04 MayJon Arbuckle’s (Probably) Only Human Friend

It may seem that Jon Arbuckle doesn’t have human friends at all, but he actually does (at least one, and not counting Liz)!

From 1978 to 1983, Jon Arbuckle had a best friend and roommate named Lyman, who mysteriously disappeared entirely from the series. Lyman was supposed to be one of the main characters along with Garfield, Jon, and Odie.  By the way, did you know that Odie originally belonged to Lyman? Yep, we bet you didn’t know that.

Lyman was originally introduced so Jon could actually talk to someone — a role that was eventually taken by a certain cantankerous orange tabby cat. When Jim Davis experimented with non-verbal interactions between Garfield and Jon, Lyman was no longer needed and was cut out of the strip. Jim Davis simply stopped drawing Lyman and offered no explanation.


Lyman made a couple of cameo appearances, but that was it.  Hints were dropped here and there. When people asked Jim Davis what happened to Lyman, he would jokingly quip, “Don’t look in Jon’s basement!” He also explained that Lyman joined the Peace Corps and was never heard from again.

Lyman resurfaced in a four-part episode in The Garfield Show, “Long Lost Lyman”. Apparently, Lyman was working as a wildlife photographer, searching for a mythological creature called Zabadu. Eventually, Jon, Garfield, and Odie found him dressed up as the Zabadu.  Lyman was living together with animals in the jungle, and in his effort to protect the critters from hunters, he used his Zabadu disguise to scare them off!

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