Book Report: Sweet Savage Heathcliff by Geo Gately (1982)

You know, Garfield gets all the attention these days, but back in the old days, Heathcliff was the cat. Of course, his cartoon was a single panel, not a strip, so his humor had to get to the point, and it did. Instead of lazy, Heathcliff was a helion. Instead of liking lasagna, he eats the remnants from trash cans. In other words, he’s a scrapper where Garfield is a dilettante. No wonder I liked Heathcliff more when I was younger. Also, the daily we got had Heathcliff, but not Garfield, which could explain it. Heathcliff even had a cartoon before Garfield did.

This book collects a number of strips, mostly around the motif of Heathcliff’s love for Sonja. Given that, though, the book really identifies how Geo Gately used a limited number of ideas for a lot of cartoons. Another cat looks at Sonja, and Heathcliff does something to him; Heathcliff steals the fish; Sonja’s woman owner asks the man why he doesn’t do for her what Heathcliff does for Sonja; and so on. I hope that over the run of the series, the cartoonist spread these repeated bits out a little more than you can within a book limited by this theme.

Ultimately, I guess this might explain why Garfield would ultimately eclipse Heathcliff.

And although there’s no Heathcliff without Heathcliff blog (unlike Garfield, there is the Heathcliff Explained blog which echoes sentiments expressed above with some profanity and daily cartoons.

Can’t anyone else in the 21st century just enjoy the cartoons, or just look at them?

Books mentioned in this review:

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