Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet
Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet is a comic strip by Peter Zale about a technically adept young woman who works at a technology firm. It was the first comic strip to make the leap from the Internet to newspaper syndication. It began online in 1996 and was syndicated to newspapers by Tribune Media Services from June 5, 2000 to December 25, 2005.
Characters and story
Helen is a woman too young, too smart and too messed up by her precocity to ever live a normal life. Zale drew her as a very intelligent buxom blond bombshell, casting her against the "dumb blonde" stereotype. Her looks, though, meant almost nothing to her, and her femininity only occurred to her as an afterthought and was usually applied with more aggressiveness than any man had ever seen, mostly upon her boyfriend Spencer Green, a character Zale introduced in a strip he syndicated with the College Press in the early 1990s.
Helen's programming skills and warped use of them led to being defined as a modern day mad scientist. Such things as making artificial intelligences without thinking it odd are common throughout the series.
A friendship with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters led Zale into strip cartooning and away from his first love, comic books. He published his first continuing comic strips in The Chicago Maroon while an undergraduate at the University of Chicago.
Launched as an online-only comic in June 1996, Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet grew in popularity, receiving attention in The New York Times, New Straits Times, How, The Plain Dealer and other publications. It was syndicated by Tribune Media in 2000 simultaneous with McGraw-Hill's book collection, Techies Unite. At its peak, it was published in 60 newspapers.
On December 26, 2005, Zale went on sabbatical from the strip to complete his MBA studies.
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