9 Chickweed Lane
|9 Chickweed Lane|
|Current status / schedule||Running|
|Launch date||July 12, 1993|
|Syndicate(s)||United Features Syndicate|
9 Chickweed Lane is an American comic strip written and drawn by Brooke McEldowney following the fortunes of the women of three generations of the Burber family – Edna, Juliette, and Edda – as they try to make their way in the world. 9 Chickweed Lane is the address of the characters' former family home. The strip is syndicated by United Media. It debuted on July 12, 1993, and won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Newspaper Strip in 2005.
Brooke McEldowney is also the creator of the webcomic Pibgorn, a spin-off. The strips appear to share the same universe, with the eccentric Thorax appearing in both series regularly, and almost the entire cast of Pibgorn showing up as guests at a Chickweed wedding in the strip of October 29, 2007.
- Edda Burber – Independent and intelligent with a heroic fantasy life as Superlative Girl, she is a talented ballet dancer and a skilled piano recitalist who has done modeling for the fictional ladies apparel line Nicolette Cygnet. Edda graduated early from her Catholic high school and moving to New York City. She is romantically involved with Amos, her childhood sweetheart, with whom she has become engaged.
- Juliette Martine O'Malley Burber – Divorced (from Jack) and the single mother of Edda, she is the daughter of Edna O'Malley. Juliette has a creative fantasy life (her alter-ego is the leopardskin-clad Panther Woman) but is competent at achieving her goals in reality. After being a biology professor at a New Hampshire university, she followed her dream of owning and operating a farm. She later married Elliott Greene in a ceremony officiated by Thorax, and eventually returned to the school in a part-time position. She learned she is the product of a brief relationship her mother had with an Austrian opera singer, Peter Kiesl, and was named, in reverse, after her stepfather's first wife.
- Edna "Edie" Ernst O'Malley/Eva Kiesl – Mother of Juliette and grandmother of Edda. "Gran" is irascible and argumentative, though loving. In her youth she was a beautiful, talented USO singer and spy for Allied Intelligence during World War II. During that time she had a relationship with Lt. Peter Kiesl, an Austrian Wehrmacht POW in England, which they rekindled 10 years later in New York City when he was a visiting singer for the Metropolitan Opera; this led to a very brief engagement and the conception of Juliette. Afterward, Edna married Bill O'Malley, with whom she had a second child (Roger), and was later widowed. After Kiesl, whom she thought had recently died, visited her in New Hampshire to express his continued love for her, Edna moved to Vienna and married him.
- Amos van Hoesen – A geeky, talented classical cellist, he is devotedly in love with Edda, who has been his best friend for years. He graduated from the same school as she and went on to study at Juilliard. They finally consummated their love at a music competition in Belgium.
- Thorax – Formerly Gran's gentleman friend, he is brilliant and odd beyond all description. Apparently a large, amiable elderly farmer, he does not appear to be quite human, and has a quantum anomaly in his shed. He also appears in McEldowney's online strip Pibgorn.
- Pap – Thorax's father is aged beyond reckoning, with a classic Yankee-farmer acerbic mien.
- Elliott Greene – Juliette's love interest, and her co-worker at the university. In January 2006, Juliette accepted the most recent in his long series of marriage proposals, and they were married by Thorax.
- Seth Appleby – Edda's dancing partner and housemate, a handsome homosexual with a boyfriend and an occasional indulgence with a female partner.
- Mark – Seth's boyfriend, an artist and gallery owner.
- Fernanda Jons – Seth's former female friend-with-benefits, a ballerina from Argentina who was temporarily partnered with him in the ballet company.
- Janice – A friend of Edda's from the ballet company. She has a crush on Mark, who remains her friend while gently rebuffing her advances.
- Isabel Florin – A pianist who accompanies Amos' practice on cello, she likes Amos and has been in conflict with Edda over this. She is of Portuguese origin with a slight accent.
- Burkhardt Kriegl – A violist from Vienna. A womanizer regularly rebuffed by Edda, he took up with Isabel.
- Fleurrie Spocket – The veterinarian who came to treat Juliette's sick bull and was once a student in her biology class. She married her longtime veterinary technician, Sven.
- Sven – Fleurrie's tall, sweet and handsomely hulking, if slightly naive, veterinary technician, formerly a gutter cleaner. They eventually married. He is fluent in four languages and has a Ph.D. in art history (French Rococo, specializing in Jean-Honoré Fragonard).
- Sister Steven – a Mother Superior who runs the Catholic school Edda and Amos once attended. An archetypically strict nun with no sense of humor and nicknamed as "Sister Caligula" by her students, she does occasionally show a human side to her nature and was once called Florence Anne.
- Diane Durly – Formerly Sister Aramus, a nun who used to teach English at the Catholic high school that Edda and Amos attended. She left her vocation after falling in love with Francis. They married in the October 6, 2011, strip after a long courtship and became parents to a daughter, Florence Anne (after Sister Steven's name before she became a nun).
- Francis Durly – A former Catholic priest who left his vocation after falling in love with Diane, whom he married.
- Mary Rosenzweig – Edda and Amos' classmate from their Catholic high school. Amos used to pursue her for affection, and was always rejected.
- Solange – Edda's Siamese cat, who appears in ongoing thread of strips focused on her, Hallmarks of Felinity. The cat who would become Solange first appeared on March 23, 1999. Originally, the animal characters in the strip consisted of a whippet named Rudyard, succeeding a greyhound named Divot, and a spot-eyed cat, Ambrose. Rudyard and Ambrose often held mental conversations regarding their human owners, when Rudyard wasn't chucking insults at the cat's naïvete. Solange soon replaced Ambrose after her introduction, and the greyhound disappeared from the strip as well.
- Monty – God in the form of a bald man wearing a suit or else a delusional man who has convinced Thorax that he is indeed God; a test of Monty's powers made him appear to be embarrassed at his inability to pull off even a minor task.
- Earl William "Bill" O'Malley – Gran's late husband. As a young lieutenant during World War II, he saw Edna perform for the Allied troops and helped recruit her for a spying mission at a British POW camp housing German prisoners. Seriously injured on D Day, he suffered severe amnesia, met and fell in love with his French Resistance contact Martine Clocqueur, and was briefly married to her. Years later he married Edna and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to have a long, unfulfilled marriage. Bill is the father of Edna's second child, Roger, who is rarely mentioned and was not seen in the strip until November 22, 2010.
- Martine Juliette Clocqueur-O’Malley – A beautiful, feisty French Resistance operative who worked as a double agent with the Nazi German forces during the occupation of France during World War II and was Bill’s contact during D-Day. She and Bill fell in love and were married within days of the Liberation of Paris. She was mortally wounded very shorty afterward.
- Roger O'Malley – Son of Bill and Edna, Edda's uncle and Juliette's half-brother. He is married and has eleven children (his wife refers to him as "sturdy"). While he has a long standing heterosexual relationship with his wife, he was accused by Seth of being a closeted homosexual, despite a complete lack of evidence. He has since come out of the closet, placing considerable stress on his marriage.
- Peter Kiesl (full name Lt. Peter Johann Martin Franz Kiesl) – A professional opera singer from Austria and former officer in the German Army in World War II, he had a romantic liaison with Edna while he was a prisoner of war in England and she was a USO singer working undercover for American Intelligence. Years later in New York City they briefly resumed their romance. He is the biological father of Juliette. Decades later, he visited Edna in New Hampshire, expressed his continued love for her, and the two married and went to live in Vienna together.
9 Chickweed Lane has been published in several hardcopy collections, most available from Pib Press. These include:
- Hallmarks of Felinity (Out of print)
- Out Whom Shall We Gross? (Year One, 1993–1994)
- Sonata for Piano and Armpit (Year Two, 1994–1995)
- The Day my Puberty Detonated (Year Three, 1995–1996)
- Rita Hayworth, the Father of Relativity (Year Four, 1996–1997)
- CRUD From Outer Space,and Other Causes of Postnasal Drip (Year Five, 1997-1998)
- Cat Breath Takes No Prisoners (Year Six, 1998-1999)
- On Alternate Thursdays, I Surrender My Body to SATAN (Year Seven, 1999-2000)
- Dumpster God (Year Eight, 2000-2001)
- We'll Always Have Brussels, or The Bösendorfer Heard Round the World
- Edie Ernst, USO Singer – Allied Spy
- "There! With a supreme effort I've achieved...". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, New York). July 12, 1993. p. 6E (newspaper), 74 of 113 (online archive). Retrieved October 21, 2015.
- 9 Chickweed Lane at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on September 3, 2015.
-  9 Chickweed Lane
- 9 Chickweed Lane (08-04-2010)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (12-02-2009)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (09-20-2010 – 09-21-2010)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (11-08-2008)
- The collection is also available as a book, Hallmarks of Felinity, ISBN 0-7407-2199-2
- 9 Chickweed Lane (11-23-2009)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (01-03-2015)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (08-03-2010)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (11-22-2010)
- 9 Chickweed Lane (01-22-2010)
- "NCS Awards > Newspaper Strips". National Cartoonists Society. Retrieved October 21, 2015. Note: Requires clicking on "See Winners" link.
- Pib Press Retrieved 25 March 2013