Archive for george gatley

thrift store finds: heathcliff rides again

Posted in commentary, thrift store finds with tags , , on April 3, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood St. Vincent DePaul store.)

Let’s play a game. I’ll say the newspaper comic strip… you tell me the cartoonist.

Peanuts? Easy. Charles Schultz.

Uh… The Family Circus? Ah, if you’ve been reading Thrift Store Finds for the past few weeks, you know it’s Bil Keane.

How about Heathcliff? Y’know… Heathcliff, the mildly bad-tempered orange cat? What? JIM DAVIS?

Nice try, but no… Jim Davis created Garfield. I can see where you’d be confused as Garfield is also a mildly bad-tempered orange cat.

This is something that I’ve always found interesting. Heathcliff is basically Garfield, only he presages Garfield by about five years. The origin of Garfield I’ve always read is Jim Davis’ syndicate (the company that brings all the comics to your daily newspapers) basically assessed the newspaper market and decided that there was a place to make money with a cat-themed comic strip that could be marketed for all sorts of stuffed animals and similar gee-gaws. That Garfield would share so many similarities with the already-established Heathcliff always stuck in my craw as a kid… even if I wasn’t an avid reader George Gatley’s comic strip (and yes, for those of you who’ve been waiting, that’s the answer. Heathcliff was created by George “Geo” Gatley.) What did Garfield have that Heathcliff did not?

Anyhow, a few weeks ago I found Heathcliff Rides Again in my neighborhood thrift store, and I thought it warranted a look… if only to satisfy my curiosity.

Continue reading