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Garbage Ape is a character from Heathcliff.


The Garbage Ape appears at night, and is usually depicted either carrying or knocking over garbage cans. The neighborhood cats adore him, perhaps because he makes the garbage easier for them to access. His exact origins and goals are never stated in the comic.


The Garbage Ape is bipedal ape, reminiscent of a gorilla or Sasquatch, who appears in the night, usually swaggering down the street with a garbage can in each hand. The Garbage Ape also seems to have access to a number of vehicles, most notably a World War I era tank similar to a Renault FT [1], a personalized AT-AT walker [2], and a blimp [3]. Heathcliff and other cats adore the Garbage Ape and greet his arrival with joy. He has a rarely seen sidekick known as Chimp [4].

In addition to carrying garbage, the Ape also occasionally pursues other activities, such as distributing "Ape-Ade" [5], dressing up for various holidays [6] [7], playing the drums at holiday parties [8], and even starring in a movie [9].


The Garbage Ape's exact origins and purpose are unclear. It is only known for sure that he transports garbage from place to place, and that alley cats adore and even revere him.

The mystery shrouding the Ape has led some to suggest fantastical theories regarding his goals. A previous version of this very article suggested that he was a "supernatural entity obsessed with the slow decay of mankind" [10]. Another hypothesis is that the Heathcliff comic series takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which mutated, super-intelligent animals, chief among them the benevolent Garbage Ape, rule the world. The Ape spreads garbage as a way of reminding the humans that the animals are the ones in charge [11].

Perhaps more likely is that the Garbage Ape is simply part of the city's waste management program, in charge of either bringing garbage out to the curb or of taking it away to the landfill. This is supported by the ape's apparent dedication to duty regardless of the weather [2], though human trash collectors do also seem to exist in the Heathcliff universe [12].

Alternatively, it may be the case that rather than working as a trash collector, the Ape actually works in opposition to waste management, delivering full cans of garbage into the neighborhood from elsewhere, perhaps for the benefit of the cats [13] [14] [15] [16]. He has also been known to knock full cans of trash over [1] [17], which would make the garbage easier for cats to access. Heathcliff himself has been known to exhibit this behavior as well [18].

Finally, there exists the possibility that trash collection is performed by humans, and that trashcans are simply knocked over by the wind, but that Heathcliff, to whom the system is a mystery, has instead imagined a magnanimous Ape who appears and performs these tasks. In that case, the Ape is a figment of Heathcliff's imagination or exists otherwise outside of full physical manifestation, comparable to Santa Claus or even a deity. While this theory is supported by the fact that humans are never shown to see or come into contact with the Ape, it has the issue that the humans are aware enough of the Ape to have made a carousel animal in his likeness [19].


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. 2.0 2.1
List of characters
HeathcliffIggy NutmegMr. NutmegMrs. NutmegSonjaSpikeMuggsy FaberMarcyWillyMilkmanMr. SchultzGarbage Ape
Heathcliff and Dingbat
DingbatSpareribNobody • Clem • Digby • Dogcatcher • Crazy Shirley
Heathcliff and Marmaduke
Marmaduke • Phil Winslow • Mr. Post • Mr. Snyder • Barbie Winslow
Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats
Main characters
Riff-RaffCleoHectorWordsworth W. WordsworthMungo McMungoKnucklesRaul • Lefty • LeroyBush
One-time characters
PussiniChaunceyBrunoCaesarLouieJuniorMayor BogwellMusclesString BeanTracerLulubelleOrvilleHerbieGrowloMervyn McMuttFeral Island CatsFloMortonRoxiePecks BeefcakeHenryTammyDixieJakeMartinRenfieldOtto and PanzerLindsaySiamese TwinsTigerPierreMuffy DuparRiff-Raff's MomLuluBiff BicepsEliseGoonGranny McMungoMingo McMungo
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