfield, starting publication 5 years before the other orange cat came onto the scene), and some may remember him as having a great cartoon (except those Marmaduke segments, shudder).

No matter what you may think, Heathcliff is a staple of American comic-culture and still is until this day, and a fantastic one at that. Created by George Gately in 1973, the Heathcliff comic strip is still published in over 1,000 newspapers around the country. If you don’t know the magic of Heathcliff, the plot simply follows the misadventures of the cat with an attitude as he goes through his life: getting food, annoying milkmen, chasing females and his relationship with his owner Mr. Nutmeg.

The strip’s art and writing is comical and fun-loving. Gately (who also created lesser-known Hapless Harry) drew Heathcliff until 1998, where he then passed it onto his nephew Peter Gallagher, who has drawn it ever since. During the weekdays it is presented in one panel funnies, while on Sunday’s we get more of a traditional strip set-up.

Aside from his lasting popularity in comic strip-dom, Heathcliff also spawned two other items of interest. The first is a comic book series published by Marvel Comics, under their Star Comics line (same line that published Planet Terry) in 1985, which ran for 56 issues (they also published a spin-off called Heathcliff’s Funhouse, which ran for 10 issues). The comic book followed the adventures of our favorite cat, in obviously a longer comic book format.

The other fondly remembered item is of course the cartoon series. The first series was animated for two seasons by Ruby-Spears Animation (who also animated the Plastic-Man cartoon) and included additional segments featuring Dingbat and the Creeps (which was cool, Dingbat was a vampire-dog) and…Marmaduke. The second TV series was animated by DIC (animators of Carebears and cult-film Rock and Rule). The first animated series has been re-run on Boomerang, while the DIC show has been released on DVD.

As of 2009, it was announced that Heathcliff will have his own major motion picture in 2011, in which Tom Hanks will be doing the voice of Heathcliff (same vein as Bill Murray doing Garfield or Owen Wilson doing Marmaduke).

In final thought, Heathcliff is still one of the more enjoyable comic strips published out there today. Check it out in your local newspaper or

Also if you like Heathcliff, you may want to check out Ferd’nand or Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Drew McCabe



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Drew McCabe. Drew McCabe said: read it: […]

  2. Billy

    I remember the cartoon back in the day. Yeah, Marmaduke was terrible. lol

  3. I’ve never read a Heathcliff cartoon. Shocking. I know.

    : P

  4. Drew

    Andy it’s one panel…I think you should make it your April.9th-Eve’s Resolution to check one out, dude 🙂

  5. Princess Powerful

    If his movie is better than Garfield I’ll be confident in my long time thought that “Heathcliff’s more funnier”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *