Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to adapt your Eisner-nominated webcomic, Lackadaisy, into multimedia project encompassing an animated short and all-new mini-comics. What can you share with us about the inspiration behind this incredible undertaking?
Tracy Butler: It seemed only a hazy, latent possibility at first, but in some ways, I think it was a long time coming. Lackadaisy, as a story, has always played out in my mind’s eye like an animated feature, and although I try to capture that dynamism in comic panels, there are some things that cannot be drawn into a static picture. The music, the voices, the full-motion character acting and the breakneck intensity of a car chase - I’ve been longing to see it fully realized since the start.
As webcomics are beginning to come into their own, garnering a certain legitimacy from larger audiences and commercial success, as the powerful animation tools have become more readily available, as virtual studios are now producing some of the most popular media you can find on the internet, all signs point toward GO. I’ve got nothing on the barnstormers and wingwalkers of the 1920s, but in the centennial of the decade that roared, in keeping with that spirit, it’s time to try something a little daring.
BD: Your creative team includes Iron Circus Comics publisher Spike Trotman and director Fable Siegel. How would you describe your shared creative process in bringing this project to life, and what made Iron Circus the perfect home for the endeavor?
TB: It was Fable who initially approached Spike about the prospect of an animated short film. Spike signaled her interest and I was, simply put, thrilled. I’ve been watching from a distance as she built Iron Circus from the ground up, running one successful Kickstarter after another. This is someone who knows what they’re doing. Not only that, but the fact that Iron Circus rather famously specializes in comics that are a bit out of the ordinary made me think it’d be a good fit for an animated film that’s a bit out of the ordinary, too.
Following a fairly in-depth voice chat about our intentions and how we might secure funding, it was clear Fable, Spike, and I had a similar outlook on the goals, scope, and potential of this endeavor. For some months now, we’ve been off and running. I coordinate daily with Fable on the creative side of things (script writing, storyboards, visual development), and we check in regularly with Spike to make sure our logistical ducks are in a row.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Lackadaisy’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
TB: Although the medium is cartoon felines in a century-old historic setting, I think, at its emotional center, the story is very human. In large part, it’s an exploration of the allure of nostalgia, the danger in fixating on a romanticized version of the past. There’s perhaps something to relate to in that, as my generation is met everyday from myriad angles by the repurposing and commercial rebooting of our childhoods, the sentimental mythologizing of those "good old days." You can’t effectively put the past to rest and move forward with what you’ve learned if you’re too busy soaking in it, though - it’s no way to face the daunting changes and challenges converging at the doorstep.
BD: Are there any specific backer rewards in the campaign that you would like to highlight for readers?
TB: Aside from the completed short film, of course, which will be shared with everyone, the preeminent backer reward is the Lackadaisy Essentials hardcover art book. This will be the first-ever print collection of Lackadaisy mini-comics, tutorials, and illustrations. Backers also have multiple options for custom art rewards, from pencil drawings and full color pieces done by me, to cameos wherein the production team will work with a backer to design and animate their character for inclusion in the film.
We’re looking forward to making the soundtrack by Sepiatonic a downloadable reward, as well!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about Lackadaisy and to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign?
TB: Lackadaisy.com is the central hub for the comic, related artwork, social media links, and myriad extras. I’ll be keeping it updated with Kickstarter news, too.
You can follow Iron Circus Comics (ironcircus.com or @ironcircuscomix) for Kickstarter information, as well! And, of course, the Kickstarter itself is located here.