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Stone Soup 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. In 2015 the strip ceased daily strips but Sunday strips will continue. 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
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    • Arnold, Evie's second husband, who she married in 2014
    • Biscuit, a hyperactive dog not above sleeping the whole day

  • Joan Stone, Val's sister:
    • Wally Weinstein, Joan's neighbor, whom she married in 2000
    • Andy Gilburt, Wally's nephew, who lives with him due to his Neglectful Parents
    • Max Krabowsky, Joan's 2 year old son from her first marriage
    • Luci, Joan and Wally's first kid who was born July 8, 2007

Other recurring characters include:

  • Phil Jackson, a motorcycle cop whom Val dated on and off, before marrying him in July 2015
  • 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/Holly's basketball coach whom Wally used to date


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Stone Soup contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Phil. He's most likely supposed to be African-American, but his ethnicity has never been specified.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: While Holly and Alix get on each other's nerves all of the time, they really do care about each other:
    • In June 1998, Holly and Alix, when they are supposed to be watching Max, get distracted at the park, so he wanders off and winds up at a donut shop near-by. Val initially only grounds Holly for it, but then Alix asks to get the same punishment because she was also partially responsible for what happened and thinks it's unfair for Holly to take all of the blame.
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  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Holly, who obsesses over boys, freaks out over anything gross, and tries to get away with wearing provocative clothing. She does have her moments of compassion and decency, though.
  • 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.
  • Censor Steam: The cover for the book collection "Privacy is for Wussies".
  • Comic-Book Time: The characters initially held the same age, but were bumped up by a year after the birth of Luci.
  • 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 died from an unspecified illness when they were five and one, respectively. Max's biological father also walked out on him and Joan a year before they met Wally.
  • 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.
  • Hates Wearing Dresses: Alix refuses to wear dresses unless it's for special occasions, and even then she wears shorts underneath.
  • 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. Needless to say, Val wasn't pleased.
  • 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.
  • Lethal Chef: Val is explicitly stated to be this, to the point that her mom told her to stay away from the stove when she saw what she tried to cook.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In late 2001, Evie joins the local Senior Center and signs up for a painting class, where she draws a naked man and submitts it to the art fair. Val and Joan are mortified, while everybody else finds it funny.
  • 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.
  • Parental Fashion Veto: While it's not unusual for Holly to favor pieces that are both high-priced and slutty, in one strip she managed to outdo even herself in such a way that her mother Val finally laid down the law: "NO DAUGHTER OF MINE IS GOING OUT LOOKING LIKE THAT!!!"
  • Parental Neglect: Andy lives with his Uncle Wally because his parents are so occupied with work that they don't pay any attention to him. In fact, when they eventually got divorced, Andy decided to stay with Wally because he gave him the attention he needed.
    Andy: At my folks' I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. It sounds cool. But I realized that even though Uncle Wally is geeky, clueless, and uptight, at least he cares.
  • 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.
  • Stripperific: Holly really likes wearing provocative clothing, much to Val's displeasure.
  • 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. Also happened with Val and Phil until he proposed during the Christmas 2014 storyline.

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