Okay...more answers. Trying to catch up.
Are there going to be any major plans with the Dubois later on? And if so, loosely give a little hint please?
Who? Do you mean the Savoys?
Also, does Rocky ever have fantasies about flying?
In a sense, he is flying much of the time.
How old was Mordecai when he first killed someone, and what were the circumstances? (Self-defense, his first job, ect.)
About 17…opportunism, and arguably, a little bit of revenge.
How did Horatio get started in Lackadaisy, and why does he work there? (Sorry if this has been answered before, but I can't seem to find a lot of mentions on Horatio)
Horatio’s not one of the more prominent characters – he hasn’t been discussed much, but he started out bussing and waiting tables and wound up working as a doorman once Atlas was gone and few of the former staff remained to man various necessary positions. The reason he’s working in a speakeasy to begin with is most probably because he was scooped up by Atlas from a more legitimate but less lucrative restaurant job.
In Lackadaisy Preview 19, there are two sketches of Serafine all dolled up, voodoo-style. How long must we wait until we see this in the comic? Or were those sketches for something else?
Volume 2 has some Voodoo chicanery in store. How long you’ll have to wait unfortunately depends on how fast I can draw to get to that portion of story.
1) How old is Asa exactly? I have a few guesstimates in my head, but I don't trust myself on these things.
43 at the time the canon story takes place (born 1884)
2) Slightly curious about his family status. Children? etc, things like that.
He’s complacently married; has a son and daughter who are both beyond high school and nigh adulthood themselves.
3) Also, in an endeavor to ask a question that's perhaps actually dumb for the sake of living up to the thread's title: Tracy, what fairy did you talk to to give you your magic pencil, and what enchanted fairy glen does he live in? In exchange, I offer the coordinates to my magical stupid gag comics inspiration lake, whose waters are very helpful when drunk, if you don't mind parasites and the occasional dead bee.
Gangrene Pete, the hobo fairy who haunts the enchanted dumpster glen behind a nearby strip mall that someone thought appropriate to name after Mark Twain, presumably without considering how terribly insulted Mark Twain might’ve been. Feel free to drop by. After you’ve had a tetanus shot and signed a waiver.
I’d be honored to take a dip in the magical gags comics lake - I’d be remiss to pass up any opportunity to breathe in some mosquito larvae of comedic inspiration.
does rocky, zib, or any other characters do drugs? you know.."drugs" as in coke, weed, the needle or? any other substance?
Rocky doesn’t even drink, somewhat ironically. I’m not sure I can say the same for some of the others…
Does Ms. Nina get along with Rocky's father? if not did she and/or family hates the father (status, his family, ethnic background)?
Before the 20s and their births did rocky and freckle's parents had arrange marriages?
Their marriages were not formally arranged, but it was definitely understood that they were supposed to marry within their social class (if not upward), within their ethnicity, and definitely within The Church. Nina’s marriage was of a more traditional and pragmatic nature than of ardent passions. Her sister didn’t quite play by the rules, however, and indeed, Nina did not approve. Precisely what she disapproved of – the spurning of proprieties, the character of the bridegroom, or whether some other sort of resentment arose out of the circumstances – has gone largely undisclosed (to Rocky, at least).
So, the short answer is that Nina and Rocky’s father did not get along. They didn’t exactly actively feud, but mutual coldness certainly managed to drive a wedge of emotional distance between sisters.
Will there be any upcoming explosions?
Where is Freckle's mother?
How many sandwiches have appeared in the comic?
Are there any ants?
Why are these so random?
1. Really, I've been thinking about this one a lot. Do the cats of the Lackadaisy universe have cat eyesight, i.e., can see in the dark when there's just a small amount of light? Because in 'Lackadaisy Myopia' it doesn't seem like it. Or was it just so dark their eyes hardly had any light to reflect? *nerd musings, stroking beard*
Though I like to use luminous cat eyes and other cat features for certain artistic effect, I try not to get too literal about the feline physiology. The implication with ‘Myopia’ is that, whatever their capacity for seeing in darkened conditions, it’s just dark enough to provide a handicap to the pig farmers who are unfamiliar with the general layout of the garage.
2. Will any characters in the comic, canon or not, ever hiss? Or is it more accurate to ask if they do? Because hissing cats are just awesome. And purring.
I agree hisses and purrs have their appeal…however, like I was saying above, the characters here aren’t literal upright felines so much as they are felines in an abstract sense. It’s a little difficult to articulate exactly what I mean by this, so I apologize if my explanation is lacking.
As cats, they don’t meow, hiss, purr, lick themselves clean, chase frantically after bugs and dancing string, or cough up hairballs. They’re cats as a metaphors or even puns for the sorts of personalities one would expect to find manning a sleazy jazz scene, haunting midnight back-alleys, ruthlessly presiding over bootleg operations, and just generally leading duplicitous lives of genial domesticity crossed with secret nocturnal villainy. It amounts to a collection of human characteristics we project onto cats projected back onto a cast of humans who fit the bill; admittedly I use it rather shamelessly as a visual device. I want it to be playful. At the same time, I don’t want to distract too much from the fact that the characters represent human personalities, so they usually behave more like humans than like actual cats.
3. Are any of the characters a leftie?
None of the main cast…though I would say Nico is ambidextrous. Horatio is left handed.
4. How do you imagine that the characters sound when they talk, if you get to choose from the actors of the world? Which actor would you choose for each character in a, say, movie, animated or real, or something alike?
Although I have my own ideas about what each of them sound like, I don’t really want to color the characters’ voices so definitively as to rattle off a list of actors. I’d much prefer readers to draw their own conclusions about what they sound like based on their manners of speaking, their personalities and gestures.
In an effort to compromise, I’ll post an excerpt from an email here I sent to a voice acting group a while back who were considering doing some recordings and wanted some direction. I guess I would say these are ‘loose guidelines’ and hopefully leave room for everyone’s individual interpretations:Rocky
- I get a lot of comments from readers that he sounds like Nathan Lane when they 'hear' his voice in dialogue. While I don't think his voice would be quite as high in pitch, the wildly varying tonal ranges and delivery rife with inordinate drama would be appropriate. He's something of a thespian at heart, I think...an extremely over-zealous one.Calvin (Freckle)
- Polite and fairly soft-spoken in the 'nice boy next door who'll mow your lawn without charging' sort of way. There are some faint traces of Irish brogue in his voice as well, which he would have picked up from his mother. “TH” might sound more like “T” wherein words like “throw” sound a little more like “trow”.
Where Rocky's crazy-laugh is all manic glee, Freckle's is more like cathartic rage - it would come across a little meaner.Mitzi
- A lyrical voice with a distinctly southern accent. Her manner of delivery varies between sad resignation (which contradicts her every action), and condescension that might come across as insulting if it weren’t so slathered in honey.Viktor
– Flatly says exactly what he means in a low, brusque voice with a heavy Slovakian accent (which is fairly Slavic sounding. Czech is perhaps the closest comparison I could make.) Articles like 'a' and 'the' that don't exist in most Slavic languages are frequently left out of his speech. “W” sounds more like “V” and English verb conjugation is still a bit of a black art to him in some cases.Ivy
- Pert, cute, high pitched, but with a self-aware, sardonic edge. There's a bit of deliberately disarming con artist beneath the daintiness. Wick
- Has a cheery, guileless manner of speaking, and when talking about rocks, geeky enthusiasm shines through. There's a bit of well-to-do Bostonian in his voice. His accent might sound something like Cary Grant impersonating a Kennedy…but understated.Zib
- Borders a bit on tired apathy, but livelier when given the opportunity to vent some of his underlying angst with sarcastic flair. There's probably a bit of a nonchalant, Jack Nicholson-esque drawl to his manner of speaking.Mordecai
- He's from New York, but makes a concerted effort to disguise the accent and generally sticks with a combination of proper and deadpan. The only exception would be in the midst of one of his intermittent episodes of pure vexation - some of the New Yorker might show through if enough of his composure slips.Nico
- Confident, low and almost lazy sounding in delivery with a distinct Cajun accent. He and his sister should sound like they're accustomed to speaking Cajun French in each other's company, and only deign to speak English for practical purposes when on the job.Serafine
- Same accent as Nico, but with some fiery personality behind it. Her voice should sound a little sultry, but not in the typical femme fatale fashion - there should be something a little earthy and crass about it.Asa
- Robust, rather bombastic voice - confident that he's being funny even if no one else is laughing. He sounds like a cross between Jackie Gleason and John Goodman in my head, I think.Nina
- Overtly Irish, with that up-swinging lilt at the end of almost every sentence, making declarative statements sound more like questions…or in her case, righteous rhetorical interrogation. When speaking to Rocky, she would tend to sound exasperated.Horatio
- Shy, soft-spoken. He sounds exactly the opposite of what a doorman/bouncer should sound like, akin to the way Mike Tyson’s voice perfectly mismatches his appearance and occupation.The Pig Farmers
- They'd share a rural Missouri accent, which is a little hard to describe if you haven't heard one before. I suppose it would be one part Texan, one part southern, and one part midwest (your basic non-descript 'American' accent) to dampen it. Avril's got a coarse, loud, angry voice. Though not quite as much a man-child as Lennie Small, Emery should sound a little innocently lost on what's going on most of the time. Avery is insecurely stuck between those two things – often confused and pretty angry about it.Church
- Bored affluence and a little disdain for everything around him in his voice - not too much of a 'snob' caricature, though. There’s at least a trace of genuineness to him. Lacy
– Counter to Mitzi’s mien, she sounds like the quintessential ordinary urban girl – uncultured but with the ring of practical smarts.Captain Kehoe
– When he opens his mouth, gravelly contempt falls out.
5. So, is Mordecai's father alive or not? If not, how did he die? From the stroke? And what was his name? Age/Birth year? Appearance? Shoe number? By the way... this stroke... was it just something he suddenly got or has he had it more than once? Something that runs in the family? Then possibly passed on to his kids?
His name was Isaac, born c.1865, average height, average to lean build, dark featured (as a cat, solid black fur), glasses – nothing particularly remarkable about his looks. He’s no longer among the living when the canon comic takes place. Death would have been attributed to health complications arising from the condition the stroke had put him in – but it’s possible it was just another stroke or repeated minor strokes, which can easily go undetected. There wasn’t much the medical community could do to detect or treat that sort of thing at the time, if one could even afford a physician with any regularity. Predisposition for stroke can be genetic, environmental or a combination of those two things – hard to say if it’d be a congenital problem among his children.
6. Oh, that reminds me! How do you define the length measure 'feet' in the Lackadaisy universe? Because the cats sure have smaller feet than humans XD So then... what would they have in shoe numbers?
Hehe – how pedantic. Well an inch was originally defined as “three barleycorns”, and I suppose it seemed only sensible to invent a term like ‘foot’ to describe 36 barleycorns all lined up in a neat row. Or perhaps whatever European elite came to represent the standard had enormous paddle feet compared with his brethren. Then again, the English System is such a convoluted mess of seemingly arbitrary Anglo-Saxon, Roman and Germanic notions of how things should be measured, who can say for sure?
First before I ask my question, I would like to thank you my lady Tracy for your kindness you have shown me and your many other fans in answering our questions the way you do. I know you have your own time constraints because of your art work, and the fact you have taken time to indulge us (even me!) so is wonderful. Especially for a forum section called ‘Dumb Questions’. ^_^
I appreciate your interest, really…I feel it’s just common decency on my part to try to respond. I’m sorry I’m often slow about it. You guys ask some tricky-to-answer questions. =)
So the question is: Am I right in assuming that the very nice color rendition of Mordecai is also a homage to ‘Mack the Knife’?
I wouldn’t say it’s an homage, exactly, but some inspiration for the picture might be attributed to that song. One variation of “Mack the Knife” or another is frequently included in the playlists I listen to while I draw and paint. I am particularly fond of the song in its original German (“Die Moritat von Mackie Messer”) from the Threepenny Opera.
This is not so much a question as an observation: The only character whose design has changed noticably over the course of the comic is Mitzi, and she is all the better for it. =3 I really must applaud such consistency in a project that's been ongoing over, what, two and a half years? Bravo!
Thank you. From my perspective, though, almost all of the characters have changed or evolved in appearance over the past couple of years, some more than others - Wick and Viktor most of all, I think (hopefully also for the better).
1.) I was very interested when you mentioned that Mordecai may have suffered from head injuries when he was younger. I’m uncertain whether children have a better capacity for recovering from such wounds than adults, especially if the damages are internal. If this is the case, could these injuries have affected his personality and temperament, or perhaps something else? What was the source of these injuries?
Interesting topic. Yes, research indicates children have more neuroplasticity than adults…rerouting of neural pathways seems to compensate for lost or damaged tissue more readily in younger brains. Trauma or illness can certainly still leave permanent deficits, though.
The source of such injuries? I guess I would say ‘New York’ - a difficult place to stay out of trouble, even for a nerdy kid. =P
2.) When Asa states that Mordecai is essentially devoid of emotion in “Luncheon” and “Heartstrings”, the latter appears to take great offense to these remarks, which is peculiar given that he represses his feelings in the face of a tense situation. His conversation with Mitzi after lunch was an exception, but why was this one too? Did Asa touch a nerve? Has anyone made a similar statement to Mordecai before? Has he himself mulled over this issue, that for some reason he can’t express emotions to the extent he wants to, and is bothered or maybe even angered and saddened by this?
I’m not sure his reaction was an exception in that case, exactly. When Asa teased him for having the singular dimension of annoyance, Mordecai reacted with further annoyance, reaffirming for Asa that his (somewhat shallow) summation of Mordecai is correct.
I’m sure on an intellectual level Mordecai knows his calibrations are out of whack based on reactionary or direct feedback he gets from others, but I don’t think that angers or saddens him exactly. ‘Perpetual vexation’ might be a better way to term it. Sure, he’s mulled it over too, but wondering how he should feel about not knowing what to feel - if he even has the capacity to feel that - probably just leads to confused, mental processing loops that end in bizarre outbursts about his cufflinks and such.
Undoubtedly, experience tells him this sort of spectacle is hardly productive and best avoided whenever possible. To circumvent the guessing game and maintain at least some semblance of social appropriateness, a learned, limited range of behaviors have to function as a crude facsimile for a more varied, innate repertoire of emotion and personality.
3.) I need to congratulate you again on the brilliant illustrations and writing in “Hamstring” and “Monomania” (this skill accounts for all of your work of course, but you’ll see where I’m getting at in a moment). It really provides extraordinary insight into the minds of the characters, and that can be seen even in the way they’re sitting. After seeing Mitzi surrounded by photographs in her room and her reaction when Asa says she can’t put things back the way they were, it is apparent that her actions are motivated by memories, and she suffers for the sake of trying to keep them alive because they intermingle with her husband’s death. As she looks to the backseat to converse with Mordecai, she becomes more embittered and heartbroken; for that moment, Mordecai personifies the past, and her attempts to rationalize and argue, to understand and defend herself, are all for naught. She cannot change the past, and it reduces her to tears. Based on the triggerman’s seating position, it is implied that Mordecai himself is fixated in the past, which in turn explains his “obsessive” nature. However, he is not looking behind him to talk to Mitzi; by all appearances, it would seem his way forward is clear. He has a mission to accomplish, and I’m sure that whether this is the destruction of Lackadaisy or another self-given assignment will be revealed in time. Here’s my question: do you take symbolism into account or like to integrate it when you’re writing/drawing the comic? Is there any particular reason why the Lackadaisy emblem is in the shape of a clover or club?
I find in reading books or watching films, glimpsing some extra dimension between the lines somehow makes the experience of the story vastly more satisfying for me. I try to incorporate some of these sub-layers in my work as well, often in the form of symbolism, with the hope it will help enrich the content and perhaps take it a baby step or two beyond being strictly a silly, straightforward yarn. If not, well, at least I entertained myself. =P
As for the club symbol, I liked the trefoil shape because the number 3 kept popping up as I was laying out certain story points – It recurs a few times in a back and forth manner and so I decided the club (if I was going to use a strong, easily recognizable symbol like a card suit) was an ideal fit.
Thank you for your kind words. I was very glad to hear your observations about that particular scene too. I’m impressed with how keenly aware you seem to be of character placement and interaction as it relates to scene arrangement – something which is much more than just a matter of filling space.
The ‘self-given assignment’ (well, actually Mitzi suggested it dismissively) was revealed there, though I think it wasn’t particularly overt.
4.) Would you rather have Lackadaisy made into an animated film or video game? If both, which one would you like to be developed first? Is there any particular feature or style you would like to incorporate in either genre?
Really, my focus is getting the story down on paper in comic form foremost. If I had to choose, I would say video game, I suppose, simply because that way I feel I could be directly involved in development. A film is not likely to ever be on the menu (what western studio would want to make a cartoon about gun-toting, hooch smuggling gangsters? Cartoons rated PG-13 and above often flop at the box office in a big way in this hemisphere) but if it were, I think I would have to sacrifice creative control to the production machine, and I’d be absolutely terrified that the resulting product would not reflect anything of my own vision.
5.) Is there anything you have always wanted to draw the characters doing that would be non-canon? Wick and Mitzi driving in a convertible, Serafine and Nico arguing over what ice cream flavor or television series is better, Mordecai interacting with your favorite actor, Zib playing GuitarHero, Rocky drawing the Lackadaisy comic the way he wants it to be; anything along those lines?
Sometimes…and in a large variety of ways. Often that’s where the mini comics and chit-chat segments arise from.
6.) What is your favorite car, ice cream flavor, television series, actor and musician? Do you have an all-time favorite fictional hero and villain from a movie, play, comic, book etc.?
Err…I don’t know, but I definitely appreciate the look of classic cars of the 20’s and particularly of the 30s when the art deco style really began influencing design. I suppose I think the Duesenberg J, SSJ, and the Packard Super Eight were particularly striking…something special about Bugattis too.
Peppermint stick is my favorite ice cream flavor. Does “Dr. G. Medical Examiner” count as a favorite TV show? I don’t watch much network television these days. MST3K remains an old favorite, though…and Black Adder. Scrubs on DVD is a guilty pleasure too, I guess. I’m not sure I have a favorite actor. If I did, I’d probably pick a fairly eccentric character actor like John Turturro.
The Beatles might be a pretty banal answer for ‘favorite band’ and it’s probably a little odd to like the music your parents liked, but that music underscored my childhood, so I suppose I attach a lot of sentimental value to it. The Squirrel Nut Zippers are another favorite of a completely different slant.
I don’t think I could list favorite fictional characters and books without rambling on and on and on…so I’m going to cut myself short here.
7.) I should have asked this ages ago; do you perfer to be called by your first name or last name? I have called you Ms. Butler in the past just as a small sign of the immense respect I have for you, but if you like Tracy better I'm all for it!
No need for formalities. ‘Tracy’ is fine. =)
I'll start off with an easy-dumb question. What does the "J" between "Tracy" and "Butler" stand for.
Starink is correct – it’s Jennifer. I don’t much care for it, but I guess it was a trendy thing to name your child in the 80’s.
Sorry another random question! What is Rocky's view of marriage and family?
does he see himself as marrying type or he prefers to be single but still have relations with women?
Hehe. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think that far ahead. He’s a perhaps a little too hard pressed to find people who’ll even tolerate his presence to be considering marriage at this point in his life.
Oh! Another RANDOM Question...Has Rocky ever gotten a girlfriend or two, has freckle, ivy, mitzi, the savoys, viktor any other charcter had past/current relationships?
Rocky’s had encounters of…various sorts…but nothing I would term a proper romance. Freckle probably had an admirer or two in high school, but he’s so painfully shy, he would have spent more energy on dodging girls than on pursuing them. The Savoys aren’t inclined toward long-term relationships, though there have no doubt been numerous flings – particularly on Nico’s part. Viktor once had a long-lived relationship. Mitzi dropped out of a prior relationship to be with Atlas.
1) Has Mordecai ever laughed?
Once or twice, I’m sure it seemed like the correct reaction to have to a situation…and the result was probably hollow and creepy, and Atlas probably told him not to do that anymore.
2) Are Rose and/or Esther married? Do either of them have children? (Uncle Mordke, lol!)
Both are married. Rose has one child…and probably will have more. I don’t think Esther is the maternal sort.
3) Will there be any flashbacks in the comic to Mitzi and Atlas' courtship? They're such a cute couple!
Their courtship will be mentioned but not flashed back to directly. I will eventually be flashing back to part of their married existence together, though.
PS- I'm a one of the dorkiest, nerdiest Catholics on the planet, so I gotta know: How often do Calvin and Nina pray their Rosaries? One decade a day? One set of Mysteries a day? The whole shmeer?
Five decades a day - one decade for reflecting on each mystery within one of the four sets of Mysteries. Which set of Mysteries is meditated on depends on the day of the week.
Or at least that's what they're obligated to do. Nina is fastidious, I'm sure, but Freckle's mind wanders amidst all those Hail Mary's and he no doubt winds up feeling all the guiltier for having done it improperly. ;P
Will there ever be a full-color comic page? Or even a side comic? I'd just love to see the action in color!
(I know you've got a lot on your plate at the moment, Tracy, but...just wondering, I guess)
I will probably do one at some point, though it would most likely not be part of the canon storyline – it’d be a little awkward to stick a full color page in the middle of the comic, I think. Maybe next time I do a mini-comic, if I can find the time to paint it too…yikes...
How old was Rocky when he joined/left the circus? Was there any point where he had to shovel elephant poop?
Likely that and many other equally disagreeable things, all part and parcel to his fabulously desperate efforts to please.
I've got one: On preview art #23, is Old Lady Kitteh w/ Pipe Wrench Mordecai's aged mother?
Mordecai’s mother isn’t quite that ancient (at least not in 1927). It’s a drawing of Viktor’s neighbor.