Heathcliff (comic strip)

Heathcliff (comic strip)

"Heathcliff" is a comic strip created by George Gately in 1973 featuring an eponymous cat. Now written and drawn by Gately's nephew, Peter Gallagher, it is distributed to over 1000 newspapers by Creators Syndicate, who took over the comic from McNaught Syndicate in 1988.

Heathcliff has some similarities to the popular comic strip "Garfield", which it predated. Both title cats are orange with black stripes, and noted for their bad temper; a "Beware of Cat" sign has been applied to both. However, the major difference between them is in their lifestyle. While Garfield prefers to stay at home, eat and sleep all day, Heathcliff is street-smart and has a more active and mischievous lifestyle. In addition, Heathcliff is a silent character while Garfield expresses his thought with words. In TV, however, Heathcliff does talk and have his mouth move with his words while Garfield still "thinks" what he's saying on TV. This similarity was parodied in the "Robot Chicken" episode "Sausage Fest".

Heathcliff as seen in the strip is predisposed to annoying the manager of the fish store, tipping over garbage cans, annoying the milkman, and pursuing female cats. Heathcliff is also involved in a difficult relationship with Mr. Nutmeg, the moustached owner of the house he lives in. He is, overall, an adventurous and fun-loving cartoon character. He is not predisposed towards apologizing for the endless situations he finds himself in the cartoon.

The strip is usually presented in single-panel gag frames on weekdays. On Sundays, though, the strip is expanded to multiple panels and titled "Sunday with Heathcliff". A regular feature in the Sunday strips is "Kitty Korner", where unusual cats in the real world are described.

Animated series

Two animated TV series based on the strip, both simply named "Heathcliff", were created. Although Heathcliff did not speak in the comic strip, both animated versions of him were voiced by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc. Heathcliff was the last of Blanc's many original characters.

The first "Heathcliff" was produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and debuted in 1980. The first season featured segments with Dingbat and the Creeps (Dingbat is the vampire dog (Frank Welker) accompanied by Spare Rib the skeleton and Nobody the jack-o-lantern who were both voiced by Don Messick), which were created by Ruby-Spears for the show, and the second season featured fellow comic strip character Marmaduke. This version is sometimes seen on Boomerang.

In 1984, the second "Heathcliff" debuted, which was produced by DiC Entertainment. This series featured segments with The Catillac Cats, which is why this version is sometimes referred to as "Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats". This version is not currently being shown on television. In 2005, Shout! Factory released a Volume 1 DVD for this show which features the first 24 episodes of the series.

Heathcliff's female human pal, Marcy, was drawn in the strip as a normal girl with brown hair, a green skirt and has a bow in her hair. In the animated series, Marcy was still drawn as a normal girl, but with blonde hair and a bow and a blue t-shirt and a pink skirt, and instead of white socks, she had purple. Why exactly these character design changes were made is unknown. DiC had also redesigned other characters.

In Australia, Heathcliffclarifyme|date=March 2008 was one of Network Ten's last 1980s shows.


A film was made by compiling 7 segments from the DiC version of the show. The film, called "", was released on January 17, 1986. It has been released on DVD.

Comic books

Starting in 1985, child-friendly Star Comics, owned by Marvel Comics, began producing comic books titled "Heathcliff". The series ran for 56 issues, changing to the Marvel Comics brand with issue #23. Star Comics added an additional spin-off title in 1987 called "Heathcliff's Funhouse" (which switched over to Marvel with issue #6). It was a combination of new material and reprinted stories that first appeared in the original "Heathcliff" title.
*"Heathcliff" (56 issues, Star/Marvel)
*"Heathcliff Annual" (1 issue, Star)
*"Heathcliff's Funhouse" (10 issues, Star/Marvel)
*"Heathcliff Spring Special" (1 issue, Marvel UK)
*"Star Comics Presents: Heathcliff" (1 issue, ashcan)
*"Star Comics Magazine" (AKA "Star Comics Digest") (13 issues, Star)

Heathcliff in other languages

*Sweden: "Katten Nisse" (Nisse the Cat)
*Finland: "Katti-Matti"
*Poland: "Łebski Harry" ("Wiseguy Harry")
*France: "Isidore"
*Latin America: "Heathcliff"
*Mexico: "Heathcliff"
*Brazil: "Lorde Gato" at first, but later versions kept the original name "Heathcliff"
*Spain: "Isidoro"
*Italy: "Isidoro"
*Portugal (similar to English)
*Venezuela "Pícaro, el gato"

External links

* [http://www.creators.com/comics_show.cfm?comicname=hth Heathcliff at Creators Syndicate]
* [http://heathcliffexplained.blogspot.com/ Heathcliff Explained]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.