In 1988, Bill Holbrook, creator of On The Fastrack, launched Safe Havens, a clever look at how children interact with each other and with the adults in their world.
With a unique cast of intelligent and unpredictable characters, Safe Havens dishes out a good laugh every day.
King Features syndicates Safe Havens to more than 50 newspapers.
Bill Holbrook was born in Los Angeles in 1958, and grew up in Huntsville, Ala., after his father was transferred to work in the space program.According to his mother, he started his career as an artist by drawing on the household walls.
Bill majored in illustration and visual design at Auburn University in Alabama. He was the art director of the student newspaper, where he produced a weekly comic strip. He also did the paper's editorial cartoons, and was published regularly in the Huntsville Times and the Monroe (Ala.) Journal. After graduation in 1980, Bill joined the Atlanta Constitution as an editorial staff artist. But his ambition remained to do a syndicated strip of his own.
During a 1982 visit to relatives on the West Coast, Bill was able to meet with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz who advised him to continually work on comic strip ideas, "weeding out the bad, keeping the good, rather than waiting for one big concept." Armed with that advice, Bill created a strip in the fall of that year about a college graduate working in a run-down diner. It did not stir syndicate interest, but what he learned on the strip helped the young cartoonist create his first winner, On the Fastrack, which was launched in syndication by King Features in 1984. There have been three anthologies of strips published.
In October of 1989, Bill launched his second strip, Safe Havens. Initially about a day care center, this strip evolved into the adventures of Samantha Argus and her friends. King Features has distributed the comic since 1993.
In September of 1995, Bill began a third strip called Kevin & Kell about a functional family of animals in a dysfunctional world. The strip is available online and also in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Bill lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and two daughters.
Samantha is a teen growing into womanhood, with a hopeful nature and a scientific mind. Her technical side enables her to see the world rationally and realistically, which comes in handy when you're surrounded by a mermaid, the spirit of a late grandmother, living dust bunnies and a genetic mishap that turned the family Border collie into a school guidance counsellor.
Dave and Samantha are soulmates, a fact known to everyone but themselves. Dave is dyslexic, but found that instead of it being a disability it's simply an alternate yet perfectly viable way of interfacing with the world. He uses his unique spatial talents to achieve stardom on the basketball court.
Jenny is vain, shallow and self-centered, possessing a set of personal ethics that could charitably be called "situational." She is everything that Samantha is not. Contrastingly, the two have been friends since preschool.
Remora is a 415-year-old mermaid who has decided to live on land for a while. Like all merfolk, she has the option of living 24 hours a day as half-fish, half human (i.e., Mermaid Classic), or for twelve hours fully human followed by twelve hours as a fish. In the later time frame, she lives in a tank in Samantha's room.
Samantha's father Donald works as the safety inspector at Fastrack, Inc., and her mother Jeanine has been elected state senator. Samantha has a little sister named Sophie, and three grown older siblings: Sylvester, Steve and Shondra.
When the mother of Samantha's mom passed away, she left Samantha a magic ring. When wearing it, Samantha can speak to her grandmother in any reflection. A former daredevil with a wealth of adventurous experiences, she sees her post-life duty as making sure Samantha doesn't spend her years glued to the front of a computer screen.
Roger is the mascot of the Havens High School Fighting Personal Digital Assistants. (The team used to be called the Lions until a "contribution" from a high-tech firm resulted in the name change.) Roger takes his mascot role incredibly seriously, communicating entirely through the costume's screen display.
Samantha, Dave, Jenny, Remora and Roger are joined by Thomas, Bambi, Gerald, Arnold, Lisa and Winston in the Other Clique. These are the souls who never fit into any of the school's official catalog of Cliques, so they were listed in the box marked "Other." Their own mascot is (appropriately) a cat who is the clone of a dog. They're always open to new members.