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File:Luann1 2326.gif

Created in 1985 by Greg Evans, Luann is a comic strip about the life of Luann Degroot, a 'typical high school student', with her trials and tribulations. She has typical parents (working dad, housewife mom), a lazy, annoying older brother (Brad), and a small group of friends (nerdy best friend Bernice and Black Best Friend Delta). Her main rival is Tiffany the cheerleader, and the men in her life are nerdy Gunther and handsome Aaron Hill (and his Suspiciously Similar Substitutes).

Sometimes funny, and occasionally poignant, it's known for capitalizing on current trends, and dropping Anvilicious subplots about various subjects (marijuana use, 9/11), in an attempt to be modern and legitimate. Most of the characters seem to exist as one-dimensional archetypes, with rare glimpses into more aspects of their personalities, so you will find a lot of tropes in here played totally straight (though Tropes Are Not Bad). It's also gained a new focus, as lazy brother Brad shifted into becoming a co-main character of sorts, gaining nearly as much page time as his sister thanks to a new subplot where he joins the Fire Department (post-9/11) and falls for the beautiful Toni Daytona. As well, Luann's idealized crush Aaron has left the strip entirely.

Examples of Tropes:
  • Aborted Arc: The storyline where Aaron was hiding his relationship with Diane was supposed to be Aaron and another boy. Evans bailed out, fearing too great a backlash and not having the subscriber base Lynn Johnston had to pull the same thing off without a significant loss in readership.
  • Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male: Played for Laughs - Gunther tries to do the classic Sawing-a-woman-in-half trick, and the counselor says that it's violent towards women. When Bernice suggests doing it to Gunther, the counselor finds no problem with it.
    • Averted when it comes to Zane&Bernice (And later Brad)'s boss - she's certainly abusive to her workers, and we're clearly supposed to dislike her.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The justification given for Toni's continued relationship with the blatantly terrible Dirk. He was muscular, but rude, nasty and disrespectful.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Luann's obsession with Aaron Hill, in the strip's earlier years; Brad's interest in Toni, before they became at item; Gunther's pining for Luann, still.
  • Anvilicious: Is it ever. A guy smoking marijuana isn't merely a druggie; he's a horrible, semi-abusive jerk to who tries to force his girlfriend (Bernice) to hide it for him. Also, Brad's inspired by 9/11 to become a firefighter and hero.
    • Delta is sort of an in-universe example. And her friends (including Luann) find it annoying.
    • Pretty much any arc that focuses on why Luann should choose Gunther as a boyfriend because he's nice and her mother likes him sooner or later deals out anvils about the evils of wanting a boyfriend based on infatuation/attraction.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Tiffany is Head Cheerleader, and thus easily attracts Aaron Hill, much to Luann's chagrin.
  • The Alleged Car: Brad's perpetually worked-on Chevy Nova.
  • Alpha Bitch: Tiffany the Evil Cheerleader pretty much defines this, at least as much as Libby herself did. Shallow, vain, beauty-obsessed and hateful of the main character 90% of the time.
  • Art Evolution: The art style in the strip has changed a lot since 1985. The characters debuted with huge heads and tiny, pudgy bodies, and maintained these cartoonish proportions for the first decade of the strip. In the second decade, they started to evolve towards more realistic proportions. Brad is probably the closest to his old look, but Luann herself is almost unrecognizable. The banner for the comic at GoComics shows the evolution of Luann's appearence over the years. The author will also occasionally draw characters in their older designs for flashbacks.
  • Author Appeal: Greg Evans is clearly into cars, which reflects on Brad, and later Toni.
  • Beautiful All Along: Played relatively straight, but with a male character, as Gunther drops his glasses and dorky clothing to look more acceptable to others.
    • When he really wanted to change his style, he had Tiffany help him. She was surprisingly effective at it, but he ultimately felt more comfortable as himself.
  • Betty and Veronica: Luann is the nice (sometimes), interesting Betty, and Tiffany is the skanky, skimpily-dressed Veronica.
  • Big Brother Attraction: Bernice has very strong feelings towards her long-lost older brother, to the point of getting angry when she learns that Luann has a crush on him.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead / Power Trio: Luanne (id), Bernice (ego), and Delta (super ego, Token Minority replacing redhead).
  • Brainless Beauty: Cheerleader Tiffany is shown as one of the most negative types of this trope, who doesn't try at much of anything and is seen as completely shallow.
  • Breakout Character: Brad had his own storylines occasionally, but was more often seen through Luann's eyes as an annoying older brother. By the time of the "9/11/Firefighter/Toni Daytona" storyline, Brad had basically earned equal footing to his sister in the strip, with a whole new supporting cast to play with.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Boy howdy. Can you believe that this used to be a gag-a-day strip without the deep, anvilicous Story Arcs it's now known for?
  • Character Development: Brad moves from a lazy, slovenly generic older-brother figure who harasses his sister all the time, to becoming dedicated to firefighting, spending several years of our-time (not Comic Book Time) working towards his classes.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Brad's first crush, Diane, puts him through the wringer over and over, and then vanishes without a trace after it's revealed she hooked up with Aaron Hill, and she hasn't been mentioned in nearly a decade. Unlikely to come back now that new girl Toni is in the picture.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Luann to Aaron Hill sometimes. Bernice especially does this to wheelchair-bound Zane, freaking out if he so much as talks to another girl, and asking him to marry her while she was still in High School.
    • Bernice to her brother, which some critics chalk up to the strange "attraction" that occasionally develops between long-lost parents and children (basically you want to love the long-lost person as family, but since you just met and never knew each other that way you're stuck with romantic love).
  • Comic Book Time: Luann and company have been in high school since 1985, approximately twenty-five years. Mildly averted because they have aged over the years, bit by bit.
  • Cosplay: Gunther loves making costumes for Luann's library readings.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Delta avoids Sassy Black Woman by usually being this to Luann & Bernice's more emotional tendencies.
  • Demoted to Extra: The beauty pageant arc from 2010 (the one introducing Rosa) was the first time Delta played a major role in a storyline in years. And she promptly faded back into the background once it was over.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Bernice's love interest Zane, paralyzed from the waist down, but still handsome.
  • Disappeared Dad: Gunther's father left his mother and him when he was little.
  • The Dog Is the Mastermind: Played With and Subverted during the chaparone arc. One of the teachers suspects that Luann was the one who did the anonymous caller due to this trope (which the teacher deconstructs by pointing out that the other teacher is just as applicable for that trope as well). It was Tiffany all along, and Luann only acted like she was the anonymous video recorder to Tiffany in order to trick her into admitting it.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Brad is this most of the time, chasing crushes Diane and Toni- especially true for the latter. Though at times he's been shown as angry and loudmouthed towards his sister, he's largely completely sympathetic the entire time.
    • Gunther is also one of these to an extent.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Done quite often, but in a more cutesy attempt at being sneaky. Examples: 1) Brad will tell Toni he was thinking of her. She says "So I see". He is holding melons or cantaloupes in the produce section. 2) The Degroot parents will argue over Brad living with Toni, because they're "both adults". The implication of sexuality is there, but never is the word actually said. 3) A 2009 series of strips featured Brad and Toni not-so-subtly making it clear they had sex earlier. 4) When Tiffany is asked by Gunther if she has had any "real" boyfriends, Tiffany then asks "As opposed to what, plastic ones?" Which works on two levels.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: The De Groots towards Luann. About the only time they deign to notice her presence is when she does something to displease them. Especially glaring in light of how Nancy is obsessed with keeping Brad from going to first base.
    • However; whenever there's a major decision such as getting a car or a house, they are there. One strip that's Played for Laughs has Luann ground herself because she knows she did something wrong.
    • TJ appears to have somewhere between this and Parental Abandonment.
  • Heel Faith Turn: Dirk claims this, though it seems rather dubious at the moment.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Brad, while working for the fire department, rushed in to save a character. He was complimented for being successful, but also reprimanded and suspended for putting himself at risk to do needless heroics.
  • Hot Mom: The past decade of Art Evolution has been very kind to Mrs. Degroot, shall we say. Her body type matches the strip's cuter female characters exactly, and her face is the kind of Generic Cuteness common as well.
  • Ironic Echo: Frank throws Nancy's derisive earlier remarks back in her face here.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: In this strip, Mr. DeGroot gets a little confused.
  • Jossed: Many MANY fan theories as to TJ's backstory. (Of course, he could just be lying, which certainly isn't out of character for him...)
  • Knight in Shining Armour: What Brad yearned to be towards Toni, to "save her" from boyfriend Dirk the Jerk. Also later, when he is nearly killed saving her life during a fire.
  • Long Lost Sibling: Bernice discovers a half-brother given up for adoption years ago, who is now a soldier in Afghanistan.
  • Long Runner: Twenty-five years. Though given that it's part of Newspaper Comics, it's virtually a baby amongst its peers.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Brad pretty much acts this way around both his love interests, Diane & Toni, frequently pretending to know about things he's actually clueless about, trying to dress the way they'd like, acting the way he feels they'd like, and randomly stuttering nonsense ("Hey auto go show Toni together with me!").
  • Love Triangle: Aaron, Luann & Tiffany. Also Toni with Brad & Dirk. And a budding one between Luann, Gunther, and creepy little gnome Elwood.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Toni admits to doing this to Brad to keep him at arm's length while he pined over her. She would say something that could be construed as flirty, making him obsess over it, and then turn it to something more innocent several times. During her relationship with Dirk, she made both of them think she "might" be interested in Brad as something more than a pal.
    • "Is she kissing me or Santa?"
  • Ms. Fanservice: Tiffany.
  • My Beloved Smother: Nancy towards Brad (but really only where Toni is involved); she won't let him stay over at Toni's house, seemingly rejecting his relationship growth when she was egging him on before, and tried to keep Brad from her at first because she saw Toni as a "bad girl".
    • When Brad hosted Thanksgiving at his and TJ's place Nancy was very chilly towards Toni but immediately warms up to Quill, Luann's handsome "date". Her husband quickly calls her out on her behavior.
      • We could make the point that she simply doesn't like Toni because of all of her baggage (Dirk is a massively violent person, and seems quite able to gut Brad like a fish) and the mind games she played on Brad before they became a couple.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Barely averted. When the strip began in 1985 Luann and her friends were approximately thirteen years old; in the ensuing two and a half decades they've advanced to roughly 16 or 17.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Aaron Hill's obliviousness towards Luann's (and Tiffany's) attraction was mostly to duck admitting he was taken. Or at least that's the way it turned out.
  • Odd Friendship: Tiffany, the strip's resident Alpha Bitch and cheerleader is best buds with Perky Goth Crystal. It helps that Tiffany is oblivious to most of Crystal's insults.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise (I couldn't find a better description): After Brad, Toni, and TJ learn that Dirk is their new garbage man, Brad and TJ hire the cheapest actress they can find -- Tiffany -- to convince Dirk that Toni moved away. It doesn't work (they fail to take into account that maybe Toni would've taken her stuff with her if she moved) but Dirk says he gets it and won't bother them anymore.
  • Parental Abandonment: Most characters' parents aren't shown; but are often mentioned. However; TJ's parents are never shown nor mentioned, until 2008 when he heavily implies that they might have abandoned him. Later confirmed.
  • Pet the Dog: Tiffany is a complete Alpha Bitch. Yet there are moments where she actually does appear to be nice to others. Among these include helping Gunther with his design, trying to hook up a couple teachers together, and later on, volunteering to help pay for Delta to go on the class trip to D.C.
    • Dirk even gets one.
  • Perky Goth: New Agey-type Crystal, a tertiary classmate of Luann and the others, occasionally fits this, but is often rather bitchy and sardonic as well. Essentially, the "Goth" look is merely a costume.
  • Perpetual Smiler: TJ
  • Positive Discrimination: Delta, the only black cast member, is of course one of the smartest and most level-headed of the entire group. In a cast where every other character has a swack of flaws, she only has the flaw of being a workaholic perfectionist. It landed her in the hospital once, but is pretty much the kind of "fake insult" someone would give at a job interview.
    • Her friends think she's too much of a goody two-shoes, though, and preachy to boot. Whether we're supposed to agree with them or not is not clear.
  • Progressively Prettier: Brad, originally very cartoonish and round (though not as much as his father), shifted to a slightly-more in-shape character with a less comically-round head (ie. he has a jawline!). Part of this is also in-character, as Brad got in better shape and cleaned up once he decided to become a firefighter. Many female characters went through the Art Evolution by gaining thinner physiques with feminine curves (instead of portly cartoonish bodies), such as Luann and her mom.
  • Put on a Bus: Aaron Hill, a rare major character example, having moved away, once the love triangle story got tired. Odd for such a major part of the strip. It also happens to a lot of the replacements for Aaron over the years, as various new love interests show up, allow Luann to obsess over them for a while, and then vanish. A few other characters like Zane and Elwood have vanished in the past year after a particular storyline focusing on them has ended.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Bernice's Long Lost Sibling was based directly on the child Evans and his wife (then girlfriend) gave up in college, and reconnected with.
    • The events of September 11th 2001 inspired Brad to become a firefighter.
  • Recycled: the Series: Almost. A live-action Luann Sitcom was optioned in 2003, but it never materialized.
  • Reformed but Rejected: Possibly Dirk, who claims he found Jesus when he was imprisoned for beating Toni and will be leaving town (Brad gets the feeling he's dying; readers think he's joining the priesthood). It doesn't help that the characters find out about this when they discover he's working as a garbage man on the same block as the Degroots and Toni. Even when he saves Mrs. Degroot after a bookshelf falls on her she refers to him as a "creepy, evil superhero".
  • Relationship Upgrade: Brad crushes openly on Toni Daytona upon meeting her, but can't win her away from her current jerky boyfriend, Dirk. It would take years of storylines for them to eventually start dating once she loses Dirk. It took longer still for them to get more than a handful of playful kisses. Finally, Toni admitted she loves Brad, and a few strips made it relatively obvious they were sexually active.
  • The Scrappy: Elwood, the Elvis-dressing, super-short rich kid, who shares Gunther's attraction to Luann. The fandom is not very enamored with him. But neither are Luann's friends, who aren't convinced that his riches are real despite the expensive dates he's taken her. When Elwood tried to propose to Luann they quickly discovered that the ring's "diamond" was fake, and the situation has yet to be resolved. So he may be an in-universe example of The Scrappy.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Aaron Hill, who often shows little physical attraction in anyone.
    • Which is odd, because there was a really weird story arc the end of which revealed that the "Gunther" Luann had spent most of the arc interacting with had been Aaron in disguise (possibly collaborating with the real Gunther-it was years ago) in an effort to get Luann to think past physical appearances now and again. Rather than cottoning to the lesson, Luann asked to "try on Gunther" (Aaron's mask).
  • Sibling Rivalry: A major part of the strip for years, with Brad & Luann's constant arguing and harassing each other.
  • Sinister Shades: Toni's thuggish ex-boyfriend Dirk is always depicted wearing these.
  • Slasher Smile: When Frank asks Nancy if she could've at least smiled at Tony during Thanksgiving, she breaks into one of these (actually more akin to 4chan's "Cool Face"). Frank concedes that it's probably better that she doesn't.
  • Stepford Smiler: Possible that TJ may be a male example.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Whenever Aaron Hill moves out of the picture (moves away or just has a falling out with Luann), there will be some other new boy. A lifeguard (who turns out to be married) or an exchange student (who eventually moves back), or something like that.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Most male characters other than Aaron Hill are given dots for eyes, big round noses and simplistically-shaped bodies. The women almost always have full figures, pouty lips, droopy/sexy eyes, etc. Unusually, Luann herself doesn't share this, having a big round head and nose with a line for a mouth.
  • This Loser Is You: Luann is depicted as a bit of an everyteen, which apparently makes her self-centered, insecure, lazy, messy, confused, indecisive, competitive, arrogant, inconsiderate and more, not to mention with a swack of body issues. Which is, of course, pretty accurate for a lot of teenagers.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Gunther.
  • Token Minority: Two of them. Friend Delta James is black (which never plays into her character at all), and Zane, Bernice's wheelchair-bound crush.
    • For a while, there used to be a foreign exchange student from Spain named Miguel, who was depicted as Ambiguously Brown.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Frank & Nancy Degroot, Luann's parents, qualify because of Tertiary Sexual Characteristics (she has eyelashes, lipstick and a feminine physique, while he is pudgy, bald with a big cartoony nose and dots for eyes). But the crown of this trope definitely goes to Brad and eventual girlfriend Toni Daytona, for similar reasons, but also the sheer unreal beauty Toni's given beyond just lipstick and eyeliner. She's tall, thin, pouty-lipped and droopy-eyed beyond every other character, and Brad until recently has been a cartoonishly pudgy guy with a big round head and "scribble hair".
    • Actually gender-switched with Luann & Aaron Hill slightly, as she more resembles the males in terms of cartoonish features for the most part (unless she dolls herself up), and he's a stereotypical dewey, flaxen-haired teen idol look-alike.
  • With Friends Like These...: Luann occasionally enters into this territory with Bernice and Delta.
  • Wrench Wench: Toni, in addition to being gorgeous, is idealized further by Brad upon discovering she's as into cars as he is, and works on them. He may have won her over a bit initially with his "is it hot in here?" to her "first-time" story of rebuilding a carb.
  • You Just Told Me: This is how Luann found out that Tiffany was the anonymous student who recorded her teachers dancing on chaperone duty during the dance, as she "claimed credit" for it to see her reaction. After Tiffany blurted out that she did it and not Luann, Luann quipped that her tricking her was very easy.