We all have our childhood favorites. From food to toys to games, there are some things that give us an absolute sense of nostalgia. And for a big chunk of us, Garfield definitely belongs in the ranks.
For some, it was a comic to read and enjoy, for others, it was a cartoon to glue our eyes to, and for later generations, it was a flashy game online. But we’re all familiar with the lazy, fat, and cynical ginger cat who loves lasagna and hates Mondays. And although Garfield brings out good memories full of laughter and nostalgia, the vast Garfield comics’ universe that spans over 40 years has some rather chilling aspects to it.
One Tumblr user made an outrageous claim that Garfield’s owner Jon murdered Odie’s former owner Lyman
A Tumblr user with the fitting name “jon-arbuckle-murdered-lyman” shared their take by announcing that, well, “Jon Arbuckle murdered Lyman in cold blood as a means to obtain Odie for his own cruel purposes”. While at first glance this seems like one of the outrageous fan theories, other users were quick to point out that it might have some weight to it.
Turns out, there’s more to the claim than just a speculation as Garfield’s lore is full of creepy details
Lyman was one of the main 4 Garfield characters of the original comic strip. He was the owner of Odie and the roommate of Jon Arbuckle, and the 4 lived under one roof where most of the stories took place. However, Jim Davis, the creator of the cartoon drawings, decided to remove Lyman and reduce the main line-up to only Garfield, Jon, and Odie.
For years, Lyman remained absent from the series with the writers constantly changing Odie’s origins to the point where Lyman was removed from the story altogether. He became a sort of ghost that some readers remembered but couldn’t explain why or where he disappeared.
Perhaps that was the reason why Jim Davis eventually gave out a list of possible explanations of where Lyman has gone. Most of the list was full of comical scenarios like Lyman joining the Peace Corps and never being heard from again, however, the final reason had some fans concerned. “Don’t look in Jon’s basement” was the final entry on the list and considering the comic’s tone, could’ve been taken as a joke or an actual possibility.
While in the writing world, the removal of Lyman from the story made sense (as his original role of being someone whom Jon could talk to was gradually transferred to Garfield), the in-universe reason remained a great mystery for a long while, prompting fans to come up with some chilling theories.
What didn’t help the people who brushed off the basement comment as a joke was the fact that Lyman reappeared in the “Scary Scavenger Hunt” web game where the cartoon cat explores a haunted mansion only to find Lyman chained in the basement. Quite a coincidence, right? To make matters worse, in the second part of the game “Scary Scavenger Hunt 2”, one can find Lyman’s head in the oven. Now that’s definitely creepy.
As if sensing the fans’ desperation over these facts and the many frightening theories they were coming up with, the writers decided to come up with some sort of explanation and finally address Lyman’s disappearance which they did in The Garfield Show’s “Long Lost Lyman” episode that aired in 2012.
The episode explains that Lyman left Jon, Odie, and Garfield to venture out to Australia where he was searching for a mythological creature called Zabadu. While exploring in the jungle, Lyman got lost and injured and was rescued by Zabadu, who was actually a doctor in disguise. The doctor helped Lyman with his injuries and revealed that he pretended to be a mythological creature to protect the jungle from poachers. Since Lyman was in the middle of the jungle, he couldn’t contact anyone outside, thus explaining why he disappeared without a trace. After the doctor died, Lyman decided to take over his role as the Zabadu and protect the jungle.
Although the “Long Lost Lyman” explains Lyman’s absence for decades somewhat perfectly, it still doesn’t solve the puzzle of why would Lyman be chained up in the basement. As Tumblr users point out, though, there are plenty of creepy details and inconsistencies in such a large story as Garfield’s. So, even if Lyman is still pretending to be a mythological creature in Australia, that means that in some other continuity, Lyman ended his days chained up in the basement. And perhaps Jon had something to do with it?
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