Lio hits 150

Universal Press has announced that Mark Tatulli’s Lio has surpassed the 150 client mark – beating The Boondocks by 10% at the six months mark. Mark’s other strip Heart of the City is still seen in 100 newspapers nationwide.

Congrats Mark! And if the number of comments on this blog are any indication – you’ve got a growing fan base.

32 thoughts on “Lio hits 150

  1. Hey, thanks for the mention Alan! Looks like the last year of non-stop work is paying off!
    Hopefully the positive movement will continue.
    I pray! I pray!

  2. I’m heartened to learn that Mark’s creation is doing so well and has bested The Boondocks’ growth in the first six months by 10%. I was never a big fan of The Boondocks. Interesting that Lio, a strip without words, can speak volumes whereas the other one with its dialogue never said anything noteworthy.

  3. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Mark is incredibly talented, and very approachable.
    Keep up the great work, Mark!

    P.S. – Tom Heintjes! It’s been a while. How are you?

  4. Awwww, you’re all too kind!

    Mr. Buford, I don’t think you’d have the same opinion if you lived with me. Just ask my wife. I’ve been a fulltime cartoonist for about two years now and she’s started sticking notices for office space rentals under my nose.

    Guy, I’ve made a compromise: I started wearing those sporty half-sox, so get off my back.

    Mr. Mason, a picture is worth a thousand words, they tell me. A Godsend to a cartoonist who loves to draw and hates inking text.

  5. For a score

    For the first score of years of my Life, I was bullied mercilously throughout the world (I was scrawny — those were the days — and very sensitive). After Army Basic Training (weapons/ martial arts), that ceased… physically. For the next 4 decades, I was bullied, emotionally/ Spiritually. Hence your, recent, Lio strip (pre-Christmas, ’06) that shows an aligator (?) which is protecting Lio from a pair of thugs resonnated (that’s NOT a “Croc”). Thanks!

  6. Double festivus miracle! Hi Tom and Mark…long time no see.Greetings from snowy Denver, our paper Rocky Mtn news added LIO a bit ago..glad to see it, its
    one of my new fave it’s great to hear about the increase! way to go!

  7. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for creating Lio, a very funny, thoughtful comic. I’m in Richmond, Va and The Times Dispatch just ran two weeks of Lio as a test comic. I hope it’s picked up regularly. I have contacted them with positive comments.
    Until then I try to get my Lio fix through the WWW. Best of luck. Kevin P. Sutton

  8. Hey, thanks, Kevin! I could use all the help I can get in these polls! Older readers tend to not like anything new, especially with a dark slant, and they are very vocal. So I appreciate each and every vote of confidence!

  9. I was a fan. Not after today’s strip (2-28).
    I find it offensive and extremely unprofessional. Mark must feel that his early
    success has guaranteed him immunity from
    good taste and the good will of his collegues.
    It is one thing to poke a little fun at legacy
    strips, it is quite another to depict them as
    heartless fiends “Whistling past the graveyard”. I am taking Lio off the list of my daily comics.

  10. I’m even more a fan after today. It’s time someone publicly took these tired strips to task. I admire the strips that retired, instead of milking every last dime out of their creation and giving jobs to ther children.

  11. Since when in this country is it a crime to pass
    a family business on to ones heirs? I don’t
    remembmer any one telling my father in law
    to sell his flooring business after he retired just so some other company could suceed in his storefront! The fact is the readers of papers decide which strips to keep and which strips to drop – there are certainly enough reader polls out there for papers to know which strips are popular and which are not.
    Many of the strips featured in today’s strip (Blondie for instance )consistantly win reader polls. All a new strip needs to do is be consistantly interesting and funny and it will get its chance. I seem to remember reading that Lio had a pretty damn good launch even before Boondocks and Foxtrot left. Their departure has only sped up Mark’s success.
    As I said earlier I WAS a fan. I was happy to see something new and different in my paper and thought it was nice and edgy. There is big difference between being edgy and taking cheap shots at ones collegues. And this is not the first shot like this – I also thought the Sunday with the moving van kicking out Boondocks was in extremely poor taste. I mean this guy benefits from the departure of the strip and then thumbs his nose at McGruder on the way out. Maybe that was not the intent of the strip but it certainly was how all my friends saw it. I just think Mark’s strip has a great opportunity for continued success without stooping to this level.

  12. In the early days of comic strips, newspaper moguls worked with cartoonists to create comic strip characters that would bring entertainment value to their papers. In those early days, if a cartoonist went on to something else, another was hired to continue those features. Why is it, or why should it, be different today? Who wants to read another comic featuring poorly drawn characters espousing viewpoints that belong on the editorial page when you could be reading a strip with characters you’ve enjoyed for years? I don’t hear people in the comic book industry, or their fans talking about how “tired” Superman and Batman are, how many writers and artists have worked on their adventures, and how the characters should have died with their creators.

  13. Hey Liz, my take on today’s trip was more of a “by the grace of (whomever) go I…” meaning it could happen to any strip at any time, either by the cartoonist’s choice or the syndicator’s (or the reader’s).
    Lio was laying flowers, showing respect, I think you took it the wrong way. If you really are leaving over that, go with grace. You’ll be back…

  14. That’s just it, they see these creative endeavors strictly as business … to me, it’s art.

    How many Frank Sinatra Jr. CDs do you have?

  15. Brennamom,
    The respect part was quite obviously directed at the cartoonists who have retired their own strips. The disrespect part to the other cartoonists was equally obvious. Maybe you took it the wrong way.

  16. Lefitte,
    If I read your post correctly you are implying that art forms should not be regarded at a business. Are you an artist? As a professional musician AND professional artist I expect to be paid for my work. When I play a symphony concert the symphony charges its patrons a considerable amount of money for their ticket and I expect my share of that accordingly. When I play a wedding that bride has recieved the benefit of my years of training and experience and her day is more beautiful for it. I grow tired of the sentiment that artistic talent is a gift that should be shared for free and that we artists should be glad simply to have our art out in the public forum for the love of it. I don’t remember anyone expecting a wedding cake to show up for free just to give exposure to the baker. I mean if he views his cakes as an art form shouldn’t that be all he needs to get out of it? I do not in fact have Frank Sinatra Jr cds because his music is not to my taste but I certainly wouldn’t try to drum him out of the business just because his father was a star. Maybe he did get his foot in the door through connections but the public decides what it will and won’t buy. I think June Carter Cash’s career is going just fine thank you.

  17. Lefitte,
    Then I appologize to you for interpreting your post that way. I agree that legacy strips may not be the most innovative thing on the comics page but most of those strips are what their readers require them to be. I would recommend you to try to access an interview Brian Walker did with NPR’ s Terri Gross last year. I used to think much as you do and this interview really opened my eyes to the position these artist’s often find themselves in. If they try to deviate at all from what their readers expect they catch hell for it. I don’t think taking swipes at these guys is helpful. When strips outgrow their audience they are often replaced anyway. Cathy and BC are losing a lot of papers lately – Cathy probably because there are now several good “Chick Strips” out there competing for her demographic, and BC because he now takes positions that offend people. You should also consider that many of these strips are encouraged to continue by their syndicates. Because these legacy strips make so much money for their syndicates, the syndicates can then turn around and invest in a new strip without that strip needing to make an instant profit.Some syndicates pay their new artists a minimum salary whether they make that money back in the beginning or not.
    I doubt very seriously if that practice could continue without the legacy revenue.

  18. It was just a funny contrast between living cartoonists with “dead” strips and dead cartoonists with “living” strips. The characters walking past weren’t depicted as zombies..although I’m sure Lio would’ve loved that.
    Lio is always fun and innovative, thanks Mark..keep it up!

  19. I think the problem with this strip was that the editorial intent was really unclear. For one thing “whistling past the graveyard” does not mean “thumbing you nose at death” it means trying to ignore that death is inevitable. But the legacy strips have avoided that fate, so they ARE kind of thumbing their noses at death, NOT whistling past the graveyard.
    Meanwhile, the strips in the graveyards didn’t “die,” they retired. The depiction makes it seems as though Fox Trot and Calvin & Hobbes were somehow victims of Hagar the Horrible, which isn’t the case at all.
    I *think* his point is that he respects cartoonists for retiring their strips before they become pale copies of themselves done into senility and then taken up by assembly line artists, churned out to make elderly newspaper readers happy. Fine. But the tone of the strip didn’t capture that – it made it seem like the innovative strips suffered a grisly death at the hands of legacy strips.

  20. Dave,
    I kind of agree with you but I took the whistling and the happy expressions on the faces of the legacy strip characters to mean that they were going blithely on their way cheating death. I also took the scowl on Lio’s face to express disapproval of their attitude and the flowers in his hands to express reverence for those who stepped aside. I stand by my original assertion that it was a deliberate snub and an “inside” caroonist’s snub at that. I notice that Guy Gilchrist, creator of Nancy is on an earlier part of this thread complimenting Mark on his innovative strip. Since Nancy was one of the characters in this particular Lio strip I would be curious to know if he was personally offended or not bothered at all.

  21. My intent was to point out the irony of living cartoonists with dead strips versus dead cartoonists with living strips. No more than that. That said, it really doesn’t matter what I was trying to say…people will always apply their own message. That’s the nature of comics. Some get it, some don’t. But I’m always fascinated by how deeply some will look into a strip a read things that I never intended. I especially think it’s odd that “liz” would see a scowl on Lio’s face, a character that I created with a blank expression by design. But, again, people will see what they want to see. I have no control over that.

    I think it’s worth mentioning that I love Guy Gilchrist. I also have good relationships of many, many of the cartoonists I routinely make fun of. In fact, many of them request the original art. Think of it this way…friends in the 3rd grade drawing cartoons making fun of each other and passing them back and forth, trying to out-do each other. That’s how I see it and I expect they do too. I have the highest respect for anybody who can make a buck in this crazy business and I don’t begrudge anyone their success or continued income. However, I do reserve the right to make fun of them in my comic strip. That’s one of the great joys of the art I am lucky enough to engage in…passing cartoons back and forth among my peers, but now the rest of the comic-reading community is watching.

  22. Yes, the rest of the comic reading community is now watching and they cannot be expected to know just what your personal relationships with your colleagues are – they can only interperet your strip for its content. Do you feel I misunderstood your strip or are you just surprised that it provoked such a strong reaction – maybe in your opinion an over-reaction? I respect your right to swap digs at your competitors, but I have a right to let you know that I find it offensive and feel that it crosses a line of good taste. It has been said elsewhere on this site that cartoonists benefit from any kind of feedback, good or bad and my opinion is the feed back of myself and some others who read your strip in our local paper.

  23. Liz, in your one of your earlier posts you mention how being a musician, your audience expects expertiece. However that is a different thing altogether than making new symphonies using, say, Mozart’s name and charicteristics. It may not be bad music but it isn’t especially original. Mark isn’t putting these people down but he pointing out the irony.

  24. This is probably my favorite Lio strip, by far. Liz, I’m surprised you don’t see the deeper truth in your earlier statement – that it’s the readers who choose which strips stay or go. Regardless of the fact that the strips depicted on the headstones retired, the fact is that the readers have chosen the most inane, unimaginitive and un-thought-provoking strips to go on taking up space in the paper. What do you think that says about them (and by extension, you)?

    Bravo, Mark Tatulli. Bravo. In the beginning I thought your strip was just another in a long line of Calvin & Hobbes ripoffs, but it’s become clear that it’s closer to a love letter.

  25. Good afternoon! I see that most of you are cartoonists, which is fitting for a site devoted to you. Let me begin by saying I am a reader. I can’t draw if my life depended on it…
    As a reader, mr. Tatulli, I would like to thank you and congratulate you, not only for Lio, but also for Heart of the city. Both strips put a ray of sunshine in my day, every day.
    As for the current debate, I have read all your comments, and here’s my opinion, for what it’s worth…
    As in any profession, newcomers deserve a chance to make their mark, and this is even more difficult in a competitive world like comic strips.That is why it annoys me no end to see old reruns of strips like Peanuts, Cathy, etc. They were good in their time, but now it’s time to step aside and leave some room for the new guys.
    Before you explode, Liz, please note that I am not talking about strips that are old, but not reruns, like Blondie or Beetle Bailey. I just think that all the reruns should be removed, and yes, that includes Calvin and Hobbes, even though I love that strip dearly.
    As for the strip that started all this “controversy”, I loved it…I do not think there was any disrespect shown. As for the infamous “scowl” on Lio’s face…well, scowls are in the eye of the beholder!
    Thank you all for your wonderful strips, have a great day!
    (Please, Liz, have mercy on me…)

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