Comic Strip / Heathcliff

A long-running Newspaper Comic begun in 1973 by George Gately. He helmed it until his 2001 death, when his nephew, Peter took over. The strip's title character is a fat orange cat owned by the Nutmeg family — an elderly woman, her husband, and their grandson Iggy. Not unlike Garfield, Heathcliff is a wisecracking, fat, orange cat who gets into all sorts of mischief.

The strip is also notable in that it had two cartoons based on it. The first, in 1980, was produced by Ruby-Spears and (in the second season) was paired up with an animated adaptation of Marmaduke. The second and more familiar one, produced by DIC Entertainment, came in 1984, paired with the Catillac Cats. Heathcliff became renowned as one of iconic voice actor Mel Blanc's final original roles, voicing him in both cartoons.

A film adaptation was planned for 2011 but never got off the ground.

For more information on the second cartoon, see Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats.

Tropes present in the strip:

  • Animated Adaptation: Twice.
  • The Anticipator: Played for Laughs where a mouse is able to sneak past a sleeping Heathcliff with ease, before getting hit with a rolling pin by his wife who then tells him, "Sneak by Heathcliff, but you won't sneak by me!"
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: 1985 to 1991 through Marvel Comics, beating Garfield by 27 years.
  • Cool Cat
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Played into the ground.
  • Fat Cat
  • Follow the Leader: Hmm. A fat, lazy, cantankerous orange cat... Where would that same idea later show up... You don't suppose the insanely iconic Garfield would honestly fall under Follow the Leader, would you?
    • Brought up during the segment "Cat Court" on Robot Chicken, when he takes Garfield to court for ripping him off.
    Heathcliff: I was in the funny papers five years before this lame knockoff!
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Garbage Ape shows up to Heathcliff's delight and knocks over the neighborhood trash cans. He makes regular appearances, with no more explanation than that. Oh, and he has a sidekick: Trash Chimp.
  • Print Long-Runners: 1973 and counting.
  • Running Gag: Heathcliff loved to torment the milkman, the garbage man and the owner of the fish market in particular.
  • The Speechless: This is how the casual reader can tell the difference between Heathcliff and the other guy. Heathcliff understands language but never actually says anything. Notable in that there are talking animals in the strip, e.g. birds and mice. Curiously both cartoons subvert this by making Heathcliff even more of a mouthy wise guy than the latter (quips provided by none other than Mel Blanc).
  • Sphere Eyes
  • Those Two Guys: An awful lot of the comics seem to follow the same formula of Heathcliff doing something strange, and two random people in the background explaining what he's doing.