Lackadaisy (comic)

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Lackadaisy is a comic created by Tracy Butler. The comic is named after the speakeasy that serves as one of the central locations. After being asked whether Tracy has conversations with the characters in her head, she drew "Conversations", in which she notes that she just eavesdrops upon them. Tracy has stated that the cats that serve as the main characters are essentially stand-ins for humans, and that their features to some extent correspond to their personalities.[1] Non-felines are standard animals.[2] Tracy has stated that the comic will consist of either four volumes or three with an extra-large third volume, and that she set it following Atlas's death because she felt that would offer better storytelling opportunities than telling the story of a speakeasy at its high point.[3][4] While the bulk of the published comic has been set in 1927, Tracy has indicated that Volume 3 will go further into the future.[1] Much of the work of creating Lackadaisy is done by Tracy in a spare bedroom in her house.[1]

Tracy posts announcements regarding updates to the comic at an RSS feed, a Twitter account, a Facebook account and her DeviantArt page.

In addition to the primary comic, there have been several offshoots that have expanded upon the comic in some manner, though these are often difficult to reconcile with the existing continuity.

They include-

  • Interviews - A fictionalized version of Tracy asks the Lackadaisy characters questions that the readers have posed to her.
  • Tutorials - In which Tracy offers advice and pretty pictures detailing how she does what she does.

A listing of source materials that Tracy has used for reference can be found here. Regarding her inspirations, Tracy has stated-

It's almost perfunctory to cite F. Scott Fitzgerald as an influence, if not a resource, for all works of fiction relating to the Roaring Twenties but written in some later decade. It's warranted, though. Lackadaisy has been no exception. Fitzgerald, in as much as he wrote fiction, chronicled the trends, attitudes, lifestyles and lexicon of an era (albeit within a somewhat limited sphere) and left his American progeny with a very distinct impression of its overriding character. The Great Gatsby and many of his shorter works, including some of the more biographical information and even some of his notes compiled in The Crack-up had a great deal to do with my perception of the time period, my own approach to characterizing it and developing personalities that would (hopefully) seem to be products of it.

Writers such as William Faulkner (mostly in reference to The Sound and The Fury) and Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast) have probably had much to do with my very character-centric approach to storytelling, for better or for worse. I tend to spend more time on the details of character interaction, sometimes at the expense of expedient plot progression, and I suspect this is why - I've enjoyed their work and its semi-voyeuristic fixation on the personalities therein and how their interplay creates a story. I found I prefer this to the inverse in which a story is more or less thrust upon a cast of characters.

Stodgy literati aside, Douglas Adams has long been one of my favorites. To me, his work exemplifies a near perfect combination of humor and substance woven together for maximum enjoyment. It's irreverent, but somehow manages it without wading too far into the shallow end of the pool, and it's satirical without being moralistic. In whatever capacity I can be called a writer, I strive for something similar.

Funny you should mention Maus. I read it back in about 2002 initially, and then read it again while Lackadaisy was still in the development phase to glean what I could from it. Although Spiegelman's graphic novel is of a far more serious-minded nature than mine, and though he uses animals to both lampoon and spotlight notions of nationality and ethnic difference (something I don't do at all), I think it helped validate for me that human characters with animal features can still carry dramatic weight.

I've referenced T. S. Eliot a couple of times for a similar reason - who has ever done a better job of telling stories about humanity with cats? The Waste Land has also colored my perception of post WWI culture to some extent. I referenced it in the middle or Rocky's rather more smug, optimistic (and stupid) poetry...for contrast, I suppose.

Bill Watterson's work taught me a great deal about combining visual and written components to tell a story. Though Calvin and Hobbes might not qualify as a literary influence exactly, perhaps it bears mentioning here.
—Tracy, [5]

References