It's the end of the line for 'Cathy'

The Salt Lake Tribune

Sep 28, 2010

Cathy Guisewite was a lonely, hard-working copywriter for a Detroit advertising agency in 1976 when she first scribbled out a simple cartoon figure and bits of dialogue.

On a whim, she began mailing them to her parents in nearby Midland, Mich.

"They were just explosions of frustration on paper," Guisewite said. "It was my mother who suggested that these very private, very embarrassing works could be a comic strip."

Again on a whim, and to end her mother's constant insistence that her daughter had real comic talent, Guisewite mailed off another package. This time she sent drafts of her comic to Universal Press Syndicate, one of the world's largest providers of newspaper content.

The rest is comic strip history. By the time Guisewite's eponymous "Cathy" strip rolled onto more than 1,400 newspapers nationwide, it was also the first time people heard legions of single, struggling women laugh at the funny papers in real, and sometimes anguished, earnest.

Now, after almost 34 years of writing and drawing "Cathy," the author is ready to retire the long-haired, diet-challenged, naive yet nervy heroine without a nose who cried the "Ack!!" heard 'round the world. As "Cathy" began its syndicated ascent, Guisewite placed a star near every city in which a newspaper published her strip. She still looks at that map, a token of pride her parents sent when "Cathy" was picked up for syndication.

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