January 7, 1940
Lyman was a friend of Jon's, who lived with him for a while and was the original owner of Odie. Lyman was one of the main characters in the comic strip along with Garfield, Jon, and Odie. The comic strip usually had four main characters, but was reduced to the number three when Lyman was cut off by Jim Davis. He was only actively present for a few months after his debut appearance. Starting from 1981, he was usually absent; for instance, he did not appear in any strips between December 25, 1981, and June 27, 1982.
He first appeared on August 7, 1978. However, he had largely disappeared from the comic on April 24, 1983 and his disappearance was not fully elaborated upon at the time. His also did a cameo in the strip on Garfield's 10th birthday, June 19, 1988, where he appears in the title panel seated between Jon's father and Liz; he also appears in a flashback panel within the strip.
According to Davis, Lyman's original purpose was to be someone who Jon could actually talk to and express other ideas — a role more and more taken over by Garfield, himself. Once Lyman was no longer needed for that purpose, he was removed without explanation. Jim Davis has jokingly explained Lyman's sudden disappearance and long absence from the strip on different occasions either by saying that Lyman joined the Peace Corps and was then never heard from again or by saying, "Don't look in Jon's basement."
In the web game, "Scary Scavenger Hunt," he is shown chained onto the wall in the basement of a haunted mansion. In "Scary Scavenger Hunt 2," his head is found inside the kitchen oven. Also, on the Garfield webpage, in the "Book Nook," Lyman is shown working behind the counter.
In the hour long episode "Long Lost Lyman" of The Garfield Show it´s revealed that he has become a wild life photographer. He had searched for a mythological creature and disappeared. When Jon, Garfield and Odie were looking for him, they had found him dressed as the mythological creature.
Lyman also made another appearance in the strip April 2, 2013, in a picture on the newspaper Jon was reading.
Lyman's mysterious disappearance from the strip is discussed at Neatorama.com.