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....
- Anyone Can Die: Tracy has answered on her forum that yes, one of the main characters will die.
- Arc Symbol: Playing cards seems to be this. The logo for the speakeasy is a club, and pictures in the gallery section of the site sometimes features cards. Word of God said that there may be a deck of cards featuring the characters.
- Arson Murder And Jay Walking: Played to a T in this quote:
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.
- Author Avatar: Appears in a few "Chit-Chat Time" mini-comics interviewing some of the characters. Has been mistaken for some kind of monkey, some kind of leprechaun, a disheveled pixie, and an undercover gremlin.
- Awesome Art
- Badass Longcoat:
- Mordecai frequently sports one.
- Also Freckle's trenchcoat.
- 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.
- Black Comedy: A lot of it, especially in the side strips, which take this Up to Eleven.
- Blah Blah Blah: Noise noise noise.
- Briefcase Full of Money: Mordecai uses one to block most of a shotgun blast.
- Buried Alive: Viktor and Mordecai once used it for interrogation. They killed the guy later, through gun and grenade.
- 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.
- Casual Danger Dialogue:
- Children Are Innocent? HAHAHAHAAA! No. No no no no no.
- As if Rocky's Comedic Sociopathy wasn't bad enough, according to Tracy and Bobby, Mordecai started keeping books for grifters, loansharks, and other varied criminals in his pre-teens.
- Cigarette of Anxiety: Zib really, really needs a freakin' smoke.
- Coffin Contraband: One of their former suppliers was an undertaker who smuggled booze in coffins. Possibly a reference to something that happened in real life.
- Comically Missing the Point: Mordecai, in a side comic where he tries unsuccessfully to "make eyes" at a woman nearby:
Viktor: Dark look like Valentino is different thing from dark look like, ehh, I vill like to murder your family...vith icepick, probably.
Mordecai: That wasn't remotely like the icepick look.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: Mordecai always has to do things the creepy way.
- In an interesting near-subversion, Freckle actually noticed Mordecai before Mitzi got in. It's just that nobody pays attention to the soft-spoken little guy.
- Deadpan Snarker: A few characters (see character sheet) and Tracy Butler herself is one; her artist comments and answers to reader questions are filled with snarks to rival Zib's.
- Defictionalization: The club-shaped pin, in a case of The Red Stapler.
- Deliberately Sepiatoned: Part of the comic's charm.
- That said, the side comics where she does use full color are stunning and memorable.
- Design Student's Orgasm: Where to even start...
- 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.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Tracy's middle name is Jennifer. She's not proud of it.
- 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.
- Fed to Pigs: One of the uses of the pig farm...
- Four-Fingered Hands: Justified, since they're all cats.
- 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).
- Furries Are Easier to Draw: A reason for why the cast are felines, according to Tracy.
- Not that she can't draw humans. The cast as humans translate incredibly well.
- And normal animals. It's not so much "easier" as "zanier for cartoon The Roaring Twenties antics".
- 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.
- Furry Confusion: Talking cats and real pigs.
- Gilligan Cut:
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Being The Roaring Twenties, we get everything from flapper dresses, three-piece pinstripe suits and some fashion holdovers from The Gay Nineties. Then there's Rocky's zoot suit...
- Grievous Bottley Harm: You can't have a story about bootleggers without this one. Viktor shows us how it's done.
- Hollywood Kiss: Averted. Mitzi and Wick try to have one, but Mitzi gets distracted by a picture of Atlas, and they both trip on floor olives.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Viktor and Ivy, respectively.
- Humanoid Female Animal: The female cats have human-like head hair, and the males have only hints of hair. Justified; short hair for men was the standard back then.
- 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'.
- Hypocritical Humor: While Mordecai is trying to find the Savoys, who are staying in a hotel under assumed names:
Mordecai: Perhaps you'd know whom I was referring to if I described them as a pair of supposed siblings speaking a sort of Cajun-creole patois rife with francophone interjections and enough inter-dental fricative stops to stagger a New Yorker?
Concierge: [blank look]
Mordecai: Yes, they are a bit difficult to understand.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every page is titled "Lackadaisy [Something Multisyllabic]". "Sketchdumps" on the author's Deviant Art page are commonly labeled "Lackadaisy [Crazy Old-Timey Slang Word]".
- Improvised Armour: Viktor uses car doors as a shield; nothing too ostentatious, that happens in real life as well. Mordecai also uses his accountant-esque suitcase as a shield at one point.
- Improvised Weapon:
- 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.
- Incendiary Exponent: One early sequence showcasing Rocky's "logic" — see Crazy Awesome, on the YMMV page — lets you know exactly what kind of comic this is going to be.
- Indy Ploy:
"Always be prepared to improvise, Freckle. That's rule number one for jazz players and vigilantes alike."
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Ivy, during her confrontation with the Arbogast brothers in Defiance:
Bobby: It's one less of you high school jellybeans I have to worry about, slinking around here, trying to raid our stores.
Ivy: Hey! I'm in college!
- Juggling Loaded Guns/Reckless Gun Usage: In a background extra strip, Rocky shoots himself in the ear when waving around his pistol, giving him the hole in the ear seen in the regular strip.
- Pass the Popcorn: What one young cat does after Mitzi and Wick spill out of a photo booth due to an impromptu make-out session. It's currently the trope image.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Rocky and Freckle's wacky hijinks.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Viktor and Ivy get into this, during an argument.
Viktor: Chad vas... bad.
Ivy: And Claude? Was that your work too?
Viktor: Claude vas...
Ivy: Let me guess — flawed?
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Ivy and Freckle as children. They might both qualify as adults too.
- The Roaring Twenties: Of course.
- Rule of Cool:
- The artist has a penchant for drawing Wick dramatically brandishing a revolver. She admits that he would have no idea how to use one, but it makes him look debonair.
- The same happens to Rocky, who, in an attempt to look "pretty dashing" in one of the early comic previews, promptly manages to shoot part of his ear off.
- Tracey admits that although Zib plays both the saxophone and the clarinet in the band, he is never pictured with a clarinet due to his own vanity at playing the "sexyphone".
- Cast members sometimes wear zoot suits, despite those being slightly anachronistic.
- Rule of Three: In "Lackadaisy Correspondence:"
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.
- Self-Deprecation: "For more lies and misinformation, read on to part 2."
- Ship Tease: The artist made a few pages addressed to fans discussing the characters reactions to shippers. Specifically Ivy and Viktor and Viktor and Mordecai.
- Shirtless Scene: Oddly enough, any time any of the male characters take off their shirt to reveal their sleeveless undershirts, they gain +5 sex appeal, whether they be in cat or human form.
- Shown Their Work: Just try to find a historical inaccuracy besides people being anthropomorphic animals (zoot suits being the sole, and acknowledged by the author, exception).
- It is virtually impossible to find a historical inaccuracy, unless the author draws attention to it specifically and explains the reason behind it. It turns out to be very, very minor.
- Seriously, look at literally anything in the comic and try to see something that didn't look like lots of thought and knowledge was put into it.
- Sound Defect: Word of God has it that the sound of Viktor's fist hitting a face... is kind of bizarre. At least it is pre-canon. Or maybe just that once.
- 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.
- Spoof Aesop: "Truth is pain. 8C"
- Stab the Salad:
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Mordecai discovers the downside of doing this here.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: (Possibly non-canon but) in this reply to a Tumblr query, Mordecai and Rocky.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Not in the comic, but by the fans. During the page Coercion:
Ivy (about Rocky): "Will he ever talk sense again?!"
- Take That
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female characters are drawn with humanoid, styled hair, but most of the males' fur is consistently the same length, like real cats. Possibly justified; see Humanoid Female Animal above.
- Throwing Your Gun Always Works: Zib demonstrates. Though it was established beforehand that he's quite inexperienced with firearms.
- 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.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Highly subjective of course, but Elsa and Bobby are an example.
- Unkempt Beauty: Lacy. Observe: regular, tidy Lacy versus mussed hair Lacy (especially panels 8 & 14).
- The Unreveal: Rocky and Zib's conversation in Hallelujah:
Zib: But before you hightail it out of here, humor me - just what made a lad like you volunteer to go running hooch around in the dead of night?
Rocky: Well, I — oops. Did you see that? One of my strings is broken.
- 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.
- 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.
- World of Funny Animals