Responses. Sorry they were a while in coming.
Would Rocky like more experimental classical works? I get the feeling the energy of the songs would at least match him, but I'm not sure if he'd like them or not. (This was from the dumb questions thread, and even though it's INCREDIBLY dumb I still feel like asking.)
Do you mean the experimental music wave starting around the 1960’s, as in the use of non-traditional instruments and electronics (the sort of methods a lot of rock musicians then began appropriating)? It’d be terribly broad to just say ‘yes’ - he’d probably like some of it, and appreciates most or all of it for breaking with convention, though. Do you have specific works or composers in mind?
Dumb question. I heard that Rose was clingily attached to Mordecai - in Mordecai's family picture (the one where he's standing with his mother and sisters on the steps), is Rose, crouching down, drawing an "m" in the snow?
Like a mitten fastened to his coat sleeve. It’s likely she was drawing a childish abstraction of some animal or another, though (so that she could present it and then, while Mordecai criticized it for its impractical arrangement of supernumerary limbs and idiotic smile, laugh uproariously as though its invention had been a stroke of wicked, subversive wit).
Since we were just talking about ages and birthdays; what age are Bobby, Elsa, and Abelard at this point in the story and if you know their birthdays what are they? I was also curious to know what denomination Abelard belonged to. I had assumed a type of baptist but was wondering still.
Bobby’s about 40. Elsa’s a little younger. Abelard is in his early 50’s. His energy is latent and I can only imagine his ordination to have been more academic and structured than that of an itinerant outdoor evangelist, or vivacious, independently-ordained Baptist pastor. He’s Lutheran. Probably Missouri Synod, if we’re going to be that specific, as they’re known to be a little more dourly ‘fire and brimstone’ than other Lutheran denominations.
2:09 PM - Hairspring: Does her contract with 4DE have an end date and if so does she plan on continuing with physical publishing once it runs out.
It has an end date. At least as things presently stand, I have the option to renew. I’ll keep the book in print for as long as its financially reasonable to do so.
2:10 PM - Hairspring: Also, does she plan on doing an art book.
I’d like to. I’ve not yet established whether or not there’s enough interest in such a thing to warrant it, though.
2:19 PM - Grape From Housepets: Ask her what her favourite colour is
2:26 PM - SF: ask her which lackadaisy cat would do anything for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Rocky would. He’d really do anything in a ravenous bid for attention and approbation, but doing it in a ravenous bid for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches would be a suitable front.
Anyway... I think I remember you saying that the majority of characters have siblings (iirc, you said something along the lines of "Rocky and Calvin were oddities as only children") and since the thought of a bunch of baby Ivy siblings running about delights me, is there anything you could tell us about these mostly unimportant not-even characters? Unless spoilers, those are bad.
For the most part, there’s not a heck of a lot to say about them except as they pertain to the character development of the comic’s cast.
Ivy has a much younger brother and sister. Her upbringing was essentially that of an only child (it probably shows). They can be counted part of the reason her father is no longer officially in the business, and part of the reason she has a bit of carte blanche at this point in her life. Wick has a younger sister, Susannah (Sookie), who fancies herself a sort of society philanthropist. Mordecai has two living sisters - one was his childhood nemesis, and the other his biggest fan. Zib has an elder and younger brother. He’s definitely the artistic black sheep among them. Viktor has quite a lot of siblings. They worked a family farm together as children, along with their cousins. Some of them migrated to the U.S. along with him, but they are no longer in touch. Mitzi has a number of younger siblings too, and was burdened with helping to raise them while still a child herself. It might have something to do with her apparent lack of interest in leading a traditional, matronly family life. Nico and Serafine are siblings...or at least half-siblings.
So, Rocky seems like a nice guy (yes, I am aware that the previous statement is subjective and open to challenging, but I figured I'd be polite), but, has there been any instances where he hasn't been as... "particularly" friendly? I mean has Rocky ever been explosively furious, or does he approach everything, dare I say it, "passive aggressively?"
Hehe. I’m not sure I’d describe his behavior as passive-aggressive, exactly. He’s not that subtle...or passive. It’s true that his approach is not terribly forthright, though, as his jests and threats bleed together. Physically, he’s probably always been too noodle-armed to throw a proper punch, so he finds alternate means of..uh, expression. Emotionally, he doesn’t seem to have any mechanism for temperance - rather than feeling angry, he probably feels something more like a jumbled, overwhelming sense of upset. I’d say the ensuing frantic attempts to quell it tend to register more on the massive-aggressive end of the scale, and the bizarre accompaniment of friendliness is probably less indicative of disingenuousness than it is the result of emotional parsing failures. He is smiling as much as he is baring his fangs.
(In case that’s needlessly oblique, the short answer is no. He’s usually feeling too many feels for anything as clearcut as furious anger to manifest.)
While your art has (not without reason) been a focal point as far as tutorials and things, I was wondering if you'd share more about your writing process. Specifically how you outline, if you outline at all; I've been trying to find a method that doesn't make me want to smash my laptop or burn my notebooks and your story-telling is excellent and well-paced.
Thank you. I’m not sure it really bears explaining, though, both because there’s very little of what you might call ‘process’ to it, and because it would be pure conceit to discuss it as though I really know what I’m doing. In the interest of trying to say something about it, though, the following is a deceptively linear and organized description of what I do.
I jot down copious notes and ideas and gradually whittle it down, throwing most of it away, putting a few stray ideas aside for mini-comics, and keeping what little of it makes sense and gets me where I’m trying to go with the story and character arcs. Then I begin jigsawing it together to establish a broad shape for it all. Once there’s a basic form, I try to refine it so that there’s something bearing a resemblance to storytelling rhythm to it. Sometimes, thematic patterns begin to emerge from the camouflage of inchoate ideas, so I backtrack and play them up a bit to help keep everything tied together as more than just a chronology of events. It helps me make sense of it all too. Then I work out where chapter breaks (or scene changes) fit in. The result is a sort of outline consisting of a few sentences or a paragraph to describe each intended chapter. The outline is still very much liable to be edited and re-ordered, but it allows me to narrow down my focus to individual chapters and write a draft of a script for that segment. I do a lot of the research at that phase too. Dialogue generally goes through multiple rewrites as I thumbnail and then draw out panels. Right up until I’m finished with a set of pages, some things are subject to change. Panels get replaced, redrawn or rearranged. Information gets added or cut out if I simply can’t justify its inclusion, and I take at least one last pass at editing the dialogue, usually (but not always successfully) with the intent to pare it down.
It might be worth noting, one writer to another, that at intervals I also want to burn my notebooks, smash my laptop, throw things, drink, shriek, change my identity, shed the burden and run away to foreign lands, and otherwise indulge in the sort of self-loathing born of dumping everything you’ve got into a project and putting it on display while feeling that you’re always, in one way or another, failing at it. I’m led to believe that’s all fairly normal.
Have you thought of updating less on a more consistent basis? It's always good for the user base if everybody knows when a new page is coming out, and I think anyone would agree that having one page consistently is better than having three or four pages inconsistently.
Of course there's going to be problems with time and deadlines; no one can predict what comes up, but even if it's one page every one or two months, it's better just buckling down and setting a date for yourself when it comes time to update.
Yes, this notion has cycled around numerous times, precisely because not everyone agrees on what’s better. I’ll be the first to admit that I despise updating so slowly. It’s a huge failing, and it constantly haunts me. However, the sensation wouldn’t be mitigated by updating consistently, once a month with one page that goes almost nowhere and says almost nothing. If I updated once a week, I’d feel differently about it, but as it stands, I can’t. I’m not entirely convinced readers would find one page a month any more satisfying either. Feedback is mixed. Anyway, I imagine it’d be like trying to listen to a radio serial or watch a tv show that lasts a minute and then, before anything happens or before a complete thought coagulates, cuts off mid-sentence. Few and far between as updates are, I at least feel more assured that I’ve actually told a self-contained little part of the story when I update with a set of three or four pages.
How would you describe the past Atlas-Mordecai dynamic?
A strange conglomeration of father-son, rabbi-golem.
Does Mordecai have anything he particularly likes talking about, favourite conversational topics, etc?
“A polymath is someone who is interested in everything, and nothing else.” - Umberto Eco
His pet topics are pretty transient. Unlike a proper Renaissance man, however, the anthropological or sociological aspects don’t concern him in so much as the potential a subject has of being dissected to its factual minutiae. Theoretical statistics, Germanic etymologies, Linnaean classifications of North American wildflowers, Gothic Revival architecture, the engineering of a Cine Kodak 16mm camera...whatever he’s been reading about any given week. No doubt Viktor’s been involuntarily lectured on a good deal of it too.
Could you maybe describe some of the favourite conversational topics of other characters? (whichever ones you feel would be noteworthy to mention, if any)
Zib has an interest in eastern religions and various forms of philosophy, which he’s been known to drone on about. He’s more animated when discussing music, his great love. Mitzi has a weakness for trashy novels, and with vague irony, a taste for morbid little things like murder mysteries and the works of Poe. She probably would have loved Edward Gorey if she’d been born a bit later. When she’s not lost in reminiscing, those things probably creep into the conversation. Ivy likes light-spirited, contemporary literature and film, although she’d be game to gab about almost anything or anyone. She has a curious streak and enjoys prodding others to talk about themselves - especially those mysterious silent types. Rocky would talk all day about anything too, although he often likens everything back to the Romanticists, Shakespeare and myriad myths and legends. Freckle likes sports, particularly baseball. It’s one of the few topics he’d feel confident enough to prattle on about. Wick’s favorite topics of discussion - rocks, bugs, wine - have been pretty well addressed in the comic. On occasion, he’ll talk politics and finance too. Mrs. Bapka loves to chat, but no one has any idea what she’s saying, and Viktor doesn’t want to have a conversation with you - leave him alone!
So far, of the characters, Zib is perhaps the one who has shown the most evidence of having a moral compass, in that, among other things, he mentions objecting to the 'blood money' coming from Lackadaisy's business. Do any of the other characters ever have moral qualms about aspects of what they do in the prohibition business? How do they justify it/rationalise it to themselves?
Most of them have qualms on one level or another. Some of them manage to justify it, and others, I suppose, have developed workaround methods. I’d say Viktor is a rationalizer, and though I don’t think he sees any way out, feels he’s fully culpable for bargaining his way into it. He extends the same lack of sympathy he has for himself to (almost) anyone else involved. Everyone who's in for a penny is in for a pound. Being rather misanthropic and numbed by experience helps too, no doubt. Zib, having discovered no way to justify it, staves it off chemically along with his other issues. Some of them, like Freckle, feel the brunt of it and are physically ill over it. The comic will explain why he keeps doing it regardless. Some of them have lived long enough on the fringes as a matter of survival that they figure they might as well enjoy themselves. Some of them are just desperate enough to store up all the inconvenient guilt behind a precariously constructed dam, knowing it won't hold forever, and some don’t even realize how much it all bothers them until it gradually sneaks up and bites. I won’t say much more, though, because a lot of this figures pretty heavily into the story.
Who would you say are the most intelligent characters among the Lackadaisy cast?
I’ve tried to design the characters such that there’s a variety of intelligence types among them - logical, emotional, kinesthetic and so forth. I’d say most of them have some area of specialty. If we’re talking about a cognitive ‘what’s your IQ and SAT score’ sort of intelligence, Mordecai would win that competition. That wouldn’t take into account how veritably disabled he is in other arenas of intellect, though.
It probably sounds absurd, but I’d place Rocky pretty high in the ranking too - creatively, musically, linguistically, and for sheer information retention. Unchecked moods, unguided intellectual curiosity, and poor impulse control have made rather a wreck of any potential he might have possessed, though.
I’d file Wick, Lacy, Ivy, Zib, Asa and Dom at perhaps a degree or two above average intelligence too.
Hey there! You know Miss.Tracy that you put a lot of dedication into interacting with your fan base. Like this forum for example,you actually reply! The are many web artists and authors out there that will set things up and then never actually use them, and if they do reply, won't host a conversation. Really, it' very much appreciated by everyone on here, I'm sure.
So, I wanted to ask what made you decide to have so much interaction with your fan base? Does it feel like it makes a big difference in certain when compared to say...other artists with very little interaction?
I’m not guiltless when it comes to setting up venues for interaction and failing to keep up. There have been many unanswered comments, questions, emails, invitations to conventions and speaking events, requests for advice, collaborations or interviews along the way. Almost all of these I wanted or meant to respond to, but the reality is that sometimes - often - there simply isn’t enough time in the day.
Anyway, the reasons I choose to interact are manifold and mostly selfish. Networking is vital to any career artist. Sometimes I stumble on a new friend this way too. Honest feedback is useful. So are encouraging words in their way. The incoming interest is rewarding, fulfilling, reassuring unto itself, so I look to encourage it or, at least, not to discourage it. On the slightly less selfish side, I’m grateful anyone has any interest at all in the work I do and I would feel I was rudely taking readers for granted if I didn’t, at a minimum, respectfully acknowledge them. Very occasionally, also, if I might be able to respond usefully or reassuringly in kind to something someone says to me, it’s worth it to speak up.
Those are my reasons. As to the general difference it makes, though, I’m not sure I have any real basis for comparison. I’ve never tried cutting myself off. I do know some comic-makers have been successful being in touch with their readership and some without, though. I recognize that It can be problematic to be available as well - it’s distracting at times and at worse, it may cause one to second guess even the soundest of artistic instincts, or tempt one to pander - so I can’t fault those who choose not to invite interaction. What difference it makes depends on the individual, I guess.
Was Viktor a nationalist or a socialist?
I mean, revolutions at the time were quite common worldwide, especially in Europe, but they were mostly national revolutions; their goal was to get rid of the country's foreign government (i.e. the Austrians in Slovakia).
But in the same period there were the first socialist revolutions (the October Revolution above all).
So, was Victor fighting for the freedom of his countrymen or for a different political system?
Well, neither and both.
It was with nationalistic sentiments that he departed the Austro-Hungarian Empire, though that was more a form of passive resistance than an act of revolution. Arguably, his enlistment had at least a little something to do with his sense of Slovak nationalism too. At the time of his involvement in a labor riot in the United States, he pretty clearly possessed socialist sympathies. He was not directly involved in an effort to supplant the existing government, however, but was protesting the detainment of those who were accused of colluding to do so.
What exactly did Mordecai do in New York and why?
He extorted money from someone who had previously worked for and who had, in a way, betrayed him and indirectly cost his already depleted family a great deal. What he managed to get from this individual was a frustrating pittance, though, so believing himself to be smarter and more capable, he murdered him and took his place as a relatively minor player in a larger criminal network. He used the to position to embezzle money from higher-ups, at first to make up for what was lost and later, because he could. Eventually, inevitably, he got caught.
Sorry if that’s incredibly vague. I don’t want to go into too much detail both because it’s liable to undergo some changes and, in the unlikely event I ever have time on my side, I’d like to make a short standalone comic out of it.
Obviously at some point you're going to wrap up this comic. At some point it's going to end.
Will you still do art as mini comics related to it, or once you finish will that just be it?
I might have loose ends I want to tie up with short story offshoot comics like I mentioned above, or I could potentially make a full comic out of a character’s backstory...or forestory. Heh. Possibly, though, the spark of some wholly new inspiration will demand tending and I’ll go exploring a different time and place. I can’t really predict. Whatever the case, that’s a long way off yet.