by Mark Tatulli
This was the second collection of – and my first introduction to – Lio comics and Mark Tatulli. According to the publisher, Lio is a “morbidly mirthful pantomime comic strip.” It is the exploits – told mostly in illustrations, with little dialogue – of a strange little boy and his friends, including a squid and his Undead Bunny (think Uglydoll). Basically, imagine Calvin and Hobbes on drugs. And I mean that nicely.
I thought the illustrations, especially the full color Sunday strips, were well done. (My husband was less kind; he thought they were somewhat average.) My favorite strips were the one-off’s – Lio discovering a sunken ship at the bottom of his inflatable pool or setting a restaurant’s lobsters free. The longer storylines and arcs were just okay in comparison. I didn’t get Lio’s adoration of Eva Rose, the mean girl in his class, and the comics with his clueless father fell flat for me. In general, too, I would say that, for me, many of the strips were sweet or amusing but that very few of the strips were laugh out loud funny. I think, though, that fans of Emily the Strange will feel right at home in Lio’s world.