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Aack! Cathy in the Here and Now

 

The first “Cathy” comic strip ran on November 22, 1976. Guisewite remembers the day well; she hid in the bathroom at work for most of it. She was 26 years old and working at an advertising agency in Detroit as a copywriter, and she was terrified that she would be laughed out of the office if anyone saw the strip. For one thing: She didn’t really know how to draw, and she fretted that the artists in her office would pick apart her crude illustrations. But she also worried that her colleagues would discover that she was weak. “I had worked so hard to develop myself as a professional person,” she said, “and this comic strip was coming out about my most vulnerable moments.” She was concerned they would never see her again without thinking of her cartoonish avatar, a lonesome woman waiting for a man to call.

 


above: The first Cathy November 22, 1976

 

“Cathy,” as Guisewite told me several times, was extremely, almost parodically, of its time, those transitional years of American feminism when women were barreling into the workforce in power suits but hadn’t quite reconciled how that decision might tear up every other aspect of their lives..

“I grew up with Betty Crocker as my model and who I thought I’d be,” she said. “And then there was Betty Friedan with The Feminine Mystique, which opened up this universe! After college, I literally gained a lot of weight on one of Betty’s triple-fudge layer cakes while trying to digest the other Betty’s liberation manifesto. I graduated [college] in 1972 with subscriptions from my mother to both Brides magazine and Ms. magazine. That’s why I was unhappy.”

 


above: The last Cathy October 3, 2010

 

Guisewite doesn’t really remember the first time she used the word “AACK!” in “Cathy,” only that one day it wasn’t there, and the next it was a catchphrase she could never live down…When I asked Guisewite about the deeper significance of AACK!, she told me she honestly did not know. “It’s just how you feel, isn’t it?”

 

On the occasion of the release of Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault,

Rachel Syme sits down with Cathy Guisewite to talk about Then and Now,

in a very good profile of cartoon Cathy and cartoonist Cathy.

 

 

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Mario500 (full name)
March/22/2019
@ 8:25 am

“On the occasion of the release of Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault,

Rachel Syme sits down with Cathy Guisewite to talk about Then and Now,

in a very good profile of cartoon Cathy and cartoonist Cathy.”

I had seen some vulgar language in the narrative for an article involving text of “AACK!” and “Cathy Guisewite” at the World Wide Web address for the hyperlink involving text of “Rachel Syme sits down with Cathy Guisewite to talk about Then and Now”.

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