Cathy Guisewite was the creator and cartoonist behind the long-running nationally syndicated comic strip “Cathy,” one of the first mainstream comics created by a woman. Appearing for the first time in 1976, the strip ran for 34 years, chronicling and finding humor in the title character’s eternal struggles with weight, love, work, and her loving but overly involved mother. For Guisewite, it channeled the obsessions and conflicts of an everyday American woman caught between society’s traditional expectations and new feminist ideals.
Guisewite grew up in Midland, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English in 1972. By age 26, she had already made quick strides in the advertising world, becoming the first female vice president at the W.B. Doner & Co agency. She submitted “Cathy” for publication at the urging of her mother with whom she shared the “scribbled stick figure drawings” that she had started doodling to vent her daily frustrations. The strip was immediately picked up for syndication in 1976, and within a few short years, Guisewite was CEO of Cathy, Inc., overseeing the strip, books, TV and mountains of “Cathy” merchandise.
Guisewite is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” from the National Cartoonists Society in 1992. In 1987, she received an Emmy® for “Outstanding Animated Program” for her first animated special, Cathy. Before Guisewite retired the strip in 2010, it appeared in approximately 1,500 newspapers worldwide.