Webcomic review: Lackadaisy


My last webcomic review of 2012 is a fantastic one: Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler. Fantastic in the sense that it’s extremely well done, but also fantastic because it is about anthro cats involved in bootlegging in 1920s St. Louis.

Mitzi from the Sketchbook - can I say I love how hippy she is?
Mitzi from the Sketchbook – can I say I love how hippy she is?
The first word I use to describe this comic is “flawless”. As I was browsing through the archives to get images for this post, I was just floored by how perfect everything is: the comic layouts (clean but interesting), environments (atmospheric), action scenes (dynamic), the character design (unique and diverse), character expression (those faces!), balance of characters in the plot (roughly equal), the plot itself (exciting!), and those little design touches that take it to the next level.

The second word I use is “charming”, because there are many, many funny moments and the cute characters are so damn cute.

Freckles recovering from a rough night in #63, "Pinstripes"
Freckles recovering from a rough night in #63, “Pinstripes”.

As a history major, I’m also impressed by Butler’s use of historical references, which she even has a page for. I’m pretty familiar with 1920s fashion and she nails it.
From #95
From #95

This is pretty much the webcomic I would make if I made webcomics: atmospheric, immersive, fun, funny, populated with well-drawn and memorable characters, informed by history and historical art.

On her Making a Comic page, Butler reveals the secrets of her craft:

  • First, she writes a script (yes!) and makes thumbnail drawings of each frame.
  • Then, she uses a regular old mechanical pencil to create the big comic page on a piece of 14 x 17″ smooth Bristol board. (I’m sure lots of people do it, but Butler is the first artist I’ve come across who does this, and I’m impressed.)
  • After the page is done, she scans the page (in segments) and edits the image in Photoshop. The page may or may not look just like it was on the Bristol board. Butler uses a warm grey background to her pages.
  • Then she adds in dialog with a font she made in FontCreator 5 (Windows only, bleh). Even though she scripted the dialog, Butler usually changes it at this stage.
  • If needed, Butler adds in/emphasizes shadows to give the comic depth.
  • Last, she tints the whole comic to a sepia tone, giving it that perfect 1920s feel!

    Before I end the post, I highly recommend that you visit the Characters page, where you will be promptly blown away by all the amazing Art Deco (mostly) references!

    As always, the excerpts:

    Action scenes from #21, #110, and #120
    Action scenes from #21, #110, and #120

    Cat people give more visual emotional cues (#96)
    Cat people give more visual emotional cues with their ears and tales. Plus, shiny whiskers! (#96)

    Such a great range of emotional expressions (#22)
    Such a great range of emotional expressions (#22). (Click to embiggen.)

    My favorite frame, from #121, "Transgression".
    My favorite frame, from #121, “Transgression”.

    Lackadaisy is so far beyond the bee’s knees I can’t stand it! Get on over to St. Louis today! Right now!

    P.S. Did you know: Anna Moleva, the face of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite, made an Ivy Pepper costume?! The dress is too short, but it’s pretty cool that someone in Russia likes Lackadaisy so much.

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