Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Lio -- Literally

The November 23, 2015, sequence of Lio shows one of the strengths of a comic strip. In such a visual medium, one has to represent everything as a drawing, as creator Mark Tatulli did. (click on image to enlarge)

The joke, of course, is that the figurative has become literal. The scissors and matches are both animate rather than inanimate objects. And note how that last panel is set up. 

Reading left to right we first see Lio with his two friends, and then the sign. If you reverse the order, the joke falls flat, as we know what to expect. As Tatulli set it up, though, we're briefly wondering what the significance of those two objects is, preparing us for the punchline contained in the rules. Coming up with the gag is one thing -- but knowing how to properly set it up is the real talent of a comic strip artist.

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