Comic Strip / Safe Havens

Safe Havens is a fantasy comic strip by Bill Holbrook, launched in 1988 and initially set in a daycare center. In 1993 the preschool children began aging in real time, and the strip has followed them as they've moved through K-12, college and now young adulthood. The main character is Samantha Argus, a personable and enthusiastic young woman with the skills of a Mad Scientist who has unlocked the secrets of genetic manipulation.


This comic contains examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Rupert and Rosalind are great geneticists but keep making trouble for themselves. Even more so when separate.
  • Acrophobic Bird: An unusual variation. The dodos drink a potion to grow eagle wings for a distant travel, but to no avail.
  • Artifact Title: For a while, anyway. Originally focusing on Safe Havens Daycare, it moved on to other schools with "Havens" in their names, and the main characters even started a band called Safe Havens. The band wasn't very central, and the "Safe" part still looked somewhat out of place. Nowadays, Samantha teaches at Havens University, and some of her friends' kids have enrolled in the daycare center.
  • Breakout Character: Samantha used to be a supporting character, but she turned out more interesting than Matt.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Palmtop. Then again, snark is pretty well distributed in this comic.
  • Character Blog: Roger has a weekly blog.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Plenty over the years. For instance, the dodos just happen to have a natural song — with English lyrics — that works perfectly with one of Bambi's hits....
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Played with. More than once, Dave got a knee injury that threatened his basketball career.
  • Dumb Dodo Bird: Samantha successfully cloned two dodos, who turned out to be paragons of stupid, self-destructive behaviour.
  • Everyone Can See It: As much as Samantha and (to a lesser extent) Dave used to protest that they were Just Friends, nobody bought it.
    • Palmtop/Pam would initially have you believe that she hates Vince, but...
  • The Faceless: The extremely tall Don and Marcie used to be portrayed as so tall that their heads were always off frame. Their faces have finally appeared — Don's when his son was born and Marcie's when she met the now six foot three Rosalind.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Happens all the time, especially with Rosalind and Rupert.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Variant: Samantha and Dave, thanks to accidental lab potion ingestion, are turned into physical duplicates of each other. On their Wedding Day, no less.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Mild examples thanks to Dave playing basketball in Italy.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Rule of Funny is the only consistently portrayed rule in any sports action.
  • Ignore the Disability: A key demand from Luis, which is why he loves self-centered Jenny instead of the ever-helpful Samantha.
  • Interspecies Romance: Pretty common among the animals. Also Thomas and Remora, though Thomas sometimes becomes a merman.
  • Jerk Ass: Jenny, though she sometimes borders on Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • LEGO Genetics: Leads to both Voluntary Shapeshifting and Involuntary Shapeshifting.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Ming, though she's slowed down a bit after becoming a wife and mother.
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone has at least one.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Thomas, thanks to the nature of merfolk.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Before pairing with Jenny, Luis unintentionally won the hearts of two girls who already had boyfriends. When Dave asked Samantha why Jenny Egotistical of all people wanted Luis, all present females of every species shouted, "HE'S A TOTAL STUD!" May or may not be a case of Informed Attribute.
  • My New Gift Is Lame: Averted and then subverted. Despite the expectations of relatives, Samantha didn't mind inheriting only a ring from her grandma. Especially when she discovered that it acted as a sort of Video Phone to her grandma in Heaven.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Happens sometimes with Involuntary Shapeshifting.
  • Omni Disciplinary Scientist: Samantha. She's practically rewritten the book on genetics and is such a pro at computer security that her dad's boss has a standing offer of employment for her.
  • One-Way Visor: Dave almost always wears one. Ming did initially, which is part of how she first made the acquaintance of him and his friends (including Green-Eyed Monster Samantha).
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Remora reveals many qualities not found in most other works. For example, she can shapeshift into fully human or fully fish forms only up to 12 hours at a time, after which she transforms into the opposite form whether she wants to or not. It is also said that if a human saves a mermaid's life three times, they become a mermaid themselves, although exactly what qualifies as saving their life is Played for Laughs: Samantha found herself turned into a mermaid after something as simple as giving Remora a flotation ring for swimming practice. Remora's also more than 400 years old despite looking the same age as her classmates.
  • Out of Focus: Former protagonist Matt Havens hasn't appeared in ages.
  • Potty Failure: Back when the strip was set in a daycare, kids peeing their pants was a common gag.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Laptop makes these work even in late-middle-aged human form.
  • Retcon: A 1989 strip featured Jenny talking about her brothers. Later strips, however, establish that she's an only child. The creator hand waved this by saying that her brothers were just her imagination.
  • The Rival: Pretty much right from conception, Clay and Candide have always competed against each other in any way they can devise.
  • Secret Marriage: Jenny and Luis.
  • Shared Universe: With On The Fastrack. Samantha's dad works for Fastrack, Samantha sometimes works there, she used to babysit Patina and Rusty, and now she's Patina's RA.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: See Everyone Can See It.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Several characters can speak with animals, but only so long as they mentally retain some aspect of their childhood; those who "grow up" lose the ability and eventually forget they ever had it.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted. Characters keep aging and situations keep changing.
  • Suppressed Mammaries: The female high school basketball team once posed as the male team with this method. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • The Mole: Temporarily became a literal mole thanks to Karmic Transformation.
  • They Do: After more than a decade of buildup, Samantha and Dave got married.
  • This Is Reality: "So... there are restrictions even on time travelers?" "Si. This isn't some fantasy, you know."
  • Time Travel: Has happened a few times of late. In a manner of speaking.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When Sam cloned a pair of dodos, she discovered why they went extinct: They're sapient but have the survival instinct of brain-damaged turkeys.
  • Tsundere: Palmtop, being a cat much of the time, has a generally hostile tone toward former mouse Vince, but she has a pretty obvious reason for saving his life.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Luis is a Latino in a wheelchair.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Luis hates to have anyone help him with his wheelchair. That appears to be his main reason for falling for Jenny Egotistical and not the compulsively helpful Samantha.
  • Up to Eleven: Laptop the border collie can herd anything, even on a microscopic level.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Compared to most of her friends, Samantha is downright normal. She even calls herself by this trope.
    • The 'other' clique in middle and high school was specifically designed to be this.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicStrip/SafeHavens