1. Just in case anyone else was surprised as I was by the “reruns” comment: it was just for a week, the strip is now back to new material.

    P.S. One of the side results of Watterson’s battle for creative control was to negotiate the right to take sabbaticals. He later lauded Andrews & McMeel for offering all their cartoonists the right to take a vacation each year. Of course, not every artist makes use of the privilege, but there’s nothing wrong with it if they do.

  2. In background correspondence, I was saying the CIDU elements for me were mostly what sort of candy store this could be, and why they carry eyeballs and sell them from a gumball dispenser. Brian in STL countered that he is a frequent Lío reader and those are pretty normal elements for the strip. For him the itchy question (in part from the syndication site’s comments area) was: who is the character at the right, and is a taste for eyeballs suited to his character or original context?

    And the debate there was whether he could be The Mad Hatter (from Alice in Wonderland), and if so does he match the appearance of any of the actors in modern live-action versions? I saw one of those, but don’t remember much about it. I still take the Disney 1951 animation version as a reference base, and this guy certainly doesn’t match the Hatter from that version. However, I thought he could be a pretty good match to the Tenniel drawings done as illustrations in the books!

  3. My thought was that the character needed an eyeball. I don’t know whether those are fully-working eyeballs or glass eyes. It would be a strange way to sell glass eyes. Are all glass eyes the same size? Are they one-size-fits-all? Should I recognize the character as someone who has a missing eye or wears an eyepatch? It’s not Popeye or Wotan or a pirate.

    Oddly, although I have been watching Popeye cartoons and reading the comics since I was a little kid, it only very recently struck me how unusual it is for someone with a missing eye to have neither an eyepatch nor a glass eye.

  4. I think zbicyclist may have it: the hidden pun of “eye candy” seems logical, if not explicitly apparent. If Tatulli had really intended a connection to Tenniel’s “Hatter”, he would probably have included the “10/6” price tag on the hat. Another possibility would be a leprechaun, but I could not find any reason why one of them would be interested in eyeballs, other their impish nature.

  5. P.S. @ MiB – Glass eyes are definitely not “generic”. In addition to being carefully fitted for size, I once saw a short documentary about how they were custom-made so that the iris would match exactly to the patient’s remaining eye.

    P.P.S. In addition to appearance, glass eyes serve another purpose also served by an eye patch: preventing dirt and other infective vectors from getting into the eye cavity. That’s why anyone who is missing an eye will almost always have one or the other.

  6. P.P.P.S. Having said all that, I’d like to add that I don’t think that the eyeballs in this strip are glass. Given Liō‘s more than occasionally creepy nature, I would assume that they are at least biological, if not human.

  7. The pointy shoes would seem to signify some kind of fey or impish creature. Maybe “leprechaun” isn’t so far off.

  8. @ Meryl – Those “eyeball” candies still exist: my kids usually get a few of them every Halloween. I would be willing to accept a jawbreaker, but these odious monstrosities are closer to “gummi bears” (and are packaged in a plastic sphere to keep them from drying out). I thought they were revolting, and I’m not sure whether either kid ate one. I know that we threw at least a couple of them in the garbage.

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