Who would have thought that a grey-haired, cantankerous old woman would have everyone in splits with her acerbic wit? And even stranger – who would have thought that she could have been created by a man? This sourpuss of a woman who is crabbiness personified looks straight at you from the cartoon she’s in and gives you the laughs you need for the day. It doesn’t stop there however. She also makes you think – and makes you want to say, ‘So what?’ to what the world thinks.
She was ‘born’ in 1986 and her creator John Wagner, an artist working with Hallmark created her for a smaller greeting card line in Hallmark called Shoebox Greetings. She was a character inspired by his mother, his grandmother and his maiden aunts. The staff at Hallmark was concerned – would the world accept her? Would the older audience out there take it amiss? They really had no cause to worry – everyone just welcomed her and she became an icon for the older woman. In fact, she made it fashionable to be crabby! No topic is too sacrosanct for Maxine to sneer at – no one is above the line of her direct hitting barbs of sarcasm. And the nastier she is, the more you love her!
From greeting cards to comic books to all kinds of licensed merchandise – you’ll find Maxine’s scowl peering at you and you can’t help but smile. For John Wagner, if he could put a smile on the face of an older woman who was lonely and felt out of sorts with the rest of the world, he was happy. What no one expected was that Maxine would grow to become a cult and that her cartoon strip would be one of the most eagerly awaited ones in over one hundred newspapers. Who better than Maxine to honour this International Women’s Day?