Smash Pages Q&A: Steenz

The cartoonist who took over ‘Heart of the City’ this year discusses the comic strip process, her focus on the characters, her other projects and more.

Christina “Steenz” Stewart has been making comics for years, but earlier this year, she took over making the daily syndicated comic strip Heart of the City when its creator Mark Tatulli stepped down. Since then, as a reader I think she’s managed to improve the strip, but she’s also found a way to transform the strip while remaining true to what it’s always been. Instead of a gag strip, as Tatulli did, Steenz has focused more on character, introducing new people and grounding the comic and the characters as middle schoolers getting older and starting to see the world and their lives in new ways.

Even before taking over the strip, Steenz has emerged as a writer, artist and editor to be reckoned with. She was the artist of the award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality and is working on a graphic novel about the history of tabletop roleplaying. She’s been a contributor to anthologies like Elements and Dead Beats. A former editor at Lion Forge, Steenz edited the recent graphic novel adaptation of Work For A Million and teaches cartooning at Webster University. We spoke recently about how she worked on the strip, bringing her own voice and approach to it, and why she’s not addressing COVID-19 in the strip.

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Comics Lowdown: Awards round-up

See recently announced nominees and winners for several different awards.

Today seems like a good day for an awards rundown …

The nominees for the L.A. Times Book prize have been announced, including the five books chosen in the “Graphic Novel/Comics” category. They include:

  • Michelle Perez and Remy Boydell, The Pervert
  • Eleanor Davis, Why Art?
  • Aisha Franz, … Is Real
  • Jérôme Ruillier, The Strange
  • Tillie Walden, On a Sunbeam

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium on April 12, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

The L.A. Times has given an award in the graphic novel category since 2009, when Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli won the award. Other previous winners include The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines and Beverly by Nick Drnaso.

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