Christina “Steenz” Stewart has taken over the daily comic strip Heart of the City, which you can read in newspapers or for free right now online at

Heart of Heart of the City.

Heart of the City was first launched on November 23rd, 1998. Created by cartoonist Mark Tatulli, the strip centers on Heart Lamarr, who is currently in middle school (as stated in Steenz’s first strip for the series, which ran on Monday, April 27th, 2020).

Set in Philadelphia, the comic follows Heart as she deals with the challenges of middle school while dreaming of a life of fame. She’s joined by her best friends, Star Wars-obsessed Dean, her long-suffering mother Addy, and a whole cast of other characters, including Heart’s other close friend, Kat.

Heart, Dean, and Cat in the 4/28/20 strip

While the characters may be familiar, Steenz has brought her own irresistible style to Heart of the City. This will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has read 2018’s Archival Quality, the excellent McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel by Steenz and Ivy Noelle Weir. One of the highlights of that story are the character’s incredibly emotive facial expressions: Steenz has a knack for producing genuine emotion on her characters’ faces, and that knack is already paying off in Heart of the City.

You’ll want to be sure and follow Steenz on Twitter, where she has been posting colored panels from the daily strips and shared some fascinating insights into the process of adapting the comic to her own distinct style:

Steenz has also created a new character for the series, Charlotte. As Steenz explained on Twitter, she added the character to compensate for a lack of POC in the strip. Although Charlotte was originally going to be a “gothy mysterious girl” she instead became a “full-on weird kid.”

Charlotte of Heart of the City

You can read Heart of the City online now!


  1. I was hoping this change was a temporary fill in while the artist had a medical issue. If this is the new Heart then count me out! It’s positively NOT FUNNY OR ENTERTAINING! The new author has to step up the game big time!!

  2. Was also hoping the strip would go ‘back to normal’ soon I am not found of the shaded characters and, although I read it every day, I am no sure what the story line is.

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