Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lio and the Comics Change 2 - The Transition

 Mark Tatulli, creator of Lio, seems to share some of my opinions about newspaper comics. His brilliant story arc last week made several mordant points about the state of the industry, and offered up some humor that worked on different levels. Rather than write one massive commentary about the sequence, I'm break it up into three parts, (The Beginning, The Transition, and The Rerunuts) each examining two days of continuity in detail. 

The Transition

Wednesday's strip involved some simple word play, taking the name of an actual comic strip literally (click on images to enlarge).

Realistic art coupled with grown-up storylines -- no wonder
"The Heart of Juliet Jones" was discontinued.
The Heart of Juliet Jones was a soap opera strip created by Stan Drake in 1953. It ran through 2001, although its heyday was the late 1950's and early 1960's.

Drake was an excellent draftsman, and the realistic drawings of the strip helped the readers take the story lines seriously. And those stories, for the most part, were mostly realistic, too, unlike the over-the-top drama of current TV soaps. That realism, plus a reading public's impatience with long story lines, may have lead to the strip's demise.

Tatulli uses the title of the strip for his gag, but doesn't appear to criticize the strip directly. The next day, though, the knives are back out.

So funny I forgot to laugh.
Although the artwork isn't that close, it's clear Dopey Dog is a parody of Marmaduke. And quite frankly, I wish Animal Control had been called on that pooch long ago. Brad Anderson's single panel comic has been running since 1954, and even as a child I didn't find it amusing. And I own a dog.

I think Marmaduke might still be around because 1) it doesn't take up much space, and 2) it fulfills the mandate Tatulli alludes to in Tuesday's strip -- it offends the least amount of people.

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