Bren's Reviews > Heathcliff Rides Again

Heathcliff Rides Again by George Gately
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Nov 09, 09

bookshelves: favourites, thrift-store-finds
Read in November, 2009

Forever the dedicated carnivore, Heathcliff the cat lives on in this paperback second-life.

While compared favourably with Garfield, Heathcliff arguably transcends the latter. The perpetually lacklustre Garfield, for instance, habitually features the titular tabby lying prone for an entire sequence of panels, motionless save for perhaps an upraised finger to emphasize the punchline . And as far as Garfield reaches, the trouble-making cat rarely goes beyond testing the patience of his mentally-retarded canine pal Odie, or his slightly-less-so owner Jon Arbuckle.

And here is where Heathcliff excels: While the cat remains uncommunicative (unlike the silently-loquacious Garfield), he manages to make himself indelible throughout his neighbourhood. In Heathcliff, birds really do get eaten. He regularly steals from the Elite Fish Market, traumatizes his murine prey, harasses canines both terrifying and timid alike, and causes no end of grief for his long-suffering caretakers, the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Nutmeg. Garfield may erect a "No Dogs Allowed" sign. Heathcliff would use it as a trebuchet.


This book presents newspaper strips as they appeared across the country from late 1975 to early 1976. The date-stamps appear clearly on each cartoon, though not in chronological order. This serves to exacerbate a few particularly puzzling elements (the occurrence of two "Annual Cat Shows" within a six-month time span, for instance, or how an obviously winter-themed strip appears sandwiched between two of ambiguous season), since the date appearing on the strip seemingly has little to do with that strip's content.

But then, Heathcliff himself is not particularly known for his fastidious nature. Heathcliff Rides Again shows him participating in a yearly ritual of "house cleaning day," wherein he hefts scads of filth to the curb, and foraging through a multitude of trash cans looking for sustenance. Notably, he is not shown in the process of grooming himself!

Heathcliff Rides Again is a tremendously fun ride nonetheless. Cat-lovers will enjoy these single-paneled strips, and dog-lovers...

...Well, there is always Marmaduke.
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