Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lio's Border Patrol 2

The border panel is a fundamental design element of the comic strip -- so fundamental that it's all but invisible to most readers. Not to Mark Tatulli, creator of Lio. He often brings this hidden element to the fore in his innovative strip. Here are four recent examples, all featuring Eva Rose, the object of Lio's unrequited love.

 The sequence from 3/20/17 plays with convention in two ways. Usually, each panel represents a different moment in time. In this case, though, all three panels represent the same instant. The cannonball fired in panel one landed in panel three. The broken panels show the arc of the projectile. So instead of three traditional panels, we have a scene where the middle panel (room?) with two destroyed walls. But we still have a payoff for the gag in panel three.

 The second, from 3/7/17, retains the idea of each panel representing the same scene at a different moment in time. In this case, though, the bottom of the panel has changed function. Now it covers an (apparently) bottomless pit. Note that Tatulli's bottom border only extends halfway down the allotted space for the strip.

 The third example from 2/13/17 has a gag working on a number of levels. First, the entire strip is shown to be a flat surface that can be tied in a knot -- just as Eva Rose has tied Lio's heart in a knot. And though now tied, it also serves the role of a traditional three-panel sequence. In the first end is Lio, the middle (the knot), showing Eva Rose's action and Lio's emotion, and the third, Eva Rose walks away.

 Sometimes when Mark Tatulli has his comic spill over into another's he manages to fit both into his space (see: ). In this case, it's enough just to imply the action. Lio's mortar apparently exploded in the comic strip above it. I'm guessing the news flash defines "local" as the strips surrounding Lio.

 Four ingenious approaches to something most readers (and even comic artists) never seem to notice.

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