Lackadaisy Review: A Guest Post

Foreword: I'm super excited to have my first guest post on my blog! My sister, HollowCandles, has a wonderful review of a fascinating online comic. Though I've never read Lackadaisy, after reading her review, I have to admit that I'm utterly intrigued!

Do you want a story with class, that's beautifully and tastefully made, and has that masterful combination of drama, comedy, romance, and action? Would you like characters that jump out at you; that every scene and turn of the plot catches you in the throes of anticipation for the next uttered word? Then you want Lackadaisy!

Out of the online comics and paperback comics I've read, Lackadaisy (practically) sits on the throne. Now, I say practically because naming something as the ever shining king of its medium is a serious decision and as far as comic readers go, I'm no Robert and Ebert-level reviewer. I've never even picked up a Marvel or DC issue. Also I have to leave room for other great favorites like Homestuck and Namesake and Faith Erin Hicks' stuff (but they will have their limelight another time). In Lackadaisy I've found that familiar recipe used in great works.

I first read it on deviantart, but everything is accessible at its website. I have to disclaim; the comic is still ongoing and it is painfully slowly updated (because it's amazingly drawn and its author has a job and real life). It's on its second volume and is updated online, though the first volume can be purchased to own. Inbetween updates, Tracy J. Butler, its author, puts out fun side stuff, such as character flashbacks, hypothetical situations, and some art of the cat characters if they were humans, as well as a couple humorous pieces that include herself.

Lackadaisy takes two really awesome things and smushes them together: The 1920s and cats. And it mixes them in the most wonderful way. The comic focuses on the Lackadaisy speakeasy during the Prohibition era. The illegal operation has seen better days; after the passing of its esteemed leader, Atlas May, it struggles to get by under the direction of Atlas's wife, Mitzi. She employs Rocky, the violinist in the band, to run odd errands and do whatever he can for the desperately understaffed establishment. His tendency to get shot at or mortally threatened more or less works to counteract the slow quicksand sinking of Lackadaisy into obscurity (and to save it from trouble he has a tendency to encourage). The few other employees left include the band, the rather forcibly retired gunman, Viktor, and Ivy, Atlas's goddaughter who tends the counter of the cafe that is Lackadaisy's unassuming front. Also involved in the illegal shenanigans are Freckle, Rocky's square cousin, Wick, a rich businessman with an eye for Mitzi, and Mordecai, a gunman who used to work for Atlas and left after his death to work for a rival speakeasy that has been growing more and more powerful. Throw in plenty of murderous gunslingers, questionable pasts, watered-down rum and anthropomorphic cat-human pig farmers and the combination is complete.

I have heavenly dreams at night of being as amazing as Tracy J. Butler. Lackadaisy is never lacking. I love every single character, even the ones you’re supposed to love to hate, and there are so many characters that I wouldn’t even know who to gush over first. Discovering each one is fun, and I'm still learning about them even now.
Another thing I love so much my toes curl up like the wicked witch is that the period setting immediately makes everything charming. A regular scene with two people talking is suddenly twice as fun because the wallpaper is paisley, the girls are dressed like flappers, and the dudes are wearing pinstripes. Not to mention, Tracy J. Butler's art makes everything so beautiful you could die of art poisoning.

As comics are apt to do, the art evolves from beginning to end; not only as the author’s skill increases but as their style is solidified and they feel more at home with their work.  Anybody who picks up volume 1 and volume 60 of Bleach will wonder if the two were even drawn by the same person. But the farther you read, the deeper you get and the more impossible it is to return.
The dialogue is more than enough to make me reach for my dictionary a couple times. The only thing it’s missing is a score by John Williams or Danny Elfman which is impossible because it's a comic. I believe of people's favorites, there are two kinds: Sentimental favorites and Masterpieces. And Lackadaisy is a masterpiece.

-guest post by HollowCandles


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