Did you know that one of America's favorite comic strips was created right here in Michigan? The writer and artist was, in fact, from Midland.

The strip was called “Cathy” and its creator was Cathy Guisewite. When Cathy was 26, her comic character began running in 66 newspapers across the country.

In September 1950, Cathy was born in Dayton, Ohio and raised in Midland since she was of pre-school age. She was a student at Midland High School and graduated in 1968. Afterward, she went to the University of Michigan where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in 1972. Interested in media work, Cathy decided to enter advertising, the same as her father. In 1976, she became vice-president of the W.B. Doner Company near Detroit.

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One of Cathy's outlets that helped relieve stress and emotional episodes, was by drawing her own personal cartoons that depicted her own life problems and growing pains. She would include her cartoons in letters to her parents; her mother loved them and urged her to send the 'toons to a publisher. What did she have to lose? Nothing. So she did. But not to do a continuing strip, but to get her mom to quit buggin' her about it.

To her shock, the publishing company offered her a contract to do the 'toons and in 1976 “Cathy” was appearing in 66 national newspapers. She eventually quit the ad biz and concentrated on “Cathy” full-time. By the mid-1990s, the comic strip was in approximately 1,400 newspapers. (She also won an Emmy award for "Cathy" on CBS: the Outstanding Animated Program in 1987).

What made the strip so popular? According to Guisewite, "I believe the women I was speaking to in the early years of my strip were women like me, who were at that age in our 20s where we were kind of launched into adulthood with a foot in both worlds and no way to really express it.” 

By 2010, she had enough. After 34 years, “Cathy” was retired by her creator. Appearing for the final time on October 3, 2010.

Comic Strip Creator Cathy Guisewite of Midland


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