The Schmooze

Who Is Sylvia? What Is She?

In February, the Chicago Tribune stopped printing the syndicated comic strip “Sylvia,” by Chicago-based artist Nicole Hollander, and cries of outrage echoed across Lake Michigan.

The protesters included detective story author Sara Paretsky, who wrote to the Tribune: “There are precious few women cartoonists, and Nicole is the only one with a daily strip who presents the believable struggles of women in contemporary society.”

Hollander, born in 1939 to a Chicago Jewish family, has been writing and drawing “Sylvia” for three decades, as a quirky, humorous feminist statement of disdain for right-wing extremists, overweening men, and other blots on the horizon. As Jules Feiffer writes, Hollander “makes what’s depressing funny,” yet “because she is right, and she is funny, she has no power whatsoever.”

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Who Is Sylvia? What Is She?

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