Sylvia Has An Announcement

I quit!

That phrase has been running through my brain for years now. After the Chicago Tribune dropped Sylvia, my income was cut by half and Sylvia disappeared from my hometown. I felt the loss. I decided that I wanted Sylvia to be available to her fans and that I would create a presence online for her.

Getting BadGirlChats designed and up and running took over a year. The blog has been more satisfying than I could have imagined. A community of like minds and caring and talented people has grown up around us. You give us sustenance. Sylvia will live on the blog.

I’ve been writing and rewriting the announcement of Sylvia’s retirement from the newspaper business, but nothing seemed quite right to express such a momentous decision.

This morning I heard that Dick Cheney received a new heart. Let us hope that it is a generous heart, one that feels remorse and wants to right as many of his wrongs as possible. What do they do with the old hearts? Are they recyclable?

Sylvia has retired from her comic strip and Dick Cheney got a new heart! Whew! What a week.

But do not worry!

I have 33 years of Sylvia comic strip archives! I’ll be going through them, and every day there will be a strip on the blog which is relevant and probably one you have never seen before. Let me know how you feel…

Thanks, Sylvia and Nicole


  1. Congratulations! You only quit enduring indignities and permitting others to profit off your efforts!

    • I will miss Sylvia–I have followed her FOREVER–and loved her madly. My godbrother Harry and I often discussed the strips in our weekly calls……but everyone has the right to retire. She will be missed. Maybe you would consider doing some books in the future? I have a suggestion–with your great sense of humor, why not aim it as the academic world? Thanks for all the years of laughs, pithy insights, and perfect comeback sayings–SYlvia’s remarks have come in handy on SOOOO many occasions. She will be missed by this bad girl. We will all have to hope that some one from one of the next generations will take over with nearly as much on the mark insight and humor that you have.

  2. noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!! I really hate to hear about this, but wish Sylvia all the best in her retirement. I am very glad you’ll be running old strips. I became a Sylvia addict back in the mid-80s, but lost touch for years until finding her again on Go Comics. I still have a couple of mid-80s planners and a coffee mug.

  3. Karen Kelly says:

    Wait…..Dick Cheney HAD a heart before?
    And if it’s not too intrusive, can we ask if he paid for this procedure (and all of the others over the years) all by himself, with no assistance from the public healthcare trough?
    I didn’t think so.
    But I’m only maundering about that minor thing to cover the distress I’m feeling at the end of the Syl Era……she is a grand old gal and has been one of my funniest friends for years…..I will miss hearing Syl’s reaction to the latest lunacy. The only saving grace is that the lunacy today is eerily like the lunacy of years gone by. No one is sharper or more incisive in the defense of women’s rights…..and no one takes umbrage like Syl….she (like you, Nicole) is a classic…irreplaceable…fundamental.

  4. Sara Paretsky says:

    I still remember the first Sylvia strip I read, where her beauty tip was to cover the mirror with Vaseline. All her zingers all these years have kept me going, but you’ve earned the chance to retire. I hate endings, and feel especially grieved for a lot of reasons, that the Trib undervalued you, that women’s voices still don’t count as much as they should. But then I think how much more our voices count because of what you put out there, day after day, for forty-plus years, and I am grateful. Sad but grateful. Go in peace.

  5. Say it ain’t so, Nicole!

  6. Selfishly, my first response is to be terribly bummed. And my second. And my third. But my fourth is for you. Thank you so much for all the years of wonderful insight and wry humor and everything else good you can imagine anyone saying about Sylvia. It’s all true. And though I’m absolutely sad to see you go, I’m so grateful for what you made! Thank you. (And here’s hoping you’ll now have plenty of time for new and wonderful everything: Seeing the world, seeing your friends. and generally enjoying life!)

  7. Alice Weidner says:

    Nicole! Congratulations! It is always good to choose your own time…. My heart is broken…I just recently found this site…have stacks of your books all over my house…always looked at Sylvia to check the news…have to agree with Sara
    Paretsky and Karen Kelly….we need a woman’s incisive voice to help us clear our heads….I am so happy that you have so much material that you will continue to share with us….and if something happens that you cannot hold your tongue against…well..we’ll be listening….thanks for the ride….

  8. Good for you, Nicole! I have followed Sylvia for years, taped strips on my frig, sent them to friends. I told my husband I couldn’t stop receiving the paper because I had to read Sylvia. So BadGirlChats has been a boon. Thank you so much for your wonderful work.

  9. Wow, what news! I have a thirty-year Sylvia habit to feed…

    I’m profoundly sad but eternally grateful for all the laughs & barbs. Even more grateful for saying what always needs to be said.

    Mazel Tov, dear Syl and Nicole. Keep poking them all with a sharp stick!

  10. Ardyth Eisenberg says:

    I met Sylvia in Boise, Idaho, in the mid-70s. (That girl gets around.) There were only about 50 liberals in the entire state, so aspiring feminists encountered more resistance there than elsewhere. Sylvia was the inspiration for all of us assertive, realistic, slightly goofy women. I will miss her fresh thoughts.

  11. Marcia Pratt says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful strip. I have recently reconnected and now receive you in my in-box every morning. I read you before I read any other email. I quote my favorite lines about dealing with aging–the Vaseline and leaving the country and “You’ve captured my attention, you rascal, you! I look forward to reading the archived Sylvia and wish you a happy retirement! If I were running things your strip would be in every paper! With love and much appreciation, Marcia

  12. The newspaper biz is only a creaky old door that is closing; the blog is a bright new singing door that has opened, letting in more light and possibilities than anything else could. It is all good, so good for you !!!!!!!!!!!! Brava, Gals.

  13. Bob Campbell says:

    I’m sure it’s the right decision for you, Nicole, so congratulations. I feel sad just the same. Sylvia has always had a jarring look. Like Dilbert, it looks nearly primitive. Like Doonesbury, it’s always had a bite just beneath the comedy, and a voice like nobody else’s. I always hoped it would eventually become the same kind of smash they have. Anyway, I wish you wonderful things with Bad Girls. And I’m grateful that the bad girls (my favorite kind) have always let me hang out with them. I’m looking forward to doing that for many years.

  14. For so many years, I would open the Trib and there would be Sylvia saying exactly what I was thinking, but in a clever, unique and ironic way. And she was never mean, even though she was very angry! I look forward to reading those strips again. Nicole, you were given a gift. You made us laugh, often at things that were very hurtful to women. And that laughter energized us to do something about that hurt. Many of us became movers and shakers because of you. I wish you the love and respect that you gave to us. Enjoy retirement!

  15. Oh my.
    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but who said I wanted to be stronger?
    Old ones are okay. I keep Sylvia books in the bathroom and still laugh after reading them several hundred times.
    Just don’t give up the blog. Ever.
    Thank you Sylvia for 30 plus years of support. You are now part of my DNA.

    • Lynn Ziegler says:

      This says it all for me….
      Nicole, is there still time for me to order my “new” Syl? Please get back to me … Congrats on this big decision–I just re-read “Thinner Thighs For Everyone,” and it’s just as wonderful now as it was then, so I will enjoy these archived visits with my old friends (U & Syl.)
      You are part of my DNA. And just know how much you both are loved! hugz, Lynn

  16. Nicole and Sylvia, enjoy your retirement! I will enjoy rediscovering the archives. Thank you for being part of my life.

  17. Awww, but I AM looking forward to seeing your favorites. Maybe that is not good parenting, but so what? Quitting on your own terms with a treasure trove of archives to mine is quite a delicious pursuit in itself. Congratulations. Long live Sylvia in cyberspace.

  18. I’m still in shock from the news. I used to send your strips (sent to me from California by a friend) to the Washington Post comic section. I’m convinced they were afraid of your perception and wit which had so much more to say than their reporting. Their loss. Receiving the strips in the mail each morning is such a blessing. I agree with Connie. Long live Sylvia in cyberspace. May she become our poster girl cyberbabe.

  19. Judy E. Brady says:

    Yes, indeed, long live CyberSylvia.

  20. Connie Forcey says:

    Dear Nicole,
    Along with my Bad Girl sisters ( and brothers) I will miss you and Sylvia and Rita more than words can tell. I gave started each day with you first in the Trib, then online, for many years. Glad I’m “of a certain age”; the old Classic Sylvia strips about to come our way will seem new to me.
    Enjoy your retirement, Nicole. Many thanks for all the great memories and all the laughs.

  21. Soon after the Oregonian dropped Sylvia, I stopped reading the comics page. Soon after that, we stopped our subscription to the paper. I don’t want newspapers or newspaper comics to die, but the editors seem to be doing everything in their power to hasten the demise of both. I was sad to read of your retirement, until I got to the part about the blog continuing. I’ve found a whole new assortment of comics online that I read every morning along with the news. Sylvia is the only one from the papers that has migrated to my RSS feed. So thanks for keeping the blog alive, and I look forward to delving into Sylvia’s history!

  22. Noooooooooo! I’m heartbroken! I’ve been living vicariously through Sylvia and all the other characters for for YEARS……. nothing will ever be the same. 🙁 BUT thank goodness the blog will endure, and the Bad Girls will carry onward!

  23. Oh no, no,no,no,no!!!!!! “Oh the humanity!” The whole day is ruined…probably the whole year, too, Sob, sob, sob. This goes along with our ratty news(sarcasm)paper having dropped over half their “comics”, too. So it looks like one can sign up someplace to have the cyber blog sent directly to one? does carry “funnies”, as they used to be called, and at one point you clicked on stars underneath to rate it. I always gave Nicole’s 5 stars in hope that Sylvia would eventually reappear in print.

    Our paper did print a story about a Librarian’s Convention in town, and I wondered if our Roz Warren had gone in to hear Betty White. There was no mention of Roz 8-( Just one more comment, and then I’ll leave. IMHO it was Erma Bombeck who famously advised, “Smear all the mirrors with Vaseline”. (So who came first?) Although it must be 5:00 someplace, unfortunately it’s still too early to drink. I forget who said that.

  24. I’m among those who just discovered Bad Girls and Sylvia–thanks to my friend, Lorry. Happily for me, the archival Sylvia will be new. So glad the blog will continue even after your well deserved retirement of the strip. Congratulations on a fine body of work, Nicole.

  25. I too have just discovered Sylvia and Nicole and will happily follow the them on the blog. Keep the spirit!

  26. Oh, how I will miss my old friends and comrades. But you deserve a sweet retirement after all the good you have done this bad girl, all bad girls (and boys) and the world at large. You always have had that razor sharp edge that pointed out the absurdities, made us laugh ruefully and spurred us to gather and act. Quite a career. And I look forward to the archives and hope they feature many cats with signs! You will continue to be my favorite humorist. Thanks and may you enjoy this new freedom. And oh, even if they recycled hearts, who want want that scary, embittered Cheney heart.

  27. Connie Marshall says:

    Oh, my. I will miss you more than I can say, but it is the right decision for you. Sylvia has accompanied me and my friends through our travails, and always put heart in us. My favorite? A “swift therapy” strip with the guy who couldn’t commit: Syl’s advice “Dating anyone now? Good. Marry her. Next!” As a thera[ist for thirty plus years, those words often trembled on my lips. Thank you- and I will be enjoying the archives.

  28. This “quitting” makes me very sad. Very sad for ME. Sylvia is so much a part of my world and the development of my worldview. I LOVE her and want to be around her!

    On the other hand, as I step away from my own desires, retirement has been very, very good for me, why not for Sylvia, also? I have developed as a person and as an artist, gotten healthier (I think from not being tortured on a daily basis), and much happier. (Eventually. It took awhile to grow into.) I would never have been able to predict where I have come to be. Part of it’s a function of being able to choose how, and with whom, I spend my time and energies. Part of it’s the maturity to actively deselect that which doesn’t work for me, and to expose myself to that which helps me grow into what (I’m realizing) I want to become. So, this is what “quitting” has done for me, how much more can it do for the talented and beloved Nicole Hollander? After all she has given me, how CAN I begrudge her opportunity? And the good news with Nicole is that she shares her process. I can only hope that that will continue.

    And so, sadly, I give you my blessings. And thank you deeply for what you have shared with us over the last huge chunk of our lives.

  29. Gail Lockman says:

    Godspeed your retirement, Nicole. I enjoy your blog, your guest bloggers and Sylvia, and the cats and the dogs and Rita and all the other characters you have peopled our lives with. My favorite quote from Sylvia is, “Which is harder to find? The perfect man or the perfect purse”? You add a droll response to all of life’s imponderables. Oh, I could wax on, but as they say somewhere, “Don’t be strange”. Love, love and many kisses!

  30. jane levy troy says:

    I always laugh, no matter how old they are. And I’ll live, as will Sylvia. And perhaps you’ll just have to do a new one every once in a while. (Well, I guess it doesn’t matter so very much as long as I can still see Sylvia’s face frequently.)

  31. Toni Rey says:

    Sylvia’s spirit will always be with me. Her cats and the dogs from hell letting our innermost angry feelings become laughable. Nicole and Sylvia I’ll miss you but will follow the blog. You’ve kept me smiling and helped me put things into perspective on many days. Thanks tons.

  32. Nicole Ferentz says:

    Congratulations, Nicole!! Sylvia has had a long and successful run and you’ve inspired and amused a lot of people! I will join you asap!!!!

  33. … a lady always knows when to leave… I am so glad that I will get my daily Sylvia and Nicole here.

    Congratulations Nicole.

  34. You will be missed. Anything to do with reaching 400?

    • Hi Greg, leaving had to do with that phrase: “I quit!” running through my head for years. If you don’t do something about that voice you have to admit you can’t be trusted. About the number 400… You’re right, we have many more readers than that. We haven’t analyzed our analytics for some time. I always find it exhausting. Who comes from what source, how long they stay, how many pages do they look at. Often I have to nap for months after hearing about analytics. n

  35. Thirty-three years! And you don’t look a day over 29.

    Thanks so very much for every day of it.

  36. Thirty-three years is a really long time, so MAYBE there are some strips in there that I haven’t seen before (I’ve read both Chicago papers in which the strip has appeared since the beginning). However, as someone Sylvia’s age, I do understand and sympathize. Should you feel the urge from time to time to commit Sylvia to paper and electrons–we’ll be here.

    (And now the position-wanted oops of last week becomes more understandable.)

    • Do you think Sylvia wrote that? She’s a sly one. I think Deanna make a slip of the clipboard. Her full time job is for a lawyer, probably gets a bit dry after a while. n

      • I’m not leaving Sylvia or Nicole! It’s the law firm I want to leave, and even my lawyer boss is supportive of me moving on to something more in line with my passions and talents.

  37. Jules Julia says:

    I am unable to be happy about this. If I reach as far down as I can, I can understand of course, you have a right to retire. I feel silly – it’s only a comic strip. Except, it’s no more “only a comic strip” than Doonesbury is.

    Of course I have to wish you well, and I do. And I suppose I can always hope you come out of retirement, like the rock stars do.

    Hoping until then, I remain,

    In training to be tall and blond.

    (Is it too much, to shed a tear?)

    • I am very touched to think that you are unhappy about Syl leaving the newspaper world. And that you’re considering not forgiving me…But she will be here on the blog and I am considering doing a once a week panel of her thoughts. It would be so much more immediate than the strip which has to be done 4 weeks ahead. Syl is pouting now. I must go to her. n

  38. No more new Alien Lovers?! Oh noooo. Nicole, you should be on The View. Shall we launch a FB campaign?

    • Alien Lovers, hmm.

      I should be on the View but I hate panels, on panels you have to wait your turn. You either look like a wimp or a show-off. I think I have to have my own show.

  39. I have decided to be totally in denial about this. Not quite sturdy enough to deal with the reality of a world without Sylvia.

  40. Congratulations! I have no words to describe how sad I feel. All the best to Sylvia and you! I look forward to seeing you in the blogosphere.

  41. My cats haven’t been able to function for days and I truly understand their sense of loss.
    I’ve tried to explain that newspapers are swirling down the drain.
    I will save a newspaper for them to sit on, but they will have to change old habits and become fans of the
    “Bad Girl Chat” blog.

  42. As someone who always dreamed of having a strip in the newspaper, it truly saddens me to see established artists like yourself suffer the effects of the continual death of the comics page. Congratulations on 33 years, I hope your new ventures give you happiness and prosperity for your sake and all the other aspiring cartoonists.

  43. Syl and i had to stop reading these for a bit…I had tears in my eyes…You know Syl, she pretended she was eating a raw onion. Thank you. I have a few ideas . I am thinking and watching television…I’ve been glad of the chance to draw for the blog. Satisfying to do drawings in color and to put down my thoughts immediately. I had to think 4 weeks ahead for the strip. Luckily there were the Republican Debates and that went on forever, grist for the mill. Are they still talking? n and S

  44. Dear Nicole! Thank you for all the wonderful years of Sylvia. Thank you for reading my work in the 80s, getting me to New York, encouraging me, introducing me to so many great cartoonists, being my inspiration, being the shining light of iconic, intelligent witty cartoons all these years. You have enriched us all! long live Sylvia. All my best!

  45. Nancy Caddigan says:

    Dear Nicole & Sylvia:

    Happy Retirement. Good for you – do all the things you love to do without the hassle of deadlines. I will miss your daily wit and witticism. But look forward to your choice glimmers and any new insights.

    Blessed Be!

  46. Thirty-three years!!!!!! Geesh…. Well, we will miss you, but then, you’ll be here, so we don’t have to have Sylvia withdrawal.


    Your friend and fellow feline fanatic…..allia and the puddies, MacDuff, the brave, Angela Dah-ling, and Sineady Cat the Fraidy Cat. ,,^..^,,

  47. My feelings are extremely mixed! Anger at the Trib for dropping the strip, sadness that you’ve chosen to retire, happiness that your time is now your own, thankfulness for all the smiles and laughter you’ve given us, and about twenty other emotions that I can’t sort yet.

  48. AdmNaismith says:

    Wit the absence of The Peanuts, Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, and Boondocks, you were the only daily strip left worth reading.
    Are you sure you don’t want to pull a Foxtrot and only work on Sundays?

  49. Robert Muller says:

    I first discovered Sylvia when I started out as a bookseller – at a midwest national chain that is no more. Sylvia was always – how can I say? – right on! I owned all the collections up to the point I gave them all away to an ailing – female – friend, who was also an avid fan.

    I am looking forward to viewing past strips here (or in email!) and wish Nicole and Sylvia a fantastic retirement.

    Why do I think there is a “Sylvia” muscial? Or, on the other hand, why isn’t there one? They could “fly” Sylvia and her bath tub over the audience and . . . oh wait . . .

  50. Sorry to see you go, but it’s been a great run. I’ve already added Bad Girl Chats to my favorites list and will be back often.

    I love Robert Muller’s idea of a musical. Instead of “Cats” it could be “Psycho Kitties.” I’d see it and I hate musicals. Wishing you the very best…

  51. This is sad and exhilarating news. My day starts with Sylvia and the daily comics. A several years ago when the Seattle Times dropped “Sylvia”, there was a protest and she was brought back. The letter of thanks from Nicole Hollander is one of my treasured possessions. But a few years ago, the Times dropped “Sylvia” again and no amount protest would bring her back; I had no choice but to drop my subscription and start reading online. I will do my best to keep “Sylvia” around as she is a barometer of life. Good luck, Ms. Hollander, I’ll keep reading.

  52. I’ve been one of your fans forever – bought the books and saw the play in the 80’s and loved them all! I stopped reading the comics in the Trib (OK, except for Doonesbury) when you were dropped. But I’m so happy you have this blog! Thanks so much for your insight and wisdom infused with humor. You make many of us feel like we’re not the only feminists on the planet!

  53. Janet H says:

    I’m a bit late seeing this, catching up on emailed posts of yours tonight. My cat Sam is wailing in the background–I think he can’t find his sign or he would be holding it up. I’ve been reading your comics forever, it seems, and remember how pleased I was to discover a real feminist comic. I will certainly keep reading your blog! Thank you for many laughs and satisfied ‘Uh huh–you tell ’em, girl!” moments.

  54. Vivian Williford says:

    Dear Nicole, I finally turned on my computer after a long winter break and one of the first things that was on my catch-up list was to search for this post. “I QUIT” must have felt so wonderful to release. You will be gone only on the comic pages but never from all you fans hearts. So glad that you are keeping the “Bad Girls Chat” so we all can enjoy your more recent thoughts about the world and the world’s cats. All the best wishes for your new found freedom, it’s a wonderfilled adventure.

  55. GoComics just ran out of Sylvia cartoons, and I was curious why. Found this blog, which is happy and sad. Happy to have found you, so profoundly sad that there will be no new Sylvia cartoons. I own every book, and have read every day for at least 3o of those years. I even saw the Sylvia play and Nicole Hollander in a one woman show! My cats regularly sing ‘everything here is mine’. Sylvia will be greatly missed.

  56. Marcia Kirkpatrick says:

    Well, I do wish you the best and if retirement is it for you, then may it be glorious. BUT I’ve been telling folks that you were what was going to keep me sane in the coming months. Oh well. Why start now.

    Thanks for your many gifts of “you are not alone” to all, especially women like me, your age (ok sixteen months younger), who went through being yanked from Betty Crocker to Madonna as role models and from FDR to George Bush and god-knows-what-next.

    Thanks for Sylvia’s wardrobe. May your next career be online designer clothing by Nicole.

    Thanks for loving Chicago

  57. Eidolon says:

    Like many others, I was disappointed at the sudden absence of Sylvia in my daily comics. I was also very pleased to find this site – very pleased indeed.

    I just want to let you know how much I have enjoyed the strip over the years and that I will add this site to my bookmarks as soon as I get back home.

  58. Dear Nicole,

    You need your own show? I hear Oprah has an opening. You go, bad girl!

  59. Fan o' Sylvia says:

    We’ve missed Sylvia since the Raleigh paper dropped it about three years ago, but have kept up with her online. We encourage Sylvia to forge ahead into the new media; we shall follow.

  60. I am way behind on this, but I recently realized my Sylvia was gone from the paper. I googled and discovered she was retired. Wow, I am 56 and have been reading Sylvia since before I was her age. Thank you, thank you, thank you from me and my cats for all those many years of joy and philosophy. I guess Sylvia is in her bath and the cats are standing with signs (who cares about the dog). Ok, I am on for the blog. I am not happy about this, but congratulations Nicole H. You are a genius and I love your work.

  61. Deb Palmer says:

    I used to find your comics in The Funny Times and was very sad to not find them. Practicing law in a Red State and for many years as the sole woman lawyer in my area, I survived with humor and laughter and Sylvia!!! I bought all your books, then bookstores started closing in my rural area. I was so happy to find Bad Girl Chats!!! It’s interesting to me how much the comics remain relevant all these years later. Thank you for all your years of work. You remain a wonderful voice and an important part of my life.

What do you think about that?