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 gocomics.com.
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.
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:
So, first things first I had to redesign Heart. I didn't know if I wanted to stick a bit closer to Mark Tatulli's style or work with my own. I eventually got there, but here's what she looked like as a child and then tween by Tatulli, and some of my first ideas. pic.twitter.com/U0rQFii8uO
— Vitamin Steenz #BLM (@oheysteenz) April 21, 2020
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.”
You can read Heart of the City online now!