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A newspaper comic by Mark Tatulli, revolving around the life of the titular character. Known for its lack of dialogue, unique storylines, and creepy protagonist. Plots revolve around the strange circumstances Lio gets into, usually with extremely dark punchlines. The comic is also known for frequently taking shots at other comic strips, both for one-offs and even occasionally longer storylines. The strip premiered in 2005
It should be noted that Tatulli also writes another published comic strip, Heart of the City, which is far more mainstream.
Can be seen in animated form here.
This work contains the following tropes.
- Bedsheet Ghost: This strip plays with it.
- Butt Monkey: Lio himself seems to have fallen into this nowadays.
- Cardiovascular Love: Parodied at least twice, once with duct tape for a broken one, and once when it needed a defibrillator.
- Cats Are Mean: Lio's cat Cybil.
- Cool Old Lady: Lio's Grandma. Although she doesn't actually appear, we get the impression that she's cool by letter writings such as this
- Creepy Child: Lio, with his blank eyes and interesting choice of pets. Oh, and he will happily feed puppies to them.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite his strange taste in pets, and His friendships with slasher movie icons, Lio is a decent kid at heart.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Among others, Lio is friends with Death, Michael Meyers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, and a giant man-eating fish monster.
- Editorial Synaesthesia: In one Running Gag, Lio's crush on Eva is shown as a heart in the usual fashion, which Eva then physically shreds/stabs/etc..
- Eldritch Abomination: Lio has a pet cthulhu named Cephalopod. (No, that isn't backwards.)
- Fluffy Tamer: Just look at all of Lio's "pets" in the upper strip. Then, look at what he's trying to get as a new one in the lower strip.
- Friend to All Living Things: Lio loves and is loved by all animals, from monsters, to squids, to bunnies -- although this does come with an awareness that some of his animal friends eat other animals or even humans, and a willingness to indulge their appetites. His tendency to automatically take the side of the animals in any animal vs. human situations does manage to backfire rather spectacularly on one occasion, when he's mugged by some baby ducks he just saved from a hunter.
- Genre Busting: When you get right down to it, it's like nothing else in America. The closest it gets to "normal" is when it emulates Calvin and Hobbes, but it's just as likely to resemble a Victorian morality fable mixed with Surreal Horror.
- Heroic Mime: Lio.
- Knife Nut: Eva, who Lio has repeatedly tried and failed to get a date with.
- Made From Real Girl Scouts: Ripped off the trope-naming joke once, and has had other jokes based on the same general idea.
- Missing Mom: It's eventually revealed that she has died, in a Christmas strip no less, although with no mention of where or when.
- Mr. Imagination: Lio, although it plays a smaller role in the strip than you might think. Almost all the weird stuff that happens is explicitly real -- backed up by Word of God -- and it's nearly always completely unambiguous about the rare occasions where it isn't.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Lio has a giant squid and a snake as pets. He tried to bring them to the school dance once.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Lio. Are you starting to get an idea of what this strip is like?
- No Smoking: Lio seems not to like smokers very much.
- Obviously Evil: Anyone who's an Asshole Victim is readily identifiable by having bad teeth.
- Eva has even worse teeth than most of the Asshole Victims. Draw your own conclusions.
- Perky Goth: Lio himself.
- Surreal Horror: Quite a lot of strips have a one-shot character appear as an Asshole Victim for two panels, then die in a bizarre and disturbing way in the third. Even the main characters are subject to random attacks by skeletons and leaf monsters, though Lio and Eva are Badass enough to outfight them, and Lio's father knows when to flee.
- Take That: Repeatedly pokes fun at other comics. It's gone after Peanuts the most, likely out of response to an incident where Tatuli received hate mail when Lio replaced Peanuts reruns in one its papers. This strip probably wins an award for the most Take Thats in the entire run, while this strip is probably the most brutal assault on a single comic.
- His Take That at Peanuts could be seen as more of an Affectionate Parody, as in the first treasury, his comments leave the impression he has great respect for the strip.
- There's also this strip where Lio sets out flowers for the FoxTrot dailies in a cemetery for comic strips that also includes Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side. Outside the cemetery, for contrast, there's a parade of comic strip characters who are still alive despite having long ago lost any relevance or humor they may once have had, including Nancy, Dennis the Menace, and Dagwood.
- Toilet Humour: Used occasionally.
- Weirdness Magnet: Weird stuff happens around Lio whether or not he actively seeks it out or causes it.