Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The "Lio" comic strip: what up with that?

For the last couple of weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle has been running the comic strip Lio by Mark Tatulli.

It's about a weird and excitable little kid with what seems to be a major cowlick right in the center of his front hairline who apparently has no lips until he opens his mouth. I thought the first few days it must be going for charmingly weird. Kind of a "Calvin & Hobbes" wannabe.

But the strip for 01/23/07 had an almost incomprehensible joke, with a final panel in which the guy on the right could almost have been lifted from one of the most racist caricatures of "Japs" that appeared during the Second World War in the US:


The 1940s versions usually included two big front teeth. But the glasses and beady eyes and exaggerated buck teeth were stock features. I think this is beyond bad taste. It looks like a classic racist caricature to me.

Maybe it's an unfortunate coincidence. But I'm beginning to wonder if this strip isn't some rude cousin to "Mallard Fillmore".

1 comment:

mdonoh1 said...

Dude. Lighten up. It is overall a pretty cool imaginative strip. As for your "Jap" caricature I'm not even sure that the guy is supposed to be Japanese. I think he's just goofy looking.

In any event, nothing political is correct. Mike.