Luann (comic strip)

Luann (comic strip)

Infobox comic strip
title = Luann

caption = Characters from left to right- Tiffany Farrell, Aaron Hill, Gunther Berger, Delta James, Bernice Halper, Luann DeGroot, Nancy DeGroot, Frank DeGroot, Brad DeGroot, Knute, Crystal and Puddles
author = Greg Evans
url =
rss =
atom =
status = Running
first = March 17 1985
last =
syndicate = United Features Syndicate
publisher =
genre =
rating =
preceded by=
followed by=

"Luann" is a syndicated comic strip, distributed in newspapers by United Features Syndicate since March 17, 1985, "Luann" is written and drawn by Greg Evans, who won the 2003 Reuben Award as Cartoonist of the Year.

The strip is set in suburbia and is mostly about Luann DeGroot dealing with school, her love interests, family and friends. The official setting of the strip remains untold. Some storylines center on other characters in the strip.


Main characters

;Luann DeGroot: The main character of the strip. She is a teenager at Pitts High School. Luann often suffers from a poor self-assessment of her attractiveness and popularity (especially her large feet). She is often portrayed as many things; Insecure, confused, shallow, self-centered, stubborn, ditzy, impulsive, lazy, disorganized, inconsiderate, insensitive, picky, competitive, procrastinatory, and at the same time, not that bright or very ambitious for anything. First Appearance: 3/17/1985

;Bernice Halper: One of Luann's best friends. Bernice is laid back and observant, but is also portrayed as a pessimist, finding everything in life impossible (except for getting straight A's, according to Luann). In January 2007, Bernice learnt that she had an older brother, who her parents placed for adoption (as they felt they were way too young), Army Sergeant Ben York - currently deployed in Iraq.

;Delta James: One of Luann's best friends. Delta is portrayed as a go-getter, demonstrated by how she attends dozens of clubs and activities every school year and takes part in volunteering. While Bernice is intellectually wise, Delta is the most politically intelligent in the strip, wanting to go into politics for a career. In 1998, Delta was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. The following year, Delta received treatment and the cancer went into remission.

;Nancy and Frank DeGroot: Luann's parents.

;Brad DeGroot: Luann's older brother. Luann usually shows a common snarky sibling attitude toward Brad (and vice versa). He used to work at Weenie World, a hot dog and hamburger restaurant similar to Wienerschnitzel. However following the events of September 11th, 2001, Brad was [ inspired] to become a firefighter. Brad was previously shown repeatedly fixing his car and as an out of shape couch potato. In order to become a firefighter Brad had to spend time at a gym to build up body strength to pass his fitness exams, and has since been drawn with an increasingly fit physique, to the point of being shown with six-pack abs when posing for a firefighter calendar. Additionally, his jawline is now well defined and his hair looks like a crew cut instead of prematurely balding. Brad moved into a rental home owned by his parents that he shares with his best friend and cousin, TJ, which has since been fire damaged and is being remodeled. Since becoming a firefighter, Brad's storylines have shared equal, if not more, time than Luann's.

Love interests

;Aaron Hill: The boy of both Luann's and Tiffany's dreams. He has been seen to be both vain, and thus favors Tiffany, "and" considerate of actual feelings and thus continues to spark interest in Luann. To Luann, he is cute and loveable, but mixed up, having once been in love with Diane, who is a few years too old for Aaron. He now lives in Hawaii. In August 2005 Luann won a free trip to Hawaii and visited Aaron, but learned about his new Chinese girlfriend, Lian. He has recently set up his own MySpace page, and has sent a message to Luann talking about his recent events in Hawaii, including having broken up with Lian, sparking another love craze for Aaron in Luann.

;Miguel Vargas: Foreign Exchange Student from Spain. Delta was the first to fall for Miguel, but Miguel often showed more interest in Luann. To Luann, Miguel was very romantic and gorgeous, but much too pushy. This led to on-and-off romantic interests between him and Luann. He once saved Tiffany's life by performing CPR after she almost drowned in the pool. She showered him with attention, until she used him to steal Gunther's test paper so she could copy the answers. She got caught in the act and charmed Miguel into taking the blame, and claiming he stole it so she could get the answers, even though he had been tricked into it. Despite being betrayed, Miguel took the blame for it and chose to return to Spain.

;Stuart: Lifeguard at the Pitts Public Pool. He once saved both Luann and Tiffany from drowning in the pool, after Tiffany, in a panic, almost got Luann drowned by trying to distract him. Luann began centering her entire life around connecting with Stuart, to the point of him being the only thing Luann ever talks about. When she took him out on a date as a thanks for saving her from drowning, she truly believed Stuart was the one for her, until Stuart mentioned his wife, Stacey, which broke Luann's heart, and they never even spoke again afterwards. First Appearance: [ 7/4/2000]

;Gunther Berger: Pitts High School's smartest student with poor fashion sense and gentlemanly qualities. To Luann, he is sweet and sincere, but a doofus. She often hints love interest at him only so that he continues to pursue her, something she enjoys. If he doesn't, she'll get insecure and possessive of him. He has an on-again, off-again romantic interest for Luann at times and for Bernice at other times. He has recently gotten contacts to replace his glasses, attracting Luann in more ways than ever. He joined Luann in volunteer reading jobs at the local library, which earned even more of Luann's interest in Gunther.

;Toni Daytona: Brad's girlfriend and fellow firefighter. She joined Brad in all of the Pre-Fire Academy courses, including the CPR and First Aid, EMT, and the Paramedics classes, until Brad failed the physical exam for Fire Academy the first time, and had to go onto the next one alone. Her former boyfriend, Dirk, had grown jealous of their friendship and became emotionally abusive to Toni and physically violent with Brad, which led to her eventually dumping Dirk. Toni re-connected with Dirk again for a short time after he was released from jail. After Brad had Dirk arrested for violating his restraining order too many times, Brad and Toni stopped speaking for several months. However, after Brad moved out into his rental home, Toni visited Brad on more than one occasion, and since then, they both started to reconnect once Toni swore she'd never let Dirk into their lives again. After a Firefighter's Ball was announced, Brad finally summoned the courage to ask Toni to it. Finding that neither of them are very good dancers, they went Go-Kart racing instead. At the end of the night, Brad, with a little encouragement from Toni, kissed her goodnight. First Appearance: [ 1/18/2002]

:Toni [|has recently gotten a tattoo] , much to Brad's amazement, who got one just like it as well, most likely to symbolize that they've become an item.

;Diane: Brad's first love interest. Brad was very confused by her motives and character. Before she left for the last time, she found she and Brad had very little in common. Aaron Hill had feelings for Diane as well, creating a huge mess between Brad, Diane, and Aaron. Much like the fate of Lyman from the classic comic strip Garfield, Diane disappeared from the strip and has not returned. [ This] was the last time she has appeared in the strip.

;Claudia: Aaron Hill's girlfriend from Texas. She is deaf, but has learned lip reading, in order to communicate with hearing people better. When Aaron first announced to Luann about his relationship with Claudia, Luann accused him of making her up just to make Luann jealous, until he introduced Claudia to her while her mother was on a business trip. While she remained friends with Luann, she grew fed up with Aaron flirting with Tiffany while already in a relationship. While Aaron was often very mixed-up, Claudia saw Aaron's actions as untrustworthy, especially when she saw Aaron hanging on Tiffany. After a year-long relationship, she left Aaron and never returned. First Appearance: [ 3/24/2001]

;Zane: Former boyfriend of Bernice Halper and owner of Monroe. Zane became paralyzed from the waist down when he was driving with his parents to a college he was going to attend, they were approaching a curve on the road, and at the same time, a truck was turning to avoid that curve, and collided with Zane's car head on. Zane was thrown from the car, and broke his spine, as well as his legs, causing his paralysis: his parents were killed instantly. It took him a year to fully rehabilitate. He was once saved by Brad in a fire at the bookstore he and Bernice worked at. He and Bernice seem to share a very close relationship though it after surviving two near-death experiences Zane realized the need to deal with the issues of his past he had been ignoring, including his sister, a decision Bernice respected knowing Zane's reluctance to express issues from the past. This also prompted Bernice to ask him to marry her though he told her to wait until they were older. Crystal seemed to be attracted to Zane in 2003 when she introduced Zane to her little brother, Josh, who was also wheelchair confined. Zane seemed to only consider Crystal a friend dispite Bernice's extreme jealousy. First Appearance: [ 6/27/2001]

;Ben York: Bernice's older brother, who recently appeared in the strip as an army sergeant on leave from duty from the Middle East. Bernice's parents had him in college before they married and decided to give him up for adoption. His adoptive family named him Ben York. He briefly returned to his birth family after searching for them on his computer. During the month of his first appearance, the DeGroot and Halper siblings went bowling together. While Brad initially felt a bit of jealousy towards Ben for his stature as a soldier, he shortly thereafter felt more respect towards Ben after he mentioned to Brad that he tried to become a firefighter, but could not get through one week of Fire Academy, and that he has full respect for them, and looks up to them as real heroes. Luann, however, developed a crush on Ben. Although after negotiating with Bernice that Ben was not interested in a girlfriend, Luann merely procrastinated, feeling more love for Ben after recently emailing Bernice and asking for Luann's email. Luann, full of romantic glee, exchanged twelve emails with Ben in just three days, annoying Bernice to the point of her demand that any further email exchanges cease.

:While on a mission in Iraq. Ben suffered a broken leg, allowing him to discontinue his service in the army and return home. Though Luann assured Bernice that there was no longer any potential romance between her and Ben, she has recently restarted her love interest in Ben by making a Valentine's Day dinner for Ben. Initially, Bernice showed no objection to Luann's plan, but that was because it turned out Ben was going out of town the night Luann had the dinner planned, much to Luann's disappointment "(And annoyance towards Bernice for not telling her in advance)". First Appearance: [ 1/22/2007]

Other friends, relatives, and neighbors

;Knute: The upbeat, skateboarding, class clown and Gunther's best friend. Knute and Gunther often team up to create a working magic show, but often with unsuccessful results. He and Crystal have shared feelings for each other but never showed much more than that, finding they are the exact opposite of each other in every way.

;T.J.: Brad's best friend, who comes up with outrageous schemes, and when they fail, manages to leave Brad holding the bag. He is an incompetent, irresponsible, shady, sleazy, and crooked con-artist, which he hides with his signature grin. However, to everyone's surprise, he is a very gifted Gourmet Chef. Many of his latest schemes, most of which resulted in failure as always, with the exception of the "TV-To-Fridge-Easy-Access" door he created via smashing a hole in the wall of Brad's rental home and then plastering together to make a perfectly new doorway, made him an extremely difficult, if not impossible, choice for a roommate for Brad, who himself initially did not believe TJ would be a wise choice. After compromising with his parents, Brad eventually let him move in "(But not before TJ had already moved in behind Brad's back, assuming they would say yes, and proceeded before they would have a chance at reconsidering)".

:His most recent blunder is causing a pan full of meatballs to catch on fire, and then running outside in a blind panic to call the fire department. He and Brad will now both be moving in with the DeGroots because TJ "has no family" though it hasn't been explained where he lived before moving in with Brad or where his family is.

;Rosa Aragones: The new girl at PHS. She was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Italy, France, and Mexico, and can speak English as well as French, Italian, and Spanish, leading Luann to wonder why she's in school. Later that year, she was assisted with her books by Gunther, which sparked jealousy in Luann, which quickly stopped, on account of Gunther helping her only because she hurt her arm carrying her sister into her wheelchair. First Appearance: [ 9/5/2006]

;Mrs. Horner: An elderly lady that Luann visits from time to time. Frequently gives candid advice to Luann. In March 2006 she moved out of her old home and into a new retirement center, but she needed the help of Luann who asked Bernice, Brad, and Toni to help her move her out, but Dirk followed Toni to the home, and in order to impress and be near Toni, helped the moving job finish faster, but when he picked up Mrs. Horner's clock, an envelope full of money fell out, which Dirk looked into and pocketed, intending to steal it, and when he was caught by Brad, he claimed it to be his, but when Brad swiped it at the perfect time to return to Mrs. Horner, Dirk turned his story around and claimed to have found the envelope in the clock and intended to return it to her. He would have been kicked out had Mrs. Horner not believed his lie. She has recently sold her old home to Nancy and Frank, who have begun renting to Brad. First Appearance: [ 7/16/2001]

;Eddie Munter: The new manager of Borderline Books, who replaced Ann Eiffel after she was unwillingly transferred. While Munter is normally very humorous and good-hearted, often ending his comments or jokes with "Kidding!", he knows when to be tough and decisive with his employees, earning the respect of Bernice and Zane shortly after he took over. First Appearance: [ 7/9/2002]


;Tiffany Farrell: Popular and beautiful, but vain, ditzy and shallow cheerleader, who serves as Luann's main rival. As Miss Chamber of Commerce, she also goes by the name Sheraton St. Louis, a name evocative of real-life socialite Paris Hilton. Luann and Tiffany formerly battled over the affections of Aaron Hill, but once Aaron moved to Hawaii, they found that their rivalry extended to issues beyond competition for one boy. Often, she has been seen ruining love relationships between Luann and Aaron, or Luann and Miguel, whether it's for her own satisfaction or to take Aaron or Miguel for herself. In March 2003, Luann and Tiffany formed a brief friendship after winning a volleyball game as a team, which shortly fell apart due to their chronic rivalry over Aaron. Tiffany used her cell phone camera to take a picture of Luann changing in the girls locker room. Initially, she tried to blackmail Luann, but when Luann would not budge, Tiffany posted the photo on the internet, embarrassing Luann. With Gunther's help, the photo showed Tiffany's reflection in Luann's locker door mirror, providing the proof of Tiffany's transgression and causing her to be suspended. In January 2008, she had her title of Miss Chamber of Commerce repealed for her role in TJ's scheme to sell meals to fire stations.

:Tiffany's behavior demonstrates common insecurity in teenagers, and how Tiffany's constant obsession over being beautiful leads to being insecure and shallow.

;Crystal: Tiffany's best friend. Crystal wears goth makeup and clothing, almost the exact opposite of the shallow fashion- and looks-obsessed Tiffany. She has a handicapped brother who looks up to Zane as an older brother. In October 2000, she and Knute seemed to share feelings for each other, but very little came of it due to how different they are. She and Bernice once formed a rivalry, battling over the love of Zane, similar to the rivalry between Luann and Tiffany. It's most likely that she was trying to steal Zane from Bernice, but other possibilities are that she needed someone like Zane for her younger brother to look up to as an older brother. Although she has never taken part in any of Tiffany's schemes, she usually provides positive support for them. First Appearance: [ 7/12/2000]

;Dirk: Toni's jealous former boyfriend, who, like Tiffany Farrell to Luann, serves as Brad's main rival, and who has been both emotionally abusive toward Toni and physically violent to Brad, and often had severe anger problems (Possibly stemming from taking steroids). The grudge between him and Brad began when Brad drove off with Toni and away from him one night, and Dirk chased after them and ended up crashing and would have died, had it not been for Brad who rushed to his aid and resuscitated him in time. Since then, Dirk had become very insecure with Toni, a foreshadowing of their eventual break-up. After striking Brad at his Fire Academy Graduation Ceremony, he was arrested and a restraining order was issued ordering him to stay away from Brad. Following his release from jail, he took a mandatory anger management course, but he has continuously violated the restraining order (since October 2005). Unwilling to accept Toni dumping him, he continuously stalked her and tried to impress her with shallow gimmicks in order to try to win her back. In the beginning of May 2006, he was sent back to jail because Brad called the police on him for violating his restraining order. They cannot keep him behind bars forever, so his return to the strip is still in the question.

:While Tiffany's behavior demonstrates the feminine side of insecurity, Dirk's behavior shows the masculine side, exercising his muscles nearly all day long and having a very aggressive attitude and short temper to intimidate those he sees as a threat (especially Brad). First Appearance: [ 6/19/2003]

;Derek: Bernice's first love interest. Derek first hit on Bernice and asked her to let him store his gym clothes in her locker. Unaware that Derek only hit on her so he could hide his stash of marijuana in her locker, Bernice fell for him instantly. Things changed, however, when Bernice discovered the marijuana in Derek's bag while going through her locker, and was about to turn him in until he "seduced" her with a kiss. While giving Bernice a ride home, Derek almost crashed, having overdosed on marijuana. Fed up, Bernice left the car, and even dumped his stash of marijuana on the curb. His whereabouts are now unknown.

:The intentions of this storyline were to teach the importance of saying NO to drugs.

;Ann Eiffel: Former manager of Borderline Books. When she hired Bernice as an employee, Bernice began working with Zane, one of the supervisors of Borderline. Eiffel became very jealous of them and even threatened to fire them if they continued working together. Bernice suspected Eiffel of trying to seduce Zane, but when she fired Zane, it turned out Eiffel was extremely feminist, and sexist, and favored, and may have been attracted to Bernice much more. For firing Zane, Bernice developed a very rebellious attitude, which led to Eiffel becoming more forceful to her, until Borderline CEO Jim Hernandez (who knew Zane very well and arranged to remove Eiffel from the store as a means of payback for firing Zane), entered the store and transferred Eiffel to the new bookstore in Tokyo, Japan. First Appearance: [ 1/24/2002]

One time characters

;Elwood Druit: The "Elvis Jr." of Pitts High School. His first appearance was [ here] He is half Luann's height, has a very cocky attitude, and is willing to walk in and out on any woman at anytime he pleases. He once accepted Luann's offer to take him to the Spring 2005 Dance, until he 'was asked by someone better', but then went back to Luann once again to go with her, who turned him down for turning her down. Later he turned up as the boyfriend of Tiffany, who presumably only went out with him because he was, of all things, a millionaire videogame creator. He was a character created for several story arcs, and hasn't appeared since these stories ended.

;Lian: Nothing is known about Lian, except that she was Aaron's girlfriend from Hawaii. She was shown only once when Luann went and visited Aaron in August 2005. A year later, Aaron announced to Luann that they had broken up. First Appearance: [ 8/11/2005]

;Shannon: Toni's bratty 5-year old cousin. According to Toni, she thinks she's the Queen of the Universe. When they took Shannon to see a movie, she was always demanding that she got her way all the time. Naturally, Brad did not take much of a liking to her when Toni brought her to visit Brad. First Appearance: [ 4/7/2008]

chool & faculty

;Mr. Fogarty: The school history teacher. He secretly loves Miss Phelps. Mr. Fogarty's character was created well before "Luann". His character starred in "Fogarty", which was distributed free of charge to several high school newspapers in the late 1970s.

;Miss Phelps: The school guidance counselor. She secretly loves Mr. Fogarty.

;Miss Allison: The school P.E. teacher. She, like all other fitness teachers, is very tough and hard-nosed with her students. Out of all the teachers Luann knows well at Pitts High School, Miss Allison seems to be the only one Luann looks up to as a mentor figure.

;Principal Hightower: The principal of Pitts High School. His name practically speaks for itself when referring to how high he is above the faculty. His face is never seen, only his hands when they're placed on his desk.

Emergency Medical Services

;Captain: The Firefighter Captain of Fire Station #3, and Brad's superior officer. Brad first met him when he began the physical exam for Fire Academy. While his name remains unknown, he is very straight-forward, disciplined, wise, and hard-nosed. He has assigned Brad and Toni to take Reddy to local schools on more than one occasion, and has assigned Brad to his tasks of his rank as a firefighter. After a firefighters' ball was announced, the Captain was speaking to someone on the phone and saying he planned to take Toni with him. However, he was referring to taking his friend, Tony Gale, which is somewhat ambiguous, as the next strip she informs Brad, who remarks, "So the captain's..." "not asking me," Toni interrupts. Whether Tony is a male or female is left to the reader's imagination, apparently. First Appearance: [ 6/7/2004]

;EMT Supervisor: Brad's supervisor during his 6 months of EMT service before taking his Paramedics class. As gracious as he was about Brad fearlessly saving Zane from dying in the fires of the Borderline Bookstore, he had to file a reprimand on Brad's record for violating safety rules, acting outside his training scope, and not wearing proper safety gear. Like the Firestation Captain, his name is not given. First Appearance: [ 8/3/2002]

Animal characters

;Puddles: Luann's dog, so named for his tendency to wee in the wrong spots.

;Monroe: Zane's dog and special canine companion. He is a Golden Retriever and has grown to be a very faithful companion for Zane.

;Reddy: The Fire Station Mascot. He is a small, 3-foot, Fire Truck, with a remote controller and a built in speaker connected to a microphone and head set, to appear as though he is speaking with his partner. Brad and Toni have brought him to local elementary schools on more than one occasion in order to demonstrate the importance of fire safety. Brad provides the voice for Reddy and uses Reddy as a means to flirt with Toni. Brad has also used Reddy as a means to speak more openly with Toni. When Brad turned in Dirk and was arguing with Toni about it, he expressed his frustration through Reddy leading to an embarrassing encounter during a school presentation. Afterward, he told the Captain he no longer wants to perform as Reddy to create space between him and Toni. First Appearance: [ 6/6/2005]

;Cuddles: Luann's cat, a recent addition to the strip (the storyline has Frank DeGroot being allergic to cats; thus, Luann must keep the two separated). Recently Luann gave Cuddles to Mrs. Horner, to spare her father from his allergies. While Puddles showed some hatred towards Cuddles mainly over territory and attention from Luann matters, he also showed some love as they've cuddled and slept together a few times. Cuddles' original name was Sassy (clearly a reference to the film ), until Mrs. Horner found a better name as Cuddles. First Appearance: [ 11/1/2005]

Real Celebrities who have made appearances in the comic

;Clay Aiken;Jay Leno;Hugh Hefner


The strip has attained a degree of notoriety for its mixing of consideration of real-life topics with the lightness of being a teenager in high school. Evans has occasionally sprinkled in such topics as Luann's concerns about her first menstruation, Dirk's jealousy (which has led to emotional abuse of Toni and physical violence toward Brad), birth control, drunk driving, handicaps, and other social and policy issues that are of interest to young people. Evans drew praise and some criticism in 1998 for a series of strips based around Delta contracting Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After September 11, 2001, the layabout Brad was inspired by the actions of the FDNY to become a firefighter and there have been extended storylines following him every step of the way. (Oddly enough, on November 14, 2001, the satirical newspaper "The Onion" ran a story supposedly detailing Evans' struggle to address the events of 9/11 in his strip. [] ) Some of Evans' topics show to teenaged readers an inspiring young citizen ideal for teenagers to live up to. Other topics show to adult readers the daily trials and tribulations faced in youth in case the reader forgot or in case things have changed since the reader was young many years ago. Currently, the strip is dealing with the current fad (and related controversy) among young adults to sport tattoos.

pecific storylines

Below are the more famous story arcs of "Luann", along with the time period they took place.
* [ The Trouble with Derek] : 1987 (5 Weeks)
* [ Luann's First '.'] : 1991 (2 Weeks)
* [ A Very SADD Story] : Unknown (2 Weeks)
* [ Delta's Hodgkin's Lymphoma] : 1998 (2 Weeks)
* [ Goodbye Aaron] : 2004 (2 Weeks)

*Toni & Brad vs. Dirk (In general): 2003 - Present (On & Off) Most recent: 4/27/2006 - 5/12/2006

Aging of the characters

From 1985 to 1999 Luann was vaguely in the 8th Grade in the Pitts school system. This younger era of "Luann" focused on topics among children in junior high school and within Luann's family at home. Since 1999 Luann has been slowly aging from 15 to 16 years old at perhaps the rate of one "Luann" month per one reader year. Based on a comic strip from February 21, 2006, it was revealed that a four week period in the comic strip takes approximately 17 reader weeks (from the start of the Sassy storyline).Fact|date=October 2008


In 2006, Greg Evans--with the help of arranger and orchestrator Justin Gray--wrote a musical based on the comic strip titled "Luann: Scenes In A Teen's Life", produced by Center ARTES and performed at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. It was performed by local drama students from Rancho Buena Vista High School. The original cast recording, titled "Scenes In A Teen's Life", is available from CD Baby.

In March 2008, Palomar College, located in San Marcos, CA performed this musical. It was the musical's college theatre debut.

"Luann: Scenes In A Teen's Life" will next be performed by Huntington Beach Playhouse in August 2008.


There are no fewer than 21 books featuring "Luann".

External links

* [ Official site]

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