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Art Evolution: While it's inevitable, and the art has gotten much better and the characters more humanly proportioned, Mitzi, Wick and Zib have gotten most of it.
Badass in a Nice Suit: With the exception of Viktor and the pig farmers, many of the hitmen are very well dressed, especially Mordecai.
Cat Smile: Par for the course, considering the species of the cast, but Ivy sports a particularly good one in the last panel of this strip.
Psycho for Hire: They're gangsters, so half the cast qualifies: Rocky and Calvin, the Savoy Siblings, Mordecai, and to an extentnote because his employer wants him to retire (see Retired Badass below) Viktor.
Two Guys and a Girl: This was originally going to be the dynamic between Rocky, Calvin, and Mitzi, with Rocky and Freckle supposedly being the supporting protagonists to Mitzi. This isn't how it turned out.
Roark 'Rocky' Rickaby
"Always be prepared to improvise, Freckle. That's rule number one for jazz players and vigilantes alike."
Ladies and gentlemen, our hero! Our quick-witted, overdramatic, high-energy, a-few-lightbulbs-short-of-a-marquee hero! And if you're worried at the sound of that, you're not alone. After a youth of drifting and doing odd jobs, he's found his place at the Lackadaisy speakeasy, where he plays the violin in the band, as well as being the person in charge of acquiring moonshine, coffin varnish — whatever you want to call the liquor. Cousin of Freckle. Harbours a slight (?) crush on Mitzi.
Amusing Injuries: He usually suffers from these, getting slapped and popping right back up, totally fine a few panels later. However, the "injury disappears immediately" aspect of the trope issubverted when Rocky is punched in "Rumrunner" — he receives a black eye that doesn't quite go away until the next day. Averted in "Haymaker", where he gets hit head first by a hearse. In addition to receiving a nasty sized gash on his head, he is knocked out and comes near to dying.
Big Ol' Eyebrows: An identifying feature, such as when the speakeasy is being attacked by the pig farmers, they know him as "The one with the eyebrows."
Butt Monkey: So much, it borders on chew toy territory, though you couldn't tell by looking at him. If you were to make a list of all the people who have hit him, and all who haven't, you would find it to be about even.
Crazy Jealous Cat: Rocky's starting to show signs...Possibly On one hand, it's just as likely he's only messing with everyone involved. It's hard to tell with that guy. On the other, Rocky assumes that Mitzi only hired him out of desperation, and that the financial stability represented by the partnership with Wick would once again render him useless/jobless (he laments that if Wick does join the partnership, he'll get shanked by a hobo living out on the streets among them). Of course, he might just wind up that way anyway, given how ticked off Mitzi seemed when Wick confronted her about Rocky's word of warning. And it seems he doesn't just think of Mitzi as his source of income, looking at Rocky's facial expressions in the final panels of this comic.
Dark and Troubled Past: He used to live with his aunt and cousin when he was younger, which he called "more home than home was." Then he was blamed for a family tragedy. Uncertain whether it was really him or if he was looking out for his cousin. The troubled part never really ended, despite the cheerful spin he tries to put on everything. Sleeps in his car now.
Loveable Rogue: Tries to be one, at least. When woozy from a head injury he hinted that this might not be the case all the time.
Missing Mom: Tracy has confirmed that his mom is unfortunately deceased. From references to her being in a Sanatorium and Rocky's comment about her "chasing the Red Death" it was probably tuberculosis.
Noodle People: Is just as skinny as Ivy, and the only reason she doesn't qualify for this trope is because she's a teenaged girl. Viktor even tells him he's like a spaghetti noodle. Mitzi notes that him trying to shield her from an attacker is "like taking cover behind a cornstalk".
Rhymes on a Dime: One strip is dedicated to him reciting a poem about the Mississippi River.
Sad Clown: Something happened to him that got him kicked out of the McMurray house and strained family relations. You wouldn't be able to tell from his horrible jokes and Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, though.
Supporting Protagonist: In a way; up until the start of the comic, he was the Lackadaisy's fiddler and nothing else, and in the end, is a tiny part of the grand scheme of things.
Stepford Smiler: Of a sort. Word of God is that Rocky's constant grin is half genuine and half Sad Clown; he's naturally cheerful of demeanor, but there's also a certain amount of lonely desperation because he knows he's weird and flaky and doesn't have a lot going for him aside from said demeanor, so he's hoping that if you think he's amusing you won't be so quick to discard him once you can afford someone better.
Stoic Woobie: Not in the sense of actually being stoic, but in the sense of hiding how desperately he wants to be accepted, needed, and loved.
"Wait! No! I haven't been in any trouble since— I mean, I'm a good— I'm supposed to be a-HAHAHAHAHAHAHeep—!"
Rocky's younger cousin and Nina's son. His dream is to become a police officer, but that appears to have been squashed as he's been thrown out of the academy. Normally extremely shy and subdued, but shows a different side when faced with violence and chaos. Rocky thinks that this somewhat ill-balanced demeanor can be put perfectly to work at the Lackadaisy.
Shadow Archetype: To Mordecai. Both the most effective fighters in their organizations, but Freckle is an essentially decent person who can't control himself from berserker raging in combat, while Mordecai is a sociopath who holds himself in check by an obsessive commitment to order.
The Quiet One: His quiet and straightforward way of talking tends to make him blend in with the background around other characters, so many people end up ignoring him.
Unfortunate Names: Honestly, why would someone as Irish Catholic as Nina name her son Calvin (unless to instil some good ol' Catholic guilt)? note Calvin is named after one of the author's cats.
Mary-Ellen "Mitzi" May (née Montgomery)
Rocky: Miss M's done a lot for me, y'know? I just get a little, uh, sentimental with her being in a vulnerable spot these days...
Viktor: Vulnerable as like bear trap.
The proprietress of Lackadaisy since the death of her husband, Atlas May. Used to be a ukulele player and showgirl, which is how she came to meet her husband. Looks fragile, but is a shrewd and steely businesswoman, who refuses to abandon or give up on her speakeasy. In a tentative flirtation with Wick. The rumours of her involvement in her husband's death may or may not be false and greatly exaggerated.
Alliterative Name: Whether you use her current name or her old name, her initials are still M.M.
Ambiguously Evil: Sweet, sexy widow who just wants to keep her business going or manipulative seductress who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants?
Little Bit Beastly: She has very little cat influence in her face, especially compared to Ivy, who is very feline and also female. She even has tini whiskers, while the rest of the cast have very long ones.
Really Seventeen Years Old: Inverted. She claims she was born in the twentieth century, which would make her twenty-seven or somewhere around that, being that the comic is staged in 1927, but she is really thirty-four Note If you look closely to where her birth-year was scratched out on her current and new profile, you could could make out the year 1893, so that would place her at thirty four.
Real Women Have Curves: She is very curvy and very proud of it, despite this body type only becoming popular in the 40s with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, and going out of fashion with as much immediacy as it when it came into fashion.
Stripperific: She mentions an incredibly bawdy, ridiculous Mata Hari outfit she once wore when she was part of the band during a performance.
That Man Is Dead: She doesn't like to think about times before she and Atlas got married.
The Determinator: It's generally agreed on by the other characters that The Lackadaisy is doomed, yet Mitzi does everything in her power (no, really, everything) to keep her late husband's business afloat, no matter how many tragedies and interruptions that occur on the way.
The Stoic: Not even being shot at by a pig farming hick raises much of a response out of her.
The Vamp: She has qualities of this, especially when she's with Wick.
"One af [my knees] bends somevhat. And is after seven years at this vork."
A Slovak immigrant with a violent and mysterious past, he now works for Mitzi as an odd jobs man and occasional bartender. Is extremely protective towards Ivy, who is just about the only person towards whom he doesn't show barely-suppressed murderous rage. Used to be Mordecai's partner in contract killing, but their relationship has soured since.
Action Dad: According to Elsa, he has an estranged wife and daughter.
The Big Guy: Outside the configuration of the Five Man Band, he still fills the role.
Big Brother Instinct/Surrogate Papa Wolf: He is unusually protective of Ivy, to the point where he's scared away most of her previous boyfriends. (Probably by injuring them, if what happened to Chad is any indication.) He's also not happy with her attraction to the speakeasy lifestyle and tells her to quit hanging around, to her displeasure.
Bilingual Bonus: KUS VOLA! ZABIJEM T'A! (Translation: 'You piece of ox! I'll kill you!'; in Slovak, calling someone a 'piece of ox' is a common insult, similar to our English habit of calling someone a jackass.)
Rocky: I, uh, have, a bit of a dilemma, Viktor. As fortune would have it, there's a pick-up tomorrow night. But to the contrary, um, fortune-wise, uh, it seems I'll have a gaggle of belligerent clodhoppers to contend with, and, so, well... I was hoping you would have some valuable advice or perhaps some words of inspiration for your young protege.
Retired Badass: Not quite retired. Viktor's got only one eye and bad knees, and his official job is as bartender. He can still hold his own in a fight though, and Lackadaisy's dire situation brings him out from behind the bar regularly.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Not a defining trait, but it’s in his background. The trenches left him like "a wire stripped of its sheathing", and he plunged back into violence with labor conflicts before turning to a life of crime.
The Silent Bob: Viktor speaks, but communicates more effectively with facial expression. In this preview comic, he and Mordecai have a mild argument. Victor never says a word. Mordecai reacts entirely to Viktor's Facial Dialogue.
Silent Snarker: If feeling particularly snarky, he can snark without opening his mouth.
The Stoic: When he’s not beating the ever-loving crap out of someone.
Weak Sauce Weakness: Stairs, on account of his bad knees. He was kneecapped less than a year prior: in addition to being one of the most painful places to get shot, many victims who've been kneecapped go on to suffer residual paralysis in the muscles of their lower legs.
"You will read these magazines and you will like them. And so help me, you'll learn to enjoy the banjo hour. There's not gonna be any moping, Viktor. There just isn't."
A cheerful and hyperactive college student and the only person Viktor treats with anything resembling affection. She has a big crush on Freckle.
Beware the Nice Ones: Don’t let the fancy flapper outfits and the ditzy demeanor fool you; she has a temper that's proven nothing to sneeze at. And she manages to handle a gun well enough to convince some gin-runners she's genuine, too.
Though the fact that she was also mishandling it and obviously freaked out at the time also helped them give in - a scared person who is mildly competent with a gun can be far more dangerous than a well-trained expert.
Book Dumb: Studying isn't a top priority for her, nor is it a priority at all. Lampshaded by Mitzi when she asks her which professor assigns her magazines to read.
Chekhov's Skill: Her profile mentions her skill with a rifle. She shows it off by nabbing a handgun from some moonshiners who tried to run down her and Rocky and firing a warning shot at them.
Children Are Innocent: Just like Calvin, this is averted. While she's innocent and friendly enough, one must remember that she's working for an underground criminal organisation.
The Chick: While she, Rocky, and Freckle all have lots of empathy compared to their co workers, Ivy is the one who comes closest to white morality, and if not for the fact that she worked for an underground criminal organisation because she has nothing better to do with her summer vacation, she'd be the Only Sane Employee.
The Cutie: Her biography page on the website describes her as "all sweetness and sunrays." Technically, "calculated sweetness and devious fib-telling little sunrays."
Genki Girl: A lying, occasionally mean-spirited one, gut a genki girl is a genki girl.
Guile Hero: Convinces the Arbogasts to sell to them, manages to muscle her way into recovery classes to work at the Lackadaisy over the summer, and convinces Wick into paying for Viktor's medical costs.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Is deliberately failing a class so that she'll have to take recovery classes in the summer, and thus have an excuse to stay at the Lackadaisy. By all accounts, she's actually pretty smart.
Opera Gloves: Wears a pair with her evening dress. While flappers didn't tend to be photographed wearing them, they were still in style, and the comic is known for doing the research.
Little Miss Badass: Managed to strike up a deal with the Arbogasts, with a combinations of guilt-tripping, intimidation, and Rocky having a huge hole blown in his head by their hearse.
Really Gets Around: She's had several boyfriends, which has nothing to do with Ivy and everything to do with Viktor. Every break-up is a direct consequence of Viktor breaking their limbs so that they are 1. in a wheelchair and 2. petrified of even saying hello to her. Ivy is not happy when she figures this out.
Sailor Fuku: Wears one at the start of the comic and in concept art.
"Couldn't sleep after last night's fireworks... so I figured I'd practice sitting around looking troubled and pensive."
The band's cynical saxophonist, and occasionally clarinetist. Was in a relationship with Mitzi at some point before she married Atlas. Keeps out of the gin-running business as well as he can, and more often acts as the voice of reason for Mitzi.
Deadpan Snarker: It's part of a mystique he's deliberately cultivating. He'll even snarkily admit to it.
Defector from Decadence: Is starting to think like one, becoming disillusioned with some of the things Mitzi is doing in order to keep the club running.
Father to His Men: Subversion. As detailed on the main page, his habit of collecting "strays" may not have been out of kindness at all.
Happily Married: From what we can tell, he and Mitzi really did love each other.
The Lost Lenore: He still has a lot of influence on Mitzi. She's trying to maintain his legacy by keeping Lackadaisy alive, she talks to his portrait, keeps his necklace, and has to deliberately turn away from a photo of him when she kisses Wick.
"It was nothing so indulgent as a grand time. It's merely work ethic."
Previously a member of Lackadaisy and Viktor's partner-in-crime, but left the gang on pretty bad terms after Atlas was killed (which he seems to know some truth about). He now works as a bootlegger for former rival Marigold, though he doesn't look too happy to be there either.
Berserk Button: Mordecai was probably planning on killing you anyway, but you just made the last moments of your life so much worse with your blatant disregard for symmetry.
The Butcher: While not as blatantly obvious, Mordecai has used the alias "Elijah Metzger," which the creator mentioned is "perhaps altogether too appropriate for him." "Metzger" is a German word meaning "butcher." We're first introduce to Mordecai (in canon) wielding a bloody hatchet and an irritated expression. It fits.
The Comically Serious: He's a tuxedo cat because, as Tracy puts it, "I never met a tuxedo cat that didn't take himself entirely too seriously." Many times in bonus art pieces the joke involves Mordecai losing his dignity.
(on hacking a body to pieces and arranging its parts in alphabetical order): "...Well, 'A' is for Amygdala, Mr. Sweet."
Establishing Character Moment: Hacks a guy to pieces, not understanding that the order was a joke, and freely admits he has no idea what the guy did wrong, but hey, orders are orders. Oh, and he doesn't show any remorse for this whatsoever.
Sharp-Dressed Man: Very sharply dressed at all times. Unless he's gotten into a fight, there's never a thread out of place in his suits.
The Sociopath: Probably the only genuine example among the cast. While, say, Viktor, has these tendencies, Viktor does have someone he truly cares about (Ivy), and some form of loyalty rather than self-preservation (he sticks around Lackadaisy despite it going under fast). Mordecai has neither.
The Stoic: Mordecai's the rare example whose limited emotional range seems downright pathological. The Defiance morticians tell rumors that he might have suffered some sort of brain damage from a headshot wound.
Stoic Spectacles: He very rarely shows any emotion of any kind. And he rarely goes without his spectacles.
Dark Action Girl: By all indications. Marigold hired her and Nico because they were making too much trouble.
Depraved Bisexual: When asked by a fan if Serafine has any interest in the lady cats, Tracy answered that, by and large, she does.
Don't Split Us Up: She and Nicodeme were in a catholic orphanage as children and when told that girls and boys had to be separated, she insisted that her hair be cut and she live as a boy. When the nuns refused, she and Nicodeme ran away.
"Mais, you looked pretty fixed on finishin' what you started."
Part of a Brother-Sister Team from the bayou with his sister, Serafine, and a one-time (at least) career boxer, "The Cajun Gator." A strapping fellow, who appears to let others - namely his sister or Mordecai — do the thinking.
Animal Motifs: He’s compared to an Alligator in his bio, and as stated above The Cajun Gator was his boxing title. His feline design is also more lionesque than housecat-like.
"I just don't know how to entertain a lady who doesn't want to hear about rocks or bugs."
Old money, a quarry and mining magnate, and sweetly naive about the world. He's loyal to the Lackadaisy through thick and thin (and Mitzi may have more than a little something to do with that). Pleasant, amiable, hardworking, bit of a tippler, and rather idealist too.
Adorkable: To paraphrase Tracy, he's just a geek for collectible relics, rocks, and bugs. (And liquor.)
The Alcoholic: Can hold his alcohol like a champ, apparently. He also constantly adds liquor to his drinks and food, much to Lacy's dismay.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gender flipped. He's a law abiding (drunk-driving and drinking at speakeasies notwithstanding) guy who is mostly known for being very nice and hardowrking, and he's attracted to Mitzi, the ruthless proprietess of the Lackadaisy.
Art Evolution: While all the characters got a fair amount of it, such as the proportions becoming much more human, Wick - partly due to not having any major role in the comic up until halfway through Volume 1 - has changed significantly, originally having a much flatter nose, making him stand out among the cast. This is what he used to look like.
Classy Cravat: Being a very wealthy and erudite man, he wears one.
The Dulcinea Effect: To an extent. He'll go out of his way to bring business to Lackadaisy, but he's not willing to actually become a business partner.
Uncle Pennybags: He pays for Viktor to get stitched up and brings his friends down to Lackadaisy to help out Mitzi—he does draw the line at an actual business agreement with her, but she steals his chequebook to make him an unwitting one of these.
Workaholic: To the point where he forgets which day it is.
Wick: (sigh) Why does blasting giant holes in the earth require so much paperwork?
Lacy: Um... no rest for the wicked, I suppose.
Wick's mild-mannered secretary and coffee girl, who often works at his home to ensure that he gets finished with unfinished paperwork (which is a rather common occurence). Though she isn't one to butt into personal affairs, she is getting a bit suspicious of her boss's personal life, specifically his drinking and his "new paramour."
Beleaguered Assistant: Her boss is boyish, infatuated with a woman running a criminal enterprise, makes a living by blowing up rock, and drives drunk (though the last isn't seen as nearly as big a deal as it would be today).
Rocky's aunt and Freckle's mother. Extremely religious, and protective of her son. She also genuinely loves her nephew, despite all of the trouble he gets himself into. She's probably the closest thing to a parent in Rocky's life right now.
Apron Matron: Do not cross her. But she'll get pretty much any unholy stain out of your clothes if you're her nephew.
The residents and owners of a funeral home in Defiance, Missouri. The family consist of Bobby Bastian, British-born war vet of portly build, his lovely ex-nurse wife Elsa, and her brother Reverend Abelard Arbogast, who has yet to realize that he's a little late to the Second Great Awakening. They aid the Lackadaisy gang by using their unassuming hearse as a means for booze transport.