Heathcliff: A Loving Takedown

By Lola Burris

You know that orange, feline delinquent? The snarky cat we all know and love? Okay, no…not that one. The other one: Heathcliff; also scratch the “know and love” part. Heathcliff somehow managed to be a bootleg copy of Garfield before Garfield was even made. Heathcliff has had a few shows of his own, but we’re going to be focusing on the real treasure trove: the Heathcliff comics.

Now, I want to state one thing before I begin this take-down of the awful orange cat: I love Heathcliff. Heathcliff comics are beautiful little one panel packages of incomprehensible jokes. Sometimes, I can stare at a Heathcliff comic for 10 minutes and still not get it; I just sit in awe of some sort of higher power of comedy that I will never understand. I think the only way to convey the vicious glory of these comics is to attempt a run-down of a few of them with you.


I don’t even know where to start with this one. I guess I’ll just start with the fact that Heathcliff has styled the lower half of his body to look like jeans; cuffed jeans. Secondly, why is he eating a drumstick with no hands? I guess it’s not too far off to believe that Heathcliff, after years of probable food theft, has learnt this little trick. So, what really puzzles me is what is happening in this comic exactly. My first guess is that the dog threw a stone at Heathcliff’s stomach (stupid move) and that he used his belly to repel it back “I’m rubber, you’re glue,” style. My second guess would be that a button popped off of Heathcliff’s “jeans” and hit the dog in the face. I’m guessing that it was purposeful, given Heathcliff’s criminal tendencies and bad attitude. But, how is Heathcliff growing buttons out of his abdomen? Also, I want to point out the fact that six year olds (the kids in the background) don’t typically use the word “girth.” Onto the next comic.


In the Heathcliff helmet canon the helmets serve as a harbinger of bad times to come. In this comic he is wearing a helmet that says “gravy.” The family that Heathcliff lives with seems to live in a constant state of paranoia; they are always taking extreme precautions as to not spill Heathcliff’s precious gravy. I, too, would be extremely fearful when living in the same house as the orange menace. I don’t understand where Heathcliff gets these helmets. I don’t see who would or could be selling helmets that say “gravy,” or “ham.” So, is Heathcliff making these helmets himself, or does he have a guy? Also, the Y in “gravy,” is kind of ghosting off of the helmet.


This one is truly an enigma. I have no clue what this one means. I can’t even begin to guess. I didn’t know that bread could fly in the Heathcliff universe. I didn’t know that, specifically, white bread could fly as opposed to whole wheat; which I guess is what they’re trying to say? Also, Heathcliff has a job? Who would hire this orange monstrosity.


  1. He’s a cat, I don’t believe that cats can be appointed to human reserved jobs such as construction work.
  2. Heathcliff must have a heavy criminal record at this point. Even if we disregard the fact that he’s a cat Heathcliff would never find work with a record like his.
  3. I don’t believe that Heathcliff would even want a job. He really doesn’t have an ambitious attitude. Plus, his family is rich so there’s no need for Heathcliff to get paid.


Heathcliff has a lot of problems. There’s a lot that doesn’t work in these comics, but that’s what makes it work (for me at least). I think that I could have more fun dissecting Heathcliff comics than I could doing most things. Inside the head of George Gately, the creator of Heathcliff (god bless his soul), is a scary place to be, but trying to understand him and the work he’s created is an amazing exercise for both the mind and the spirit. 

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