Also: news on Dina Norlund, Cartoonist Cooperative, the Minicomic Awards and more.
With the comic strip Dilbert being dropped by both newspapers and its distributor after its creator’s racist remarks on YouTube, many newspapers have a gap to fill on their comics page. The Washington Post will fill their Dilbert-sized hole with Heart of the City by Steenz, and Women Write About Comics caught up with the cartoonist at the Emerald City Comic Con to talk about the change.
“I think it’s a big deal because of two reasons,” Steenz told WWAC. “Reason number one is that I’m Black, and he hates Black people. [laughs] No, but it’s a nice way to just stick it to him, you know? But it’s also a big deal because we still rarely see a new influx of creators and syndicated comic strips, and I would like to see more of that. Obviously, legacy comics are there for a reason. Everyone’s going to want to keep reading Zits, everyone’s going to keep reading, you know, Jump Start, because those creators are still around and they want to keep making those comics. But I also want to see some new things. You should be able to get a newspaper and find someone new and not just have the old standards.”
In related news, the Associated Press spoke with several cartoonists about Scott Adams and his remarks, including Candorville creator Darin Bell, who is running a response to Adams in his comic strip this week.
Check out free comics on the web and social media by Ben Templesmith, Kerry Callen, Casey Nowak and more.
Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.
MAD Magazine contributor Kerry Callen shares his latest Super Antics comic strip, where he mines some of DC’s Silver Age stories for fun. As you’ll see at the top of this post, it features the infamous Rainbow Batman costume:
While in recent years it has become a day to dread, there are also some fun aspects — like the fact that Olivia Jaimes and Christina “Steenz” Stewart traded comic strips for the day.
Jaimes, of course, is the regular creator of Nancy, the delightful comic strip she took over a few years back to great acclaim (at least by most people). Steenz, meanwhile, took over Heart of the City in 2020. Today, though, they wrote and drew the other’s strip.
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 stripHeart 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.