“Cathy Minus Cathy” In honor of Cathy Guisewite retiring

Cathey Guisewite

Neurotic everywoman Cathy has been lamenting the struggles of dieting, dating and shopping for 34 years on the comics pages of newspapers worldwide, but 60-year-old creator Cathy Guisewite has announced she’s calling it quits in October.

The strip has lots of fans and lots of detractors and not much in between. In recent years it has become one of the few things denounced by both staunch feminists as well as staunch heterosexual males. Feminists are angered by the stereotypes of women the strip seems to reinforce while men are from Mars and the strip (to Guisewite’s credit) is absolutely from Venus so the masculine reaction is almost always, “I don’t get it,” or “now why is this supposed to be funny?”

Undoubtedly Guisewite tapped into something real with the strip, exploring the psychology of being a normal, everyday single woman in a capitalist society that often emphasizes appearance over substance. Universal Uclick’s vice president of rights and acquisitions John Glynn, 42, says: “Cathy really broke a lot of ground in the ’70s. … She was talking about what a real woman goes through and the real-life concerns of women, and that I think was something very different for the comics section.”

From The Chicago Tribune:

“The subjects like weight and style and look are these microcosms of all the extra expectations that are placed on women,” Guisewite said. “As women have become more powerful and stronger, it has become a lot more complicated for women to feel good about themselves. I like to think that ‘Cathy’ is the voice for women who can’t say, ‘I feel stupid about something silly, but it still really ruined my day.'”

As far as the reason for her retirement, Guisewite tells the Tribune:

“I suddenly found myself up against this wall: That if I don’t quit now, then when?” Guisewite said. “My daughter is 18, and she is going into her last year at high school, and I want to be completely available for her before she moves out. My parents live in Florida, and I really need to be available for them too. Also, I am 60 and I just realized that there is a lot more that I want to do creatively.”

Regardless of your opinion about the strip, everyone will agree that the comics page just won’t be the same without “Cathy.” In honor of her passing I’ve created a couple examples of what a world minus Cathy will be like. In the spirit of the existentially hilarious “Garfield Minus Garfield,” I present “Cathy Minus Cathy.” (Click images for larger photos in the gallery)

In honor of creator Cathy Guisewite's retirement

In honor of creator Cathy Guisewite's retirement

Check out my other tributes to “Garfield Minus Garfield” in the forms of “Ziggy Minus Ziggy,” “Marmaduke Minus Marmaduke” and “Hagar Minus Hagar!”