Liō: There’s a Monster in My Socks by comics artist Mark Tatulli is a delightful mix of science fiction, horror, fantasy, and just the plain absurd. This collection is a great introduction to the weird recesses of Tatulli’s mind.
Liō is the name of the main character in the comic, which appears in hundreds of newspapers worldwide. In his world, all sorts of strange things happen to him, from alien attacks to abduction by nefarious witches, some of it done to Liō and some of it done for him.
I first happened upon the strip back in 2006, shortly after it started syndication. From the very beginning, I was mesmerized by the crazy situations in which Liō finds himself. He has a crazy assortment of pets, including a giant squid named Ishmael, a tarantula named Fido, and a psychotic cat named Cybil.
He also has his dad, who seems to not really work and who is constantly getting caught up in Liō’s bizarre machinations to destroy or take over the world. His dad does punish him on occasion, but also shows his love in heartwarming ways for Liō.
This release is part of Andrews McMeel’s new AMP! Comics for Kids lineup of comic book collections aimed at the younger crowd. To give you a taste of just how fun this series is, here’s an example strip from July 26, 2006 which appears in this book:
Now, there are some horror depictions in this strip, but they are generally tongue-in-cheek and done for the humor of the situation. They should be fine for anyone about 10-11 and older, especially if read with the child and with any scary images explained.
I strongly recommend Liō: There’s a Monster in My Socks to anyone with a quirky sense of humor. Think of it as a darker Calvin and Hobbes without the stuffed tiger. Tatulli has a firm grasp of the reality of the absurd, and this book delivers it in grave-digging spades.
Release Date: October 2, 2012 (USA)
ISBNs: 1449423043 (9781449423049)
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP! Comics for Kids)
Violence: 2 (some comic science fiction, fantasy, and horror violence)