Greg Evans has entertained newspaper readers for over 35 years through his iconic comic strip “Luann”. The strip offers a comedic but authentic look at the ups and downs of teenage life. In the decades since “Luann” first debuted in 1985, Evans has won awards, expanded the brand into musicals, and collaborated with his long-lost daughter Karen.
This article will explore Evans’ early career, the development of “Luann”, his personal life influences, the surprise discovery of his daughter, and the present-day status of the popular strip.
Who is Greg Evans?
Greg Evans is an American cartoonist best known as the creator of the popular comic strip “Luann”. The strip centers around a teenage girl named Luann and her friends and family. Evans first got interested in cartooning and illustration while in high school. He went on to work as a high school art teacher for several years before transitioning into a career in comics.
Career and Achievements
Evans got his start in cartooning by working as an assistant on established comic strips like “Gil Thorpe” and “Edge City”. This experience helped him learn the ropes of the industry. In 1985, he came up with the idea for “Luann” after noticing a lack of comic strips focused on the lives of teenage girls.“Luann” debuted in 1985 and soon became a hit.
The strip is now carried in over 500 newspapers across the United States and even internationally in some markets. Evans has received multiple awards for his work on the strip over the years, including the National Cartoonists Society’s Best Humor Strip award in 2007. Some other notable achievements include:
- Over 10,000 “Luann” comic strips published to date
- Strip translated into multiple languages
- Featured in publications like The New Yorker and Parade
|National Cartoonists Society’s Best Humor Strip Award
|Outstanding Comic Strip Cartoonist Award from the National Cartoonists Society
Beyond Greg Evans Comic Strip
In addition to the daily comic strip carried in over 450 newspapers, Evans has expanded “Luann” into animation, musical projects, and merchandising over the years. One major extension of the comic was the musical “Luann: Scenes in a Teen’s Life” which debuted in 2006.
Evans helped develop and produce the musical, which uses humor and song to bring Luann’s stories to life onstage. The musical explores themes from the comic like school, dating, and friendship from a teen girl’s perspective. It has had over 100 productions nationwide since its debut. Evans has also overseen small-screen adaptations of “Luann”.
In the early 1990s, he co-produced a “Luann” TV special for NBC. In more recent years, video adaptations of the strip have been created for platforms like YouTube and TikTok. These animate various storylines from the comic for digital audiences. The characters from “Luann” have additionally been licensed for various merchandise over the decades, from T-shirts to school supplies.
Evans works with companies to ensure the branding and heart of “Luann” translates into products fans can enjoy. Through these multimedia extensions, old and new generations of fans have continued to connect with Luann, Brad, Tiffany, and the rest of the gang. The relatable stories and humor of Evans’ iconic comic strip world have reached audiences far beyond the newspapers where it first appeared.
Family has always been a central theme in Evans’ work. He draws inspiration from his wife and children when writing storylines for Luann and her family. Over the years, some of the real-life moments between Evans and his family have even made their way into the comic strip.
In the 1990s, Evans made the surprise discovery that he had a long-lost daughter named Karen from a previous relationship before his marriage. This life-changing discovery would go on to impact both his personal and professional life in unexpected ways. Karen is now grown up and even co-authors “Luann” with her father.
Over 35 years since its debut, “Luann” continues to be written and illustrated by creator Greg Evans. However, Evans now collaborates with his daughter Karen Evans on creating new “Luann” storylines and content.
Karen brings the unique perspective of a woman who grew up in the digital age to the comic strip’s contemporary storylines. Together, Greg and Karen brainstorm ideas that blend timeless themes about family and friendship with plotlines tackling modern technology and teen issues.
Recent years have seen the addition of new locations and characters to keep the world of “Luann” fresh:
|Hang Time coffee shop
|Luann’s boyfriend Jackson
|More stories focused on Luann’s brother Brad
The art style has also subtly evolved, though still retains Greg Evans’ classic cartooning. Some new flourishes include richer digital coloring and more detailed, varied character expressions. The writing has grown wittier with Karen Evans’ modern comedic voice.
While the core of “Luann’s” slice-of-life humor remains, Greg and Karen find new ways to tap into universally relatable teen dilemmas with a contemporary lens. Plots have touched on issues like social media drama, first jobs, and college preparation to keep the strip resonant for new generations of readers.
After over three decades, “Luann” continues running in hundreds of print newspapers. But Greg and Karen have also focused on growing the strip’s online presence. Webcomics allow them to publish longer-form stories and explore topics that newspapers may edit down for space.
The official “Luann” website and social media not only publish webcomics but also promote merchandise and special events for fans. By blending classic print distribution with a growing digital strategy, the Evans family keeps “Luann” accessible to loyal longtime readers as well as new young fans.
For over three decades, cartoonist Greg Evans has chronicled the life and times of teenager Luann through a heartwarming and humorous lens. The comic strip has allowed Evans to build an iconic brand that resonates with readers young and old.
He continues to draw inspiration from his own family in crafting storylines that feel authentic and relatable. While Evans has passed on some creative control in recent years, “Luann” remains his legacy. The strip connects families through its funny yet genuine snapshots of adolescence and growing up. Here’s hoping Luann and the gang continue making newspaper readers laugh for years to come.