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Comic Strip / Heart of the City

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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.)

In strips beginning with the run date of April 27, 2020, Tatulli passed Heart of the City to cartoonist Christina "Steenz" Stewart, resulting in a very noticeable change in visual style.


Heart of the City provides examples of:

  • 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. A straight example: A 2006 story arc that starts here begins with Dean creating his own Star Wars movie, then eventually changes to Heart dreaming she has to go to summer school.


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