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A webcomic by Tracy J. Butler set during Prohibition-era St. Louis, Lackadaisy follows the exploits of the Lackadaisy crew, a formerly prosperous crime gang fallen on hard times after the murder of their boss, Atlas May. Now under the leadership of Mitzi, widow of the 'businessman', they attempt to make a living in the criminal underworld of St. Louis. Their major opposition comes from the Marigold gang, headed by Atlas's former partner and filled with former Lackadaisy employees.The Loveable Rogue protagonist is Rocky Rickaby, a jazz violinist turned whiskey and gin runner for the Lackadaisy gin joint. He's a bit eccentric, to say the least. Wild escapades abound as Rocky struggles to do right by Mitzi, the only person 'kind' enough to give him a job in these tough times. Joining him on these less-than-legal adventures are his young cousin Calvin 'Freckle' McMurray, a quiet, earnest youth rejected from the police force because of his, er, enthusiasm; and longtime Lackadaisy 'employee' Viktor Vasko, a surly, grizzled one-eyed Slovak with bad knees. Rounding out the cast are Sedgewick 'Wick' Sable, mining magnate and Mitzi's current paramour, Ivy Pepper, Atlas's goddaughter and Lackadaisy hanger-on; and Dorian 'Zib' Zibowski, the sardonic saxophonist.And they're all anthropomorphic cats.The series is very much a tongue-in-cheek affair with a serious plot line and strong characterizations. The artwork is of a high professional level, first published by ReNoir Comics in Italy and now published in English by 4th Dimension Comics for a North American release. English version available for purchase here or other major book stores.Now has a character page. Please put all character related tropes there.
This webcomic provides examples of:
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All There in the Manual: Much of the back stories of the characters are only alluded to in the comic itself, while much more is elaborated on in supplementary material, such as Viktor serving in World War 1, his partnership with Mordecai, etc....
Lacy: "Headlamps, Mr. Sable." Wick: "Right, where would I be without you, Miss Lacy?" Lacy: "Hopelessly trapped in the twisted wreckage of your car. Mangled limbs. Probably on fire... With your tax records all out of order."
Art Evolution: Not that it even needed it from the start, but as you progress through the comic you see the lighting becoming more expressive and detailed (thanks to computer rendering) and the bodies becoming more proportionate and closer to human body types. Now every frame looks like an authentic 1920s photograph.
Artistic Age: Don't be fooled by the big eyes and adorable faces, they just signify that Freckle and Ivy are the youngest of the cast — they're both eighteen. It's not even that big of a gap to the ones who look more adult; Freckle's cousin Rocky is twenty-two.
Panel seven of this page. The shotguns certainly don't hurt.
Big Damn Heroes: Subverted with Viktor, who tries to help against the pig farmers, has the means to do so, gets to the bar in time, but is unable to help because of stairs and because his bad knees can't really bend anymore.
Black and Grey Morality: Nobody in this story is blameless. The protagonists can be nice, they can be funny, and they are certainly usually better than the villains of the story, but let's get a few things straight: just about everyone in the story (including every protagonist) is a criminal of some description, and over half of them have killed. Even Freckle.
Cast of Snowflakes: The cats are all very distinct despite being, well, cats. It's highlighted even more on the current character page, where each character is portrayed in a distinct, period-appropriate art style.
Dirty Cop: The two who picked up Zib took the money that he had just gotten from Mitzi, and joked about using it to gamble at the next horse race in front of him.
They get called on this by Dom Drago, though. Not that his showing up portends good things in the future for Zib and the rest of our merry band...
Dramatic Necklace Removal: Sort of. Zib grabs Mitzi's pearl necklace, but when she pulls away, the necklace breaks and the pearls scatter everywhere. He didn't do this on purpose, however.
Dysfunction Junction: The Lackadaisy itself is one. Its propertiess is a Determined Widow who constantly comes under fire because of the rumours that she killed her husband, and is worried about the constant threats to the Lackadaisy itself, while none of its employees are much better.
Early-Bird Cameo: Wick and Mordecai both appear during the flashback in the second page of the comic. They join the cast formally join the cast in pages 13 and 27, respectively.
Asa Sweet has a very early cameo as well. He isn't formally introduced until about 3/4s of the way through the first volume, but if you look closely you can see him in the crowd attending Atlas May's funeral in the first few pages.
Family-Unfriendly Death: A flashback shows Viktor shoving an injured man into a fireplace and then using his body to light the puddles of moonshine he's using to burn the place down.
A Father to His Men: Atlas is turning out to be dark subversion of this trope. According to Zib, Atlas had a habit of collecting strays and offering them work and relative safety as his employees. (He helped to get Viktor a lawyer and shorter prison sentence after his arrest and basically paid off Mordecai's angry pursuers from New York and gave him the shirt off his back, literally). However, as much he 'saved' his employees, Atlas did still indenture them into a life of violent crime.
Friend to All Living Things: Tracy herself. As evidenced by her 08/23/2010 journal entry on her deviantArt page, Tracy has recently 'unofficially adopted' her neighbor's cat Luca after she found the poor creature barely alive with several serious facial injuries and a myriad of infections. She took Luca to the vet to have him humanely euthanized, but then found it in her heart (and wallet) to pay for his many many surgeries, antibiotic treatments, and pain medication. The result: Luca is now living happily with Tracy as a sort of bizarre IRL counterpart to Viktor, as Luca lost an eye to infection and is generally chewed up body wise.
Funny Animal: Everyone, but quite a few feline expressions are used (particularly with Ivy).
Word of God is that she also thought cartoony cat faces were more expressive. She may have a point as when she draws the cast as humans, she shows an inclination to do so with stunning realism.
Proof the cat faces are more expressive? Check out "Lackadaisy Expressions" — Tracy's attempt to deliver advice on drawing a multitude of facial expressions, filled with examples utilizing a number of the strip's characters. The range of expressions and emotions is absolutely astounding.
Not to mention the option of fluffing up a cat's tail if s/he's frightened by something, or moving the ears to show interest or displeasure.
As Nico's head fur is longer than that of the other male cats, we can assume males would have equally human-like hair if they'd just grow it out. The boys have hair of varying lengths in this side comic, for example.
It's not just the hair; Mitzi's facial features are notably less feline in appearance than any of the other characters'.
Viktor, naturally, is the undisputed champion of this trope in the comic. He's knocked out someone with a car door, whacked people with heavy whisky bottles, and laid the smackdown on a rival gang with only a crowbar, for starters.
Mordecai comes in a close second — he's thought quickly enough to kill someone with a fragmented wood bannister.
Knee Capping: Mordecai did this to Viktor in the recent past.
Mordecai: That is how one reasons with Viktor.
Kosher Nostra: The best hitman in St. Louis is a dapper little Jew. (Going by the name Heller, presumably German Jewish, though it would be a stronger presumption if he was native to the Midwest, rather than New York.)
Kubrick Stare: Considering that this is a cast of sociopaths, heroic, comedic, or those who are emphatically normal, just about everyone gets a panel like this. Even Ivy.
A Lighter Shade of Black: Let's not sugarcoat it. The Lackadaisy gang may be funny and lovable, but they're still murdering, thieving bootleggers. However, compared to the Marigold Gang, whose ranks include Mordecai Heller (who, let's face it, is the worst of the bunch), they come off as much more sympathetic and easier to root for.
Freckle: "It's a three. It's my lucky number... I guess." Nina (first horizontal panel): "Oh, is it then? Well, it's a good number." Nina (second horizontal panel): "A holy number." Freckle (third horizontal panel): *cringe*
Scrapbook Story: Freckle has kept every letter his cousin has ever sent him-even the very few we're shown on this page paint a very descriptive picture of what Rocky's been up to since he left home (and explains a few things about his shenanigans as an employee of the Lackadaisy speakeasy).
Scenery Porn: Not just because settings are well rendered, but it's clear she put a great deal of research into it too.
Splash of Color: A few of the side comics, such as "Shenanigans" and "Tannenbaum," have color added in a few panels. "Haymaker" and "Powder-keg" have blood drawn in red, contrasting the sepia in the rest of the panels.
Given that the pistol in question was a .25 caliber Beretta (and his total lack of gun-kata), Zib could probably do more damage by throwing it rather than firing it. Freckle, on the other hand...
Title Confusion: More than a few people have referred to the comic as "Lackadaisy Cats." The comic's title is pretty clearly just "Lackadaisy," but "Cats" appears in the web address - hence the confusion.
Toilet Humor: When a fan asked Tracy what kind of eraser she used, they got this.
Two Guys and a Girl: Rocky, Freckle, and Mitzi seemed to be the first characters thought of and designed. The initial proto-sketches and artwork were mostly images of the three of them getting into wacky criminal hijinks together. Though Tracey now admits it would be dreadfully out of character for Mitzi these days.
Vitriolic Best Buds: The former dynamic duo of Viktor and Mordecai; while not exactly 'best buds', both had a tentative respect for each other's existence. Considering the kind of people Viktor and Mordecai are, a vague kinda-you-sorta respect is probably the closest thing to 'friendship' either one is capable of.
The two actually spent time together out of work, if this mini-comic can be trusted.
Mordecai: "Wha was I saying? Oh, Viktor. Right. Viktor. Viktor's greeaat."
Webcomic Time: The comic started some six years ago. Since then, two days have passed in-story. This is due in large part to the excessive amount of work that goes into the comic, plus some Schedule Slip now and then.