"Besides finally being available 24/7 to hover over my 18-year-old daughter and parents and drive them insane with my love, attention and opinions, I want to pursue my lifelong goal of cleaning out the trunk of my car." — Cathy Guisewite, creator of the comic strip "Cathy"
She's been a staple of newspaper comics pages — and the refrigerator doors of women everywhere — since her debut in 1976. In October, Cathy Guisewite's beloved, iconic "Cathy" comic strip will come to an end.
Universal Uclick has announced that the final daily "Cathy" comic strip will run in newspapers Oct. 2, with the final Sunday strip running Oct. 3. The strip has run in The Oklahoman since 1978.
The end of the strip comes as Guisewite finds herself longing to spend more time with family and pursue new creative venues.
"After almost 34 years of meeting newspaper deadlines," Guisewite said, "I'm facing some personal deadlines whose requirements simply exceed my ability to procrastinate any longer: an 18-year-old daughter who needs a full-time mom to help her through her last year of high school and beyond ... beloved parents I want to be able to visit more often... and a creative biological clock, which is urging me to try something else while I can."
One of the most influential female characters to ever grace the comics page, Cathy has won fans among women of all ages over her three decades of newspaper stardom. Guisewite's lovable, relatable shopaholic has struggled — always humorously, of course — with issues including body image, balancing life inside and outside the office, and Cathy's famous "four basic guilt groups": food, Mom, relationships and work.
Lee Salem, president and editor of Universal Uclick, recounted the strip's humble beginnings.
"Cathy Guisewite would send her mother drawings describing the latest trauma in her life as a single young career woman, and in response, her mother urged her to try her hand at a comic strip," Salem said. "The day the submission arrived in our office, we had a contract out to Cathy in return mail. Seven months later, the strip began in newspapers."
It wasn't an immediate hit, but "Cathy" steadily gained popularity and eventually grew to a client list of 1,400 newspapers.
Along the way the strip picked up numerous awards and acclaim, highlighted by a National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award in 1992 and an Emmy Award for outstanding animated program in 1987. "Cathy" comic strips have been collected in more than 30 popular books.
"'Cathy' has held a distinguished place in newspaper comic sections for more than three decades because of Cathy Guisewite's skillful hand," Salem said. "Cathy balances truth and humor and speaks to women in a way that few comics have ever attempted. She is a cultural icon, and her strip has earned its place among the modern greats.
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with Cathy Guisewite in her future creative endeavors and offer our congratulations for her monumental success."