You’ve heard that Cathy is finally being put out her misery. You’ve already commented on whatever blog you first read the news on about how much Cathy sucked. By this point you’ve probably encountered some weirdo going on about how Cathy is a feminist triumph or something. You probably thought they were talking out of their hinder, and as a card carrying feminazi I can assure you that no, you aren’t at fault for thinking so.
The only way Cathy could be described as feminist is if you define feminist as “a woman who works.” You’ve come a long way, baby, good for you. Otherwise you are an insufferable, neurotic, materialistic mopstring of a person. All this would be forgivable if you were funny or well drawn. Which you aren’t.
“But-but-but WAIT,” you say, “Cathy was groundbreaking! It was the first newspaper comic written by a woman and it was all about a modern woman doing modern woman things!”
Now you’re the one talking out of your hinder! Congrats! You’re so wrong you don’t even know! Cathy wasn’t the first strip by a woman. It’s not even close. Women have been cartooning, and getting published in the funnies, since the medium first began.
Full disclaimer: this post is really just a plug for a book I like. Go buy the Great Women Cartoonists by Trina Robbins. Or borrow it from your super cool feminist comic geek friend. I’m on loan if you don’t have one.
Some pre-Cathy women cartoonists covered in this book:
Rose O’ Neill– A lot of people have heard the word “kewpies” but don’t know exactly what they are, other than how cute they’re supposed to be. They’re basically pre-Precious Moments era Precious Moments-esque dolls. That were first created in comic form by Ladies Home Journal cartoonist, Rose O’ Neill, in the first decade of the 20th century.
Also, she lived in the Ozarks! Local interest bonus!
Nell Brinkley- In the 1920’s this chick was the Queen of Comics. She drew women that were dubbed the Brinkley Girls, and started a fashion craze. Check out those crazy curls!
Ethel Hays- She did another flapper comic, Flapper Fanny. A comic about a woman? By a woman? CRAZY!
Martha Orr- You ever read that unintentionally hilarious soap opera comic, Mary Worth? When it first came to life in the Great Depression it was called Apple Mary, and it was created by this woman. It also wasn’t that bad, certainly not the train wreck it is today.
Edwina Dumm- This unfortunately named woman was one of America’s first political cartoonists. She also did normal comics too, several of which were about the same longhaired terrier with different names.
Dale Messick- Created Brenda Starr, which chronicles the adventures of a woman reporter and still runs circles around Cathy today. Her real name was Dalia, but she adopted the pseudonym Dale to get past sexist editors, and became the first female syndicated comic strip artist.
Tarpe Mills- All I know is, her Miss Fury was the first female created superhero, and the sample of her work in the book is the coolest thing ever. Look at this stuff.
…yeah that’s a horrible scan, but still! Look at those eyebrows in the fourth panel! LOOK!
Jackie Ormes– She was the first female African American cartoonist to appear in the funnies. She created Torchy Brown, which was also the first comic to star a black woman. Hey, if you borrow Robbins’ book from me, you can pay me back by buying this book, and letting me borrow it.
With all this raw talent, you should now have a knee-jerk reaction whenever someone calls Cathy Guiswite the first female cartoonist. I summon you to go back to that blog post you came from, and set the record straight.