Love Is...

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Love is...
Love Is... comic strip.jpg
Love Is... comic strip from May 25, 2007
Author(s)Kim Casali/Bill Asprey
WebsiteOfficial website
Current status/scheduleRunning/Daily
Launch dateJanuary 5, 1970
Syndicate(s)Tribune Content Agency
Genre(s)Comedy/Romance

Love Is... is a comic strip created by New Zealand cartoonist Kim Casali (née Grove) in the 1960s.[1][2] The cartoons originated from a series of love notes that Grove drew for her future husband, Roberto Casali. They were published in booklets[2] in the late 1960s before appearing in strip form in a newspaper in 1970, under the pen name "Kim". They were syndicated soon after and the strip is syndicated worldwide today by Tribune Content Agency.[1] One of her most famous drawings, "Love Is...being able to say you are sorry", published on February 9, 1972, was marketed internationally for many years in print, on cards and on souvenirs. The beginning of the strip coincided closely with the 1970 film Love Story. The film's signature line is "Love means never having to say you're sorry." At the height of their popularity in the early to mid 1970s, the cartoons were earning Casali around five to six million dollars annually.[3]

Roberto Casali was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1975 and Kim stopped working on the cartoon to spend more time with him. Casali commissioned London-based British cartoonist Bill Asprey to take over the writing and drawing of the daily cartoons for her, under her pen name.[4] Asprey has produced the cartoon continuously since 1975.[5] Upon her death in 1997, Casali's son Stefano took over Minikim, the company which handles the intellectual rights.

The strip appears daily except Sunday.

Comic strip features[edit]

Love Is... is a single-frame strip. The upper left-hand corner starts with a simple phrase which always begins with "Love Is...", the drawing appears in the middle and the remainder of the phrase at the bottom (along with the legal jargon). Each strip is independent of the others; there are no ongoing storylines.

The main characters are a man and woman depicted unclothed, with no primary or secondary sexual features shown other than the woman having nipples. It is clear which character is male and which is female due to tertiary features. The male has dark black, short hair while the female has light, waist-length hair. The characters have been featured in various stages of romance: just meeting, as boyfriend and girlfriend, and as a married couple. Sometimes, the male is shown in a military uniform. A 1974 strip has the male naming the female as "Kim",[6] while a 1971 panel has the female writing the letter 'R' in the beach sand. Both of these are consistent with original cartoonist Kim Casali and her husband Roberto.

The strip occasionally includes the couple's two children. The boy and girl have the hair coloring of their opposite gender parent, and have been featured both as infants and as elementary school age. From time to time the female's parents (one or both) are shown, both parents have light hair and are featured as being elderly. The male's parents have also featured in the strips. They look similar to the female's parents. In one of the strips, female is shown talking to her mother-in-law over the phone. A dog, Samson, is shown sometimes in their household, and in one strip they had a small grave with a stick with the name Fido on it, presumably a recently deceased pet dog. In one 2005 strip the couple are accompanied by two cats, and in 2009 the woman is shown crying over her deceased cat.

The characters may appear single or together; when one is thinking about the other, the partner's face will appear (in various forms, such as a dream balloon, a photo or a screen saver). Items appearing in the strip are often shown in the shape of or featuring, hearts - symbolic of the strip's theme. The male is sometimes shown reading a newspaper named Daily Blah.

Other men shown in the strips are different in their looks. They have curly blond hair and sometimes shown with a mustache, while the male is always shown with his usual black short straight hair. Other women shown in strips are short haired as compared to the female who has waist length hair.

Although the strip generally deals with light issues, sometimes there are messages related to environment conservation and teaching their kids lessons about the environment. In one of the strips the characters are shown campaigning to save children.

Alternate versions[edit]

In the 1980s an alternate version of the strip ran in the "Cartoons" paper in the British newspaper the Mail on Sunday. This was a three- or four-panel strip, with the male and female characters drawn fully clothed.

The Turkish version of the strip (Aşk ...dır.) is sold in form of small pieces of comic strips wrapped around gum.

Video Game[edit]

A video game, titled Love is in Bloom: The Flower Shop Garden, released in 2009 on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii.

In Culture[edit]

In The Simpsons episode “A Milhouse Divided,” Homer suggests that Kirk and Luann read Love Is… to help their marriage, humorously describing it as a comic strip that’s about “two naked eight-year-olds who are married.”

Mobile app[edit]

The cartoon has an official application on Apple's iTunes store.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Love Is... by Kim Casali, drawn by Bill Asprey". Tribune Content Agency. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b Bryant, Mark (21 June 1997). "Obituary: Kim Casali". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  3. ^ "Obituary: Kim Casali". The Times. No. 65921. London. 20 June 1997. p. 23.
  4. ^ "Bill Asprey". The Cartoon Art of Bill Asprey. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  5. ^ "How I came to draw Love is..." The Cartoon Art of Bill Asprey. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  6. ^ "Love is... your name pronounced by him while sleeping", 1974

Further reading[edit]

Bella Stumbo. "Angry Woman Critic Confronts Creator: Love is... Defending Your Cartoon Against Lib Attack." The Pittsburgh Press Living/74, January 15, 1974, p.18.