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Safe Havens is a fantasy comic strip by Bill Holbrook, launched in 1988 and initially set in a daycare center. In 1993 the preschool children began aging in real time, and the strip has followed them as they've moved through K-12, college and now young adulthood. The main character is Samantha Argus, a personable and enthusiastic young woman with the skills of a Mad Scientist who has unlocked the secrets of genetic manipulation.
This comic contains examples of:
- Absent-Minded Professor: Rupert and Rosalind are great geneticists but keep making trouble for themselves. Even more so when separate.
- Artifact Title: Safe Havens Daycare hasn't been seen in decades.
- The comic has tried to avoid this by having the students continue to same-named schools over the years and even adopting the name for a band. But at this point, neither the band nor the university are particularly central.
- Cats Are Snarkers: Palmtop. Then again, snark is pretty well distributed in this comic.
- Character Blog: Roger has a weekly blog.
- Everyone Can See It: As much as Samantha and (to a lesser extent) Dave used to protest that they were Just Friends, nobody bought it.
- Gratuitous Italian: Mild examples thanks to Dave playing basketball in Italy.
- Gretzky Has the Ball: Rule of Funny is the only consistently portrayed rule in any sports action.
- Ignore the Disability: A key demand from Luis, which is why he loves Jenny instead of the ever-helpful Samantha.
- Interspecies Romance: Pretty common among the animals. Also Thomas and Remora, though Thomas sometimes becomes a merman.
- Jerkass: Jenny, though she sometimes borders on Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Lego Genetics: Leads to both Voluntary Shapeshifting and Involuntary Shapeshifting.
- Meaningful Name: Everyone has at least one.
- Mister Seahorse: Thomas, thanks to the nature of merfolk.
- My New Gift Is Lame: Averted and then subverted. Despite the expectations of relatives, Samantha didn't mind inheriting only a ring from her grandma. Especially when she discovered that it acted as a sort of Video Phone to her grandma in Heaven.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Samantha. She's practically rewritten the book on genetics and is such a pro at computer security that her dad's boss has a standing offer of employment for her.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Remora reveals many qualities not found in most other works. For example, she can shapeshift into fully human or fully fish forms only up to 12 hours at a time, after which she transforms into the opposite form whether she wants to or not. It is also said that if a human saves a mermaid's life three times, they become a mermaid themselves, although exactly what qualifies as saving their life is Played for Laughs: Samantha found herself turned into a mermaid after something as simple as giving Remora a flotation ring for swimming practice.
- Secret Marriage: Jenny and Luis.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Several characters can speak with animals, but only so long as they mentally retain some aspect of their childhood; those who "grow up" lose the ability and eventually forget they ever had it.
- This Is Reality: "So... there are restrictions even on time travelers?" "Si. This isn't some Fantasy, you know."
- Time Travel: Has happened a few times of late. In a manner of speaking.
- Weirdness Magnet: Compared to most of her friends, Samantha is downright normal. She even calls herself by this trope.