''Heart of the City'' is a comic strip that has been running in newspapers since 1998. Created by Mark Tatulli, who also writes and draws the macabre ''ComicStrip/{{Lio}}'', it focuses on Heart Lamarr, a [[GenkiGirl high energy]] elementary schoolgirl in UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}}; her [[ProudToBeAGeek proudly geeky]] best friend Dean, and her frequently overwhelmed single mother.

The comic, complete with archives since 1999, can be found at [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity GoComics]]. (Beware of blocker-bypassing popups.)

!!''Heart of the City'' provides examples of:

* AbortedArc / LeftHanging: Several story arcs often end suddenly with no actual conclusion.
* AllJustADream: Several arcs end this way.
* BlandNameProduct: Heart is often seen playing with [[{{Franchise/Barbie}} Karlie and Ben]] dolls.
* TheCity: Center City Philadelphia, to be exact.
* ComicBookTime: The characters don't age, but the pop-culture references remain current.
* DeadTVRemoteGag: [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2009/07/16/ At least it landed on something she wanted to watch.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Heart to Dean; Heart's mom to Heart.
* DisappearedDad: Heart's father left right after she was born to pursue a career in acting.
* TheDogShotFirst: Dean, a devout ''Franchise/StarWars'' fan, is obsessed with making "Han shot first" canon again. So much that he causes Creator/GeorgeLucas to have a nervous breakdown in a dream sequence.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In a 1999 sequence, Dean is absolutely shocked to learn that Heart didn't like ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', and then tries to argue why it's good. While this lines up with fan opinion at the time, this reads oddly in retrospect, since Dean has spent the 00's complaining about the prequel movies [[note]]And about Han not shooting first. Did we mention that he hates the idea of Han not shooting first?[[/note]] as much as any other disappointed StarWars fanboy since then.
* EpunymousTitle: [[DontExplainTheJoke A girl named Heart who lives in]] TheCity.
* FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome: One arc had Dean becoming a popular jerk; another had him becoming "mature." In both cases, he nearly lost Heart's friendship.
* FurAndLoathing: [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2003/03/30 One]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2006/01/15 of the]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2001/01/28 comic's]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2004/02/15 recurring]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/1999/11/07 themes]].
** Interestingly, FurAndLoathing pops up in [[ComicStrip/{{Lio}} Tatulli's other comic]] from time to time, albeit [[http://www.gocomics.com/lio/2009/02/08 very]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/lio/2009/02/25 differently]].
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2011/07/12 Dean's comment about the less-than-courageous gang he's formed.]]
* TheGhost: Dean's father is referred to several times, but is never seen.
* GiveGeeksAChance: Heart may complain about Dean's nerdy interests, but as the examples from FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome above shows, she wouldn't want him any other way.
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: {{Subverted}} for the most part: While the longer arcs do tend to drift a little, they almost always come back around by the end.
** A straight example: A 2006 story arc that starts [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2006/04/10 here]] begins with Dean creating his own ''StarWars'' movie, then eventually changes to Heart dreaming she has to go to summer school.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Heart.
* LittleMissSnarker: Heart.
* MoodWhiplash: The Kristallnacht arc.
* NotAMorningPerson: Heart.
* ParentalAbandonment: Heart's father is absent from her life, pursuing a career as an actor. This accounts for her showbiz fixation.
* RunningGag: Dean would like to remind you that [[TheDogShotFirst Han shot first]].
* ShoutOut: To [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2008/09/08/ Salad Fingers]], of all things.
** One series of strips parodied Literature/{{Cinderella}}, with Heart being helped by her "fairy bird-mother" to attend a Jonas Brothers concert.
* TraumaticHaircut: In one installment, the "Ben" doll character is a hairdresser wrecking his clients' hair in a fantasy sequence. [[spoiler: Then Heart's mother tells her that she won't replace her dolls as it's not her fault Heart cut their hair off. Heart blames it on Ben.]]
* TheUnsmile: [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2010/12/19/ Heart's "innocent smile".]]
* VolumetricMouth: Often.