Archive for June, 2009

The Work: Lackadaisy vol. 1

Author/Artist: Tracy J. Butler

What’s it about?

20’s gangsters in St. Louis. Except they’re cat people.

Is it online?

Yep. Lackdaisy the webcomic is right here.

Short review

Good content. Packaging has flaws.

Long review with spoiler-ish stuff

So the Lackadaisy is a speakeasy during the days of prohibition. It used to be the premier illegal establishment in the city but has fallen on hard times since the death of its founder, Atlas May. His widow, the lovely Mitzi May, still runs the joint, trying to keep it going in an era of much increased and more aggressive competition. 

Mitzi May, the late Atlas May, and their crew at the height of their success.

 Mitzi May, the late Atlas May, and their crew at the height of their success.

 Our story mostly follows our noodly hero Rocky as he tries to secure a delivery of booze so the bar can put a good show for some hoity-toity business types on the occasion of some blown up rocks. Things go badly right away as some low class rivals nail Rocky’s tie to the train tracks to make sure he keeps a bloody appointment with a train. Through clever use of a dead pig, our hero escapes, leading to two days of Molotov cocktails (from Rocky), an adorable clandestine date (not Rocky’s), and the inevitable call for a doctor (amazingly, also not for Rocky. He really is noodly).

Viktor “counseling” Rocky on a problem.
Viktor “counseling” Rocky on a problem.

The comic features a solid supporting cast. Rocky’s cousin just washed-out-from-police-academy Calvin (a.k.a. Freckle) is sweet, adorable, and a maniac when a gun is in his hand. Stoic Viktor isn’t sweet or adorable but rounds out the group’s heavies quite nicely. (The two extra strips from back in the old days of Viktor and now-working-for-the-rivals Mordecai are both hysterical.) Ivy the flapper is also sweet, but that doesn’t stop her from scheming. Luckily, her plans tend to work better than Rocky’s.

Soda pop and guns!

Soda pop and guns! 

The whole thing works well, taking action and humor to keep things moving along even in the more criminal moments. The art is simply lovely. It looks like it was done with pencil and sepia-toned with Photoshop to go with the era. Almost nobody does pencils-only for comics, even though the technology to reprint it well has been around for a couple of decades. The only other one running right now that I can think of is Megatokyo. It’s a shame that more people don’t use it, because it can look really good in black and white or sepia toned.

It would look even better if the book was a little bigger. Butler’s pencils are detailed enough that a bit more room on the page would suit the artwork more. Of course, bigger would have meant more a more expensive book. It’s in color, which means production will already be more expensive that the average Garfield book. Still, maybe they should have increased the price of the book, since my volume has a couple more serious flaws. Look at this spine:

One of these things is not like the other.

One of these things is not like the other.

Help! I’m upside down!

 Help! I’m upside down!

 The title and author are printed the wrong direction. Seriously. Those other titles are from major book and comic publishers. That’s the standard, which means someone screwed up on the Lackadaisy cover. But that’s not the worst of it. Look at these:

My book has strings.

 My book has strings.

Yeah, I’m not supposed to be able to see those strings. And the glue keeping the cover on as started to come off the sides. So far, Lackadaisy has held together, but I have no confidence that it will stand up to heavy handling.  Hopefully, these issues will get corrected in future printings. Right now, the book costs 14 bucks plus shipping. I’d have been willing to spend two or three more bucks to getting something with better binding if not a larger page size.

Good story, great artwork, but the packaging isn’t up to my buying extra copies to give as gifts. So go read Lackdaisy online so it gets a bigger audience so it gets better hardcopies so I can give better gifts.

Go give Tracy J. Butler eyeballs and money!

Go give Tracy J. Butler eyeballs and money!

This arrived with the mail today:

 Lackadaisy vol. 1

I think I’ll read it and write a review!