Tracy J. Butler

Lackadaisy was one of the few web-comics I followed in high school that managed to make it to physical publication. Despite the high quality of both the writing and the artwork, being from a small press made getting a copy very difficult and expensive. I would've likely passed on ever holding the book were it not for the sentimental value.

When I was younger and perhaps more underestimating of the world's depravity, the activity of the furry fandom held remarkable appeal. The accessibility is what I admired the most. In visual art elsewhere, drawing human forms is a large roadblock for people just starting out. We have entire structures of our neural chemistry explicitly dedicated to the identification of real human figures, so it should come as no surprise the same discerning standard is applied in art as well. For a beginning artist, as I was then, “anthro” was a way of getting around that barrier to entry. The proportions were much looser and could be judged by their own standards, which was an advantage it had over the crippling uniformity anime and manga offered for others in the same boat. It was enough to let any teenage understudy compete on the internet, even while lacking the many years of practice otherwise demanded. (Miss Butler, too, first started on Lackadaisy when she was hardly even 20 years old.) I saw an immense possibility space within it, but that possibility space these days has been vastly squandered.

Fashion is a shifting sand, and with the rise of “bara” in 02009-onwards, furry was slowly re-purposed into a highly particular exburb of the internet LGBT. It happened very quickly on the English internet, and I painstakingly witnessed it take place on Japanese kemono sites as well. Gone were the lovingly crafted character profiles, gone were the fantastical and picturesque settings, gone was the focus on using these characters to tell a possible story of some kind. All the parts I liked about it were slowly whittled away, and a makeshift pornography industry was the vile monster that took its place. I don't deny its right to exist, but merely wonder why it had to happen at the cost that it did... It's a betrayal I am still wounded by, and haven't quite gotten over even after all this time.

Despite everything, Lackadaisy somehow was not a victim to the currents. The long-standing focus on character, drama, and story reminds me why I got into this business in the first place. Few things are ever so sacred as that.

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