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New comic strip shines light on children of divorce

There's something about an underdog that we all love. Generations of pop culture have introduced us to fictional characters who may have been down on their luck, but that's what makes them so loveable -- we can relate to them, because we've gone through the same experiences.

A new comic strip brings to the masses a character with whom anyone who's been through a divorce can identify. Meet Gil, an 8-year-old whose parents are no longer together. Like Charlie Brown, another comic strip character from the school of hard knocks, Gil is usually picked last for sports teams at school. Although he has yet to be foiled by a sneaky girl promising to hold a football for him, he has his down days, as well as a mean-spirited girl to deal with at school.

Gil lives with his mom, who supports him with her modest income from a factory job. His dad, whose only plan for family time with his son is to buy a lottery ticket, doesn't come around as much as Gil would like. But unlike Charlie Brown, Gil has a fairly positive take on life. He also has loyal companions, including a girl who is his best friend and classmate. Her parents are divorced, too. Together they deal with the hang-ups and let-downs of living in a single-parent household.

Gil's creator, Norm Feuti, was raised by a single parent himself. Although not 100 percent autobiographical, the cartoon strip touches on themes that are close to him and that anyone who's been through divorce can relate to. Considering that almost half of all marriages end in divorce and one child out of four is raised by a single parent, Feuti has a fairly wide audience. The strip debuted this week and is running in publications nationwide.

Source: USA Today, "Meet Gil, just another child of divorce, in comic strip," David Colton, Jan. 2, 2011

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