When I think of Mark Tatulli’s delightful Lio, I think of silent movies, for obvious reasons. Like a great Chaplin gag, such as his fork dance, there’s something so simple and yet brilliant about Lio that I am routinely stirred to giggles by what Mark comes up with week after week. And while silent movies, like comics, may seem old-fashioned, the superb ones never become obsolete. Lio is such a comic. It’s all in Mark's art—the way he can take a well-worn concept and turn it into something totally bizarre and fresh. Like this zombie gag from 2008, or this grim reaper gag from that same year.
Yet it’s easy to forget what warmth there is in the strip. Mark can evince such empathy from Lio’s isolation, that I often want to somehow reach out and hug him. Like here. Without saying a word, we completely understand his loneliness.
As I was going through past strips, I realized another of the many reasons I love Lio is because no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen one, it can still make me laugh. Very few comics do that for me—The Far Side is another. And, like the venerable Far Side, Lio’s humor is not really of the present moment, or any moment. It really is timeless.