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New Heart of the City Cartoonist Steenz to be Interviewed on St. Louis Public Radio – Updated

original April 30, 2020 post:

St. Louis Public Radio will interview local cartoonist Steenz, who recently took over
the Heart of the City comic strip, at noon local time on Friday May 1, 2020.

Local comic artist Christina “Steenz” Stewart initially didn’t consider making comics during her time in art school. She knew she loved the medium, but reading comics and creating them are two different things.

She’s now immersed fully in the craft — from consumption to distribution. Most recently, she took over for artist Mark Tatulli’s “Heart of the City” comic strip. He’s been at its helm for the 22 years it’s been syndicated, and Stewart is now one of few black women in charge of a strip that runs in mainstream newspapers.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Steenz will join host Sarah Fenske to talk about her passion and career in comics.

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Friday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.


In other Heart of the City news, GoComics is now posting the Steenz Heart strips with color. (They have even lightly tinted the last few years of  Mark Tatulli strips.) If I am understanding things correctly Steenz was supplying color guides, the lack of color was a problem on the GoComics end. The strips had been in color on newspaper websites.

I’m still gobsmacked that some were bailing on the strip after one or two days. I didn’t quit Spider-Man after Ditko left; I didn’t stop reading Dick Tracy when Gould retired. I would have missed the great Goodwin/Williamson Star Wars if I stopped when the great Manning strips ended. Y’know there are some that claim the Knerr Katzenjammer Kids were better than the Dirks Captain and The Kids.


Update: The 13 minute interview remains available at the bottom of the page.
Steenz talks about the difference between comic books and graphic novels, where she’s coming from, and the three or four panel newspaper comic strip. (she mentions playing with a five panel strip or two, which I’m anxious to see).
Asked about the reaction to her taking over the 22-year-old strip: “A lot of negative.”
She understands the hesitation in accepting a new voice on a beloved strip,
but “there’s hesitation, and then there’s outright mean.”

Community Comments

#1 Mary Ella
@ 4:40 am

The newspaper comics are chock-full of old legacy strips that have been around for 50+ years, that keep getting drawn the same way by every cartoonist that inherits them, and keep cycling through the same jokes. But any attempt to change things up generally gets shut down by angry letters from…well, the types of people that are inclined to write angry letters to newspapers.

I don’t envy Steenz at all, given the response I’ve read on this page, and only after a couple of strips. Good grief. Some of the responses sound just like the people losing their minds because Land O Lakes got rid of the butter girl.

And as far as “she should just do her own comic”? Please. How easily can you find new comics from different artists in your paper? Which comics get the most complaint letters from people that “just don’t get the humor”? Which ones are the first to get dropped when newspapers take a poll asking which ones to keep? I don’t know about you, but it’s always been hit or miss that I’d get “Get Fuzzy” in my paper, but you’d better believe “Hi and Lois” isn’t going ANYWHERE.

God forbid, things change. You’d think grown adults could have the patience to at least wait more than a couple of days before deciding they just couldn’t adjust.

#2 P.J. Terryberry
@ 10:05 am

@Mary Ella: Beautifully said.

#3 Kip Williams
@ 10:28 am

+1 for that

#4 Garey Mckee
@ 4:13 pm

The mention of the negative reception (I’m assuming online GoComics comments) is saddening. Online readers can be persnickety on a good day. But Steenz’ iteration of Heart of The City seems fresh and inventive. The character designs are particularly fascinating to me.

#5 D. D. Degg
@ 4:52 pm

Unfortunately for Steenz her Sunday Heart won’t appear until May 24, so she has today and two more weeks of the reactions as they see Tatulli Sundays showing up.

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