A Brief History of "Love Is..." Comics By Kim Casali and Bill Asprey

Get the scoop on one of the most long-running comic strips in history.

Love Is comic
Via www.loveiscomix.com.

What is Love Is?"

New Zealand native Kim Casali created her iconic syndicated cartoon strip Love Is back in the late 1960's.While working as a receptionist, Casali began doodling little pictures as love notes for her husband-to-be, Roberto Casali. Her drawings were cute and relatable, featuring a round, cartoonish version of herself and an equally Hummel-figurine-looking version of her fiance. After they were married, her husband continued to encourage Casali to keep drawing her comics, and in the late 60s she began publishing little pamphlets filled with her work.

"I began making little drawings to express how I felt... It was a little bit like keeping a diary that described how my feelings had grown," Casali once told The Independent.

Syndication and International Acclaim

After passing the pamphlets on to a friend in publishing, Casali's Love Is cartoons were picked up for national syndication in 1970. Casali, drawing under the pen name "Kim," then gained national attention. In February of 1972 Casali published her most famous comic, "Love Is...being able to say you are sorry." The strip gained international acclaim, in part because it was released around the time when the movie Love Story (1970) was reaching the height of its cinematic success. The film's catchphrase "Love means never having to say you're sorry" matched closely with Casali's sentiments in the Love Is cartoons.

Similar to more modern comic strips such as Bizarro and Maxine, Love Is became so popular that Casali was soon able to quit her job and work on the comics full time. According to her obituary, Love Is became so lucrative that Casali was earning almost 5 million pounds each year in the mid 1970s.

Saying Goodbye to Love Is

In 1975, Casali's husband Roberto was diagnosed with terminal cancer, so she stopped drawing Love Is in order to spend as much time with him as possible before he passed away. She then commissioned British cartoonist Bill Asprey to continue making the comics under her pen name. Asprey continues to produce the cartoon to this day, although Casali's son Stefano has since taken over the company which owns the intellectual property rights. Casali passed away in June of 1997, but her legacy continues to this day, thanks to Asprey and her son.

The Casali's "Miracle Baby," Milo

After Roberto was diagnosed, the Casalis decided to try for a third child using a preserved specimen. Thusly, Casali gave birth to a biological sibling for her children 16 months after her husband's death, causing a bit of a media flurry in Australia, where she lived at the time. Though she rarely spoke publicly about her experience with artificial insemination, Casali did state that, "Roberto and I were very anxious to provide a brother or sister to our two sons. Now, thanks to the care and patience of the doctors, it has been made possible for me to have another reminder of my wonderful husband." [Quote via Wikipedia]

Love Is: An Enduring Legacy That Continues Today

Today's Love Is as seen in newspapers worldwide, and months of previous selections are accessible in an online archive, an effort stretching Valentine's Day romance throughout the year. Individual cartoons become email greeting cards and may be forwarded free to a special friend. You can check out Love Is cartoons on their website, Love Is Comix.

If you're looking for more sweet, funny, and wryly humorous comic strips, try these on for size:

This article was updated by Beverly Jenkins on August 31, 2016.