is a comic strip created by Jan Eliot. It began in 1990 as a weekly strip called Sister City
, and went syndicated in 1995 as Stone Soup
. The strip centers on two sisters who live next to each other, as well as their families. These families consist of:
- Val Stone, widowed mother with two daughters:
- Holly, her 13 year old daughter
- Alix, her 10 year old daughter
- Evie, her mother and Holly and Alix's grandmother
- Biscuit, a hyperactive dog
- Joan Stone, Val's sister:
- Wally Weinstein, Joan's neighbor, whom she married in 2001
- Andy Gilburt, Wally's nephew, who lives with him
- Max Krabowsky, Joan's 2 year old son from her first marriage
- Luci, Joan and Wally's first kid
Other recurring characters include:
- Phil Jackson, a motorcycle cop whom Val has dated on and off
- Dickerson, Val's brown-nosing coworker
- Rena, another office buddy of Val's
- Leon, Joan's first husband who occasionally shows up just to mooch off Joan
- Susan, neighborhood vet/basketball coach whom Wally used to date
- Appeal to Worse Problems: Most of the Habit for Humanity strips seem to have a message that since Holly is more worried about immediate concerns than things she can't actually do anything about what with being thirteen and all, she's a horrible person. It probably isn't the author's intent but it kind of looks that way to the untrained eye.
- Ambiguously Brown: Phil. He's most likely supposed to be African-American, but his ethnicity has never been specified.
- Author Tract: This strip from July 8, 2002 is a four-panel rant against Roger Ebert's negative review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, an opinion that Eliot felt Ebert couldn't relate to because it was for women.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Holly.
- Bumbling Dad: Averted; Wally can cook and is at least as competent with Max as is Joan, if not more so.
- Camp Gay: Simon the hairdresser.
- Comic-Book Time: The characters initially held the same age, but have since been bumped up by a year.
- Cool Old Lady: Evie.
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Here for Val, after she apparently finally "had Sandy" with Officer Phil.
- Disappeared Dad: Holly and Alix's father. Also, Max's biological father.
- From Bad to Worse: In one 2002 story arc, Val locks her keys in the house. When scouting the house for an open window, she rips her pants on the rose bush and steps in dog doo. They manage to get Alix through the bathroom window, only for her to fall in the toilet. And then as soon as they get the keys, the car's out of gas.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Biscuit's anus has been drawn into the strip several times.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Holly and Alix.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: Andy's explanation for how a life with Max can be peaceful.
- Intoxication Ensues: Holly ends up drunk after the grandmother unwittingly let her taste the batter of the rum cake she was making in one strip.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Holly. Just like any other big sister, she fights with Alix regularly, but still cares for her as well.
- Last Name Basis: Dickerson.
- Oblivious to Love: Andy was oblivious to Holly's crush on him until years later, when Wally tipped him off.
- Outdoorsy Gal: Alix has a fondness for playing in the mud, catching creepy crawly things, and going exploring in her backyard baby pool.
- Print Long-Runners: 1995 to present.
- Scrabble Babble: Wally puts down "Zuccini" [sic] on a double-word score. He defends himself by saying that's how it's spelled at the produce stand, only to be told "They also sell 'onyons' and 'bokays'."
- Shout-Out / Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Val once joined a book club consisting of Elly from For Better or for Worse, Alice from Dilbert, Rose from Rose Is Rose, and Connie from Zits.
- Title Drop: After a storyline in which Val temporarily loses her job, Joan, Evie and even Holly all pitch in some money to help her through. Val then comments on how every little bit helped, and jokes about having stone soup for dinner (a reference to a French tale in which villagers contribute to a pot of "stone soup" to make it better).
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alix and Holly, respectively. Alix has a fondness for playing in the mud, among other things.
- Will They or Won't They?: Joan and Wally, early on.