dark comedy


Wednesday’s Webcomic: Battlepug

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Sometimes a webcomic is born from a strange place. In this case, an established mainstream print comic artist designed a t-shirt on the fly. The characters on the silly t-shirt became so wildly popular that a weekly webcomic had to follow, because the clamors of internet could not be denied. I mean really, who could deny the sweet, gigantic face of BattlepugThe Battlepug itself is the giant, fearsome mount of mighty barbarian mage-warrior, who is on quest for vengeance against those who destroyed his family. In an age lost to time, where bandits roam and kings squabble over petty grievances, a malevolent wizard is using giant, adorable beasts to destroy a seemingly random sequence of towns and villages. Our hero, the Warrior, is the lone survivor of one of these attacks. As he journeys to find vengeance against the mage he is joined on his quest by the massive and lovable Battlepug, a mad old hermit, a foul-mouthed and powerfully magical child, and a fearsome female soldier.

Battlbug is a tongue-in-cheek look at the pulp novels of the past, and the characters almost always approach their absurd situations with complete seriousness. This is a sword and sorcery comedy, although there are hints of a more serious storyline beneath it. The art is reminiscent of pulp novel covers and illustrations as well. It is brightly colored and richly detailed. THe characters are expressive and original, and every single one of the massive Battlepug’s sweet, derpy expressions warm my heart and make me squee! Even if he is rampaging through a battle! Who can say no reading more comics with that face? As an added bonus, fan’s pug pictures are featured on Fridays! The comic itself updates with excellent punctuality on Mondays. In 2012, it won the Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic. The first volume has been published by Dark Horse.

The Author and his Other Work 

Mike Norton is the writer and artist for Battlepug, and is the owner of a pug named Ninja. He has an impressive comics resume that includes the Waiting Place, Runaways, and Green Arrow/Black Canary as well as many others. He has also recently been working on Revival with Tim Seeley, to much critical acclaim. The colors are done by Allen Passalaqua, a photographer and colorist who has worked on Justice Socitey of America, Spiderman, Green Arrow and Black Canary.

A Boy and his Dog.

Our hero meets his mighty steed.


Wednesday’s Webcomic: Lackadaisy

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Today’s comic is a historical dark comedy telling the story of a Prohibition speakeasy that has fallen on hard times and the tenacious and shady crew of oddballs that runs it.  It is at times hilarious and silly and other times tragic and bloody, and the cast of this story are adorable and expressive cats. Fluffy cats, sweet cats,  dapper cats, violent cats, drunk cats, sociopath cats, Irish Catholic cats, and cats with machine guns all star in the lusciously sepia-toned  Lackadaisy.  The Lackadaisy has fallen on hard times since its owner, Atlas May, died under mysterious circumstances. His wife, Mitzi May, has been trying to keep the illegal hooch flowing into her gin-joint to no avail. Only the most loyal employees and patrons remain, including sweet co-ed Ivy Pepper, surly one-eyed Victor, and the manic violinist Rocky, whose attempts at being Mitzi’s go-to muscle usually end in blood. His blood, to be more precise. His naive cousin Freckle is drawn into the crew at an opportune moment, and the Lackadaisy may have a chance of resurrecting itself if Mitzi May can build enough momentum and hold off the dogs… er, cats of the rival syndicates and the treasury department.

Lackadaisy Introduction

While it’s sadly more sporadic than regular due to the author’s career as a video game artist, the comic makes up for its twice-monthly or so update schedule with  its outstanding production quality, a large library of sketches, many side and background stories and a lively forum and wiki. Each page of the comic itself is long and richly detailed, and the author is very creative with its layout and lettering. She chose to draw the characters as cats because their expressive ears and tails are more fun to draw for her, and she uses them to their fullest, fluffiest extent. All the characters are extremely dramatic  and expressive, and she sticks to the color palette of sepia-toned photograph. The historical locations in St. Louis, props, costumes and euphemisms are incredibly well researched; although liberties are sometimes taken for the sake of clarity and coolness. There are frequently historical notes at the bottom of each page, an extra I always appreciate. While there were no books or products for a long time, a partnership was recently formed with 4th Dimension Entertainment with the first volume in print as well as t-shirts and buttons for sale.

Lackadaisy Hachetman

The Author and her Other Works

Tracy J. Butler is a professional 2D and 3D video game artist for play.net, and recently worked on the games Tiny Heroes and One Epic Knight. Lackadaisy is her major independent project, with nearly two volumes complete and an exhaustive library of supplemental material. She lives in St Louis with a cat and has been a digital artist for ten years.

Lackadaisy Scathefire