[[quoteright:246:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/heartofthecity.jpg]]

''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.)

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!!''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. 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 me mention that he hates the idea of Han not shooting first?[[/note]] as much as any other disappointed StarWars fanboy
* 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.
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