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Heathcliff is a comic strip created by George Gately in 1973 featuring the title character, a wisecracking 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 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 words with thought bubbles. In TV, however, Heathcliff does talk and have his mouth move with his words while Garfield still "thinks" what he's saying on TV.

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.

Contents

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 Mel Blanc. Heathcliff was the last of Blanc's 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. 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, Heathcliff was one of Network Ten's last 1980s shows.

Comic books

Starting in 1985, 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. In the comics, Heathcliff had a far better relationship with Mr. Nutmeg, and much of his adventures were done with Mr. Nutmeg's grandson. Heathcliff's reputation for adventurism was even noted by the local police, who recruited him for a sting operation against a gang of cats stealing purses, in exchange for them forgiving the fact Heathcliff swiped shellfish, of course.

  • 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)

Film

In May 2009, it was revealed that Heathcliff will be adapted for a motion picture. Magic Lantern Entertainment and rights holder FitzRoy Media will work together with a planned release in 2011.[1]

Heathcliff in other languages

  • Brazil: "Lorde Gato" at first, but later versions kept the original name "Heathcliff"
  • Finland: "Katti-Matti"
  • France: "Isidore"
  • Italy: "Isidoro"
  • Latin America: "Heathcliff"
  • Mexico: "Pícaro" in 1980 TV series, "Heathcliff" in comic strips and 1984 series.
  • Netherlands: "Archibald" in comic strips, "Heathcliff" in both subtitled 1980's TV Series.
  • Norway: "Mjaurits"
  • Poland: "Łebski Harry" ("Wiseguy Harry")
  • Portugal (identical to English)
  • Spain: "Isidoro"
  • Sweden: "Katten Nisse" (Nisse the Cat)
  • Venezuela "Pícaro, el gato"

References

External links








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