Comic Strip: Heart of the City
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 Liō, it focuses on Heart Lamarr, a high energy elementary schoolgirl in Philadelphia; her proudly geeky best friend Dean, and her frequently overwhelmed single mother.The comic, complete with archives since 1999, can be found at GoComics. (Beware of blocker-bypassing popups.)
This comic provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc / Left Hanging: Several story arcs often end suddenly with no actual conclusion.
- All Just a Dream: Several arcs end this way.
- Bland-Name Product: Heart is often seen playing with Karlie and Ben dolls.
- The City: Center City Philadelphia, to be exact.
- Comic-Book Time: The characters don't age, but the pop-culture references remain current.
- Dead TV Remote Gag: At least it landed on something she wanted to watch.
- Deadpan Snarker: Heart to Dean; Heart's mom to Heart.
- Disappeared Dad: Heart's father left right after she was born to pursue a career in acting.
- The Dog Shot First: Dean, a devout Star Wars fan, is obsessed with making "Han shot first" canon again. So much that he causes George Lucas to have a nervous breakdown in a dream sequence.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In a 1999 sequence, Dean is absolutely shocked to learn that Heart didn't like The Phantom Menace, and then tries to argue why it's good. This reads oddly in retrospect, since Dean has spent the 00's complaining about the prequel movies note as much as any other disappointed Star Wars fanboy
- Epunymous Title: a girl named Heart who lives in The City.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: One arc had Dean becoming a popular jerk; another had him becoming "mature." In both cases, he nearly lost Heart's friendship.
- Fur and Loathing: One of the comic's recurring themes.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Dean's comment about the less-than-courageous gang he's formed.
- The Ghost: Dean's father is referred to several times, but is never seen.
- Give Geeks a Chance: Heart may complain about Dean's nerdy interests, but as the examples from Flowers for Algernon Syndrome above shows, she wouldn't want him any other way.
- Halfway Plot Switch: Subverted for the most part: While the longer arcs do tend to drift a little, they almost always come back around by the end.
- Little Miss Snarker: Heart.
- Mood Whiplash: The Kristallnacht arc.
- Not a Morning Person: Heart.
- Parental Abandonment: Heart's father is absent from her life, pursuing a career as an actor. This accounts for her showbiz fixation.
- Running Gag: Dean would like to remind you that Han shot first.
- Shout-Out: To Salad Fingers, of all things.
- The Unsmile: Heart's "innocent smile".
- Traumatic Haircut: In one installment, the "Ben" doll character is a hairdresser wrecking his clients' hair in a fantasy sequence. 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.
- Volumetric Mouth: Often.