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January 22, 1978 - Image 12

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-01-22
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Page Four -Sunday, January 22, 1978-The Michigan Daily
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by patty montemurn
C OMIC STRIP connoisseurs haveaennges in me are really
been seen chuckling lately over her."
the dilemmas of a single and Whatever those changes
slightly spheroid career woman, known has received mixed resp
to family, friends and flames as Cathy. people who follow daily
Her nronensitU for one-liners - Cathv"Some letters said,

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, Jc

have followed Cathy's own battle with
Despite constant nudging and reas-
surances from concerned friends and
her hovering mother, Cathy, like her r
creator, hasn't weaned herself from tar
and nicotine.
"Four weeks ago, when I knew I was
going to be writing this smoking series, I
figured I should actually quit smoking,
at least for a couple of days," Guise-
white explains, lighting up another cig-
"It was just torture. I couldn'teven
make it through one day," she laments.
"I did think about it when I was drawing
those smoking strips, though."
Cathy makes a living by testing house-
hold products -for a market opinion
research firm. Guisewhite gave her that
job because she thought it would lend a
wealth of great material. "It's nowhere
near as hysterical a profession as I
thought," she says.
Of her own newly-found profession,
Guisewhite says, "It's a great way -to
make a living." She works out of her
Southfield home, is up by nine thinking
of strip ideas in her studio/den, and is
easily distracted by her large mutt,

Garry Trudeau LDoonesbury] is her
favorite cartoonist, and she likes Pea-
nuts and thinks B.C. "is almost always
hysterical." On her dining room wall
hangs a framed lithograph print of a

Ziggy cartoon, signed with love from
author Tom Wilson - a friend from
Guisewhite's University days when she
was trying to sell greeting card prose to
American Greetings, where Wilson


Because Guise
professional futi
is unclear. Gui
torn between tli
really sees ther
turous side of lif
I just don'tkr
in diferent dir
Readers will1
develops. Cathy
tics or show bus
strangers each
How does a rela
cope with such e:
"I like to thint
women, who are
chuckle at their
strip," she sigh:
the humiliation
personal lifet

reflected iri
ponses from
the trials of
yeah, you're

I like to think that people, es-
pecially women, who are going
through the same aggravations, can
get some kind of chuckle from the

11U FA VY HIy l V1.11V-
"Never put your jeans in the dryer the
day after you've pigged out at McDon-
alds" and "The best relationships are
always either in the past tense or future
tense" - parallel the life of a 1972
University graduate who bankrolled the
frustrations of fighting flab, fatigue and
unrequited infatuation into the funny
pages of 125 newspapers..
"I'm surprised everyday that I'm a
cartoonist," marvels Catherine Guise-
white, also known to family, friends and
flames as Cathy.
Sitting in her Southfield condomin-
ium, the 27-year-old Midland, Michigan
native can't quite explain how an .
English major turned advertising copy-
writer, who didn't know how to draw,
ends up as a successful cartoonist.
She blames it on her mother.
Rather than pen letters to her parents
in Dayton, Guisewhite sketched stick
figure cartoons about her life in Detroit
- "pretty much out of frustration" -
and mailed the vignettes home.
"I started seeing a little humor in my
misery and started drawing little scenes
from my life and from my friends'
lives," she recalls.
Mom saved the sketches and, nearly
two years ago, pestered her reluctant
daughter into submitting the drawings
to a publishing syndicate. An immediate
and affirmative response from Univer-
sal Press Syndicate put Guisewhite
behind the easel and into a new career.
Meanwhile, Guisewhite taught herself
to draw from' "you-too-can-learn-how-
to-draw-cartoons guidebooks." Late-
night doodling sessions after her job in a
Detroit advertising agency proved help-
ful, too.
"The sketches were a great way for
me to say everything that I hadn't been
able to say during the day and let off a
little steam and laugh at myself."
Her strip finally debuted on Nov. 22,
Cathy Guisewhite learned to laugh at
herself and now funny page afficiandos
Patty Montemurri is a Daily man-
aging editor.


V~ AY. %%A U4iNVMl , J , Jv
just like me, you really know the
problems I'm going through'," says
Guisewhite. Others came from women
who complained that Cathy was too sub-
missive and easily put down.
"And, of course, they were doubly in-
censed that a woman was doing the
strip," adds Guisewhite.
When Cathy made it into the funnies
(the Detroit Free Press was the first to
pick it up and Guisewhite has the
printing plate of the first strip on her
studio wall), Guisewhite became only
the second woman to crack the male
world of the comics, joining Brenda
Starr's creator, Dale Messick.
says, has abated now- Cathy isn't
the loser she used to be, always
depending on Irving and patiently
awaiting his call.
"As I look over the earlier strips,
while Cathy was experiencing the same
problems then as she is now, I just let
her lose a little too often," she says.
"And I think if the strip offers any in-
spiration to any woman, and I like to
think it does, I just can't let her be
smashed down that often.
"I got disturbed when I kept looking in
the paper and kept seeing her being
dumped on. It actually started to bother
me, probably even more so, because,"
she admits, "you know, she actually is
Long, dark tressed frame Guisewhite's
face and her slender figure looks more
than a few sizes smaller than Cathy's.
Actually, Guisewhite says she was a
"blimp" in her college days. Working
behind the counter at Drake's, the Delta
Delta Delta pledge recalls how she was
"mad for pecan rolls" and "always whip-
ped-up bigger chocolate milkshakes than
was necessary, so I could drink the left-
Though her food binges have ended,
Guisewhite is now a nicotine freak -
and for the past couple of weeks on the
Free Press' comics page, right between
Dondi and Gasoline Alley, local readers

all over the country

are laughing with

Guisewhite says she thinks the strip is
successful because "it is personal, it
really is material taken out of some-
one's life.
"Some of the best stuff I write comes
out of the most personal feelings I
have," she says. "When the strip first
came out, it was a little embarassing Vo
know everybody could read it. I've-
gr tten used to that and I always tell
myself that nobody ever connects us
that closely."
But, of course, people do. Guisewhite
says the first question people ask is
whether there really is an Irving,.
Cathy's bull-headed, unaffectionate

boy friend. Says Guisewhite of the myth-
ical Irv: "He's a combination of all the
negative experiences I've had with
guys. "
Cathy sticks with Irving, Guiaewhite
explains, because "he's a challenge."'
Like her creator, Cathy is "always
going after the guy who is least likely to
be interested in me."
The Cathy character has changed.
over the months, partly in response to
criticism from readers, and partly
because Guisewhite says she's grown.
"Cathy the character has changed at
least a bit, and Lattribute some of that
to my own changing. I've become more
sure of myself. I'm not quite-as likely to
,allow myself to be put down, and those

The real Cathy at her easel.P

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