Infobox comic strip
caption= "Liō" strip from
Universal Press Syndicate
"Liō" is a daily
comic stripcreated by Mark Tatulliand syndicated through Universal Press Syndicate. The strip focuses on the adventures of a (subjectively) strange little boy named Liō. He lives with his father (unnamed in the strip) and his pets. The setting of the story varies from Liō's house, his school, and the general outside world. The time period appears to be contemporary. The strip is notable for the fact that most of the story is told visually, with little or no dialogue.
Gags frequently involve the supernatural/occult, alien invasion, or mass destruction of many sorts, creating a surreal, disturbing atmosphere in the comics. Some of the strip's recurring themes involve Liō getting even with grade-school bullies, helping animals (most of which are non-anthropomorphic but display obvious intelligence) defend themselves against humans or their predators, and performing
mad scientiststyle experiments. He is often seen using robots that he constructs himself for causing mischief. Another recurring gag in the strip is parody of other famous comic strips, with "Cathy", " For Better or For Worse", " Garfield", " Zits", " Calvin and Hobbes", "Blondie" and " Peanuts" already targeted.
In addition to Liō, the strip only has one other major character, Liō's unnamed father. He is frequently shown to be the subject of Liō's
pranks and sometimes has to get his son out of difficult situations. On one occasion, when he watched a news report of an alien invasion, he gave Liō a hard spanking for holding an "alien ship" in the backyard. Nevertheless, he really loves his son, and does the best he can, considering he is just an ordinary man.
Liō has at least five companion animals:
*Spider, a spider who has helped him cheat on tests.
*Cybil, a white cat who has unique methods for getting Liō to feed her. She looks sweet and innocent, but is not.
*Frank, a cobra who sometimes sleeps in Liō's bed.
*Ishmael, a giant squid, mainly identified as a "
*Mittens, a lobster rescued from his father's planned dinner. It is much to Lio's Dad's credit that he actually agreed to this.
There are several frequently recurring characters:
*Liō's hunchbacked assistant
*his grade-school teacher, Mrs. Gatchi
*a group of school bullies
*assorted mythical monsters (both alive and undead)
*various lab creations (some alive, some robots)
*Eva Rose: A violent girl with bangs that cover her face that Liō has a crush on. She does not return the feeling, and is often quite violent towards him or his expressions of love. This does not sway Liō in the slightest.
While it may seem that all the strips are from Liō's imagination, Mark Tatulli has stated that everything that goes on in the strip actually happens to Liō,cite web|url=http://www.amuniversal.com/ups/features/lio/tatulli_interview.htm|title=Q&A with Mark Tatulli on Liō from Universal Press Syndicate website|accessdatedate=2006-02-12] though most of the time others turn a blind eye to it, unlike the other-worldly situations that occurred to Calvin in the comic strip "
Calvin and Hobbes".
Another notable aspect of "Liō" (one reminiscent of such strips as "
The Little King", "Henry", and " Ferd'nand") is its general lack of dialogue, though there are occasional vocalizations (such as "Eeck!" or "Aggh!") and there are labels on certain objects to make the gags more obvious. One-time characters have sometimes spoken, and characters in some of the parodies have had dialogue even when Liō himself is silent.
Tatulli has credited
Gahan Wilson, Charles Addams[cite web|url=http://www.gocomics.com/lio/bio.phtml |title=Interview with Mark Tatulli on gocomics.com] and U.S. Civil Warera caricaturist Adalbert J. Volckas influences on the visual style of "Liō"'.
The strip debuted on
May 15, 2006in more than 100 newspapers which included the " Los Angeles Times", " The Dallas Morning News", " The Atlanta Journal-Constitution", " Houston Chronicle", Denver's " Rocky Mountain News", the " St. Petersburg Times", " Raleigh News and Observer", " Detroit Free Press" and " The Seattle Times". Because it is a mostly-wordless strip, it can easily be marketed worldwide -- one paper, " De Morgen", a Brussels-based Flemish newspaper, picked up the strip the day the strip debuted. [cite web|url=http://www.amuniversal.com/ups/newsrelease/?view=325|title=LIO Starts May 15|accessedate=2006-07-26|date=2006-05-12]
As of August 2007, "Liō" runs in nearly 336 newspapers worldwide. [Cite web|url=http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/departments/syndicates/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003622436|title='Lio' Pantomime Comic Is Doing Well in Asia|accessdate=2007-08-14|date=2007-08-07] Because of its mostly wordless nature, the comic is very successful in overseas markets and Asia in particular, where it is handled by
An October 23rd, 2007 article in "Variety" revealed that the strip had been optioned for a live-action feature film. The project is being produced by David Kirschner. [ [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117974581.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 Dark 'Lio' leaps to screen - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety ] ]
* [http://www.gocomics.com/lio/ Liō] (daily strip provided by [http://www.gocomics.com http://www.gocomics.com] , with archives going back about one month)
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