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'Cathy' comic strip to end after 34 years

By Melissa Gray, CNN
  • 'Cathy' has run in hundreds of newspapers for 34 years
  • Cathy's comic neuroses have made her a popular character
  • Creator Cathy Guisewite says it will end in October
  • Guisewite wants to spend more time with her family

(CNN) -- For 34 years, she has obsessed about food, relationships, work, and her mother -- but now Cathy the comic-strip character is about to say goodbye.

Creator Cathy Guisewite says she is ending the comic strip in October in order to spend more time with her family and pursue new creative ventures.

The strip, which has run in some 1,400 newspapers, will run for the last time October 3, according to Universal Uclick, the syndicate.

"After almost 34 years of meeting newspaper deadlines," Guisewite said in a statement, "I'm facing some personal deadlines whose requirements simply exceed my ability to procrastinate any longer: an 18-year-old daughter who needs a full-time mom to help her through her last year of high school and beyond ... beloved parents I want to be able to visit more often ... and a creative biological clock, which is urging me to try something else while I can."

Cathy has been a hit with people who appreciated her comic neuroses, which often resulted in her trademark exclamation, "AACK!" As a result, she has been featured on everything from refrigerator magnets and coffee mugs to calendars and T-shirts.

The titles of Cathy book collections reveal the character's obsession with weight, food, shopping and shoes: Abs of Steel, Buns of Cinnamon (1997); Shoes: Chocolate for the Feet (2000); and Wake Me Up When I'm a Size 5 (1985).

An early collection from 1982 had a cover showing Cathy on her sofa, surrounded by her TV, snacks, and a teddy bear. The title: Another Saturday Night of Wild and Reckless Abandon.

Guisewite began the strip when she started working in the mid-1970s, said Lee Salem, president and editor of Universal Uclick.

"Cathy Guisewite would send her mother drawings describing the latest trauma in her life as a single young career woman, and in response, her mother urged her to try her hand at a comic strip," Salem said in a statement. "The day the submission arrived in our office, we had a contract out to Cathy in return mail. Seven months later, the strip began in newspapers."

It wasn't an immediate hit, but Cathy steadily gained popularity and eventually appeared in hundreds of newspapers. There are more than 30 Cathy books.

"Cathy has held a distinguished place in newspaper comic sections for more than three decades because of Cathy Guisewite's skillful hand," said Salem. "Cathy balances truth and humor and speaks to women in a way that few comics have ever attempted. She is a cultural icon and her strip has earned its place among the modern greats."