|Roark "Rocky" Rickaby|
|First appearance in comic||
|First appearance with dialog||
Roark "Rocky" Rickaby joined Lackadaisy as an addition to Zib's band. After the death of Atlas and the departure of many of Lackadaisy's staff, Rocky begins doing odd jobs for Mitzi. Rocky is Nina's nephew and Freckle's cousin.
In the comic
In "Rumrunner" Rocky meets with Captain Kehoe, making arrangements to procure liquor. Rocky's plans are interrupted by the arrival of the pig farmers, who are not pleased to see him negotiating with Kehoe. The farmers and Rocky have had confrontations before, and in "Hydrophoby" they abduct Rocky and place him in the back of their truck with a dead pig that Rocky names "Frothy". In "Crack-Track" the farmers intend to kill Rocky by pinning him to a set of railroad tracks with nails through his tie, but he escapes in "Face-plant".
In "Formaldehyde", Rocky returns to Little Daisy, informing Mitzi and Ivy of his agreement with Kehoe and glossing over his confrontation with the pig farmers. Rocky asks whether Viktor can go with him to retrieve the car. Mitzi agrees, but sends Ivy with him so that, according to Mitzi, "Viktor will be less likely to throttle him".
In "Quantentheorie", Rocky discusses Viktor's "glare beam" with Ivy, facetiously suggesting that it is a product of Viktor's "hate energy" being focused through Viktor's single eye. In "Spaghetti", Viktor advises Rocky to quit as they drive to retrieve the car. He does not believe Rocky has a future in the business given his lack of muscles. Viktor (perhaps unintentionally) gives Rocky an idea for how to deal with the pig farmers, though he abruptly drops Rocky off at the car before hearing it.
Rocky visits Nina in "Reciprocity", asking her to do his laundry. In return Nina asks that Rocky take Freckle with him when Rocky runs errands, as Freckle is depressed over being rejected from the police academy due to an "incident". In "Coconspirator", Rocky leads Freckle to believe they will be pursuing justice. In "Scathefire" Freckle accompanies Rocky to the pig farm. Freckle confesses to feeling "useless", and Rocky leads Freckle to believe he is a vigilante. In "Blitzwagen" through "Schadenfreude", Rocky attacks the pig farm with the aid of Molotov cocktails, destroying the pig farmers' vehicles and property.
Rocky brings Freckle to Little Daisy in "Surreption", where Freckle meets Ivy for the first time. Though Rocky is atypically protective of Freckle and rejects Ivy's suggestion that he bring Freckle to Lackadaisy, Ivy distracts Rocky and then slips a Lackadaisy pin to Freckle.
"Hallelujah" shows Rocky with Zib and the band in Lackadaisy. Rocky tells Zib that he has to leave to pick up liquor from Captain Kehoe. Zib asks Rocky why he became a moonlighter, but they are distracted by a broken string on Rocky's violin before he answers. Viktor decides to accompany Rocky. Rocky next appears in "Bunny-box", receiving the liquor from Kehoe. Rocky seems to have strong feelings for Mitzi, as he calls her "Lady Dionysus" and waxes poetic about her.
In "Drygulch", Viktor and Rocky return to the Little Daisy garage. Rocky leaves Viktor in the garage while he takes the trapdoor to Lackadaisy to find help bringing in the liquor, and consequently does not realize the pig farmers and Benjy Jessup are approaching with guns.
In "Overture", Rocky interrupts Mitzi while she is trying to convince Wick, Church and their associates to invest in Lackadaisy, bringing some of the liquor he obtained from Captain Kehoe. Mitzi samples Kehoe's liquor, finding it to be sub-par but acceptable, and tells Rocky to have the rest of the band bring in the rest of the liquor from the garage. As opposed to his bandmates, in "Kibitz" Rocky is enthused about helping, though Zib advises him not to get too involved in his work for Mitzi.
Rocky and Zib return to the garage via the trapdoor in "Blindside"; this distraction unfortunately enables the pig farmers to shoot Viktor. Zib, Rocky and the band return to Lackadaisy, with the farmers in pursuit. Rocky and the others practically run over Freckle and Ivy upon their return to Lackadaisy in "Wishy-washy". Rocky is less than pleased to see Freckle, and Ivy explains that she invited him because Rocky would not, and because her last "dance partner broke his arms and legs in some horrible accident". Freckle, meanwhile, is surprised to find out that Rocky plays the violin in a speakeasy, and is not a vigilante. Due to the incoming pig farmers, Rocky begins leading them out of the club. In "Killjoy", after Mitzi asks whether the Treasury Department is really raiding Lackadaisy in response to Zib's excuse while ushering out the patrons, Rocky replies that it is "something more ornery" and states that he will "fix it". Upon being asked why the pig farmers are breaking into Lackadaisy in "Malarkey", Rocky feigns amnesia, though Freckle "helpfully" refreshes his memory.
While trying to keep Mitzi from doing so, Rocky accidentally reveals the location of himself, Mitzi, Freckle and Zib while attempting to hide from the pig farmers in "Skedaddle". With the others he flees to the storeroom, which serves as Lackadaisy's armory, only to learn in "Deadlock" that the guns are missing. When the pig farmers locate Rocky and the others, Rocky takes Mitzi's gun despite an apparent ineptitude with firearms, feeling obligated to try to fix things. Freckle in turn takes the gun from Rocky in "Doolally" and shoots Avery, possibly killing him, before dropping the gun, taking Avery's Tommy gun and charging off, laughing maniacally. Though he initially appears surprised by the turn of events, Rocky proudly calls Freckle "my cousin", and Mitzi states that Freckle has Rocky's laugh.
While retreating from Freckle, Avril and Emery run into Mitzi, Rocky and Zib in "Whizbang". Zib throws Mitzi's handgun at Emery with negligible effect, and Avril in turn opens fire on them, causing Mitzi and Zib to flee in one direction while Rocky retreats in the other direction. Avril pursues Rocky, but is shot in "Rhetoric" shortly after showing a lack of interest in discussing matters with Rocky. "Quicklime" reveals that Freckle was the shooter. In response to Mitzi's questioning whether Freckle behaves in such a manner frequently, Rocky notes that Freckle has done this, "once or twice...though the, uh, unmitigated carnage is a recent development". Rocky proceeds to apologize for his actions that precipitated the farmers' invasion, but Mitzi gently brushes it off and asks Rocky to make sure that Freckle does not "do something silly...like turn himself in". Rocky pursues the now-sane and fleeing Freckle, who is unmoved by Rocky's offer of a sandwich. Rocky catches up with Freckle on the street outside Little Daisy in "Palaver", but Rocky's words appear to have little impact; when he asks Freckle to consider what Nina would do to both of them Freckle only grows more agitated before departing in his car. Rocky passes out on the street shortly thereafter. He regains consciousness in "Rendezvous" and inadvertently sees Mitzi and Wick kissing in Little Daisy before departing.
The next morning, in "Daybreak", Rocky drives to Freckle and Nina's house. Nina tells him that Freckle is in bed. After Nina tells him to wake Freckle up so that he can find work, Rocky states that he has found a job for Freckle.
Rocky goes into Freckle's bedroom in "Pinstripes", finding him almost catatonic after the events of the previous evening. Unlike Freckle, Rocky largely brushes off what occurred, though he figures out that Freckle's crazy side is the reason why he was booted from the police academy, and tells Freckle that he can get him a job. Rocky leaves Freckle's bedroom only to encounter Nina in "Somersault". Rocky claims that Freckle will be working as an "errand boy of sorts" at Little Daisy. His glib responses to her questions result in her pushing him down the stairs, after which she tells him that if he really loves Freckle he will keep Freckle out of trouble.
In "Memento", Rocky and Freckle are driving together while Freckle is questioning Rocky about his new job. Rocky initially tells Freckle that he will just be escorting Rocky, though he shortly admits that Freckle will be carrying a gun. When Freckle states that he is not sure that is a good idea, Rocky adds that "in theory" Freckle will never use the gun; he just needs to look intimidating. After Rocky inadvertently reveals that he keeps playing cards in the sleeves of his jacket, he gives Freckle a Three of Clubs, stating that it is Freckle's "lucky number", as it is the number of people Freckle killed the prior evening.
Rocky brings Freckle to meet Mitzi in "Proposition", and Mitzi asks them if they would like lunch. They subsequently accompany Mitzi to her meeting with Asa in "Luncheon". Though she seems to hope that Rocky and Freckle's presence will impress Asa, their conduct proves less than convincing. In "Heartstrings", Rocky greets Mordecai excitedly, referring to him as "Ol'Serious Face" and stating that he has heard stories about Mordecai. Mordecai is less than impressed.
With Mitzi and Freckle, Rocky returns to their car in "Interloper". Mitzi notes en route that they need to start reclaiming their former trade routes rather than doing business with Kehoe, and that she owes someone a visit. Rocky opens the door for Mitzi, not realizing that Mordecai is already sitting in the vehicle. He is less than enthused when Mitzi agrees to speak with Mordecai privately.
In "Haggersnash", Rocky notices that Mitzi has tears in her eyes from her discussion with Mordecai and asks whether he should intervene, but Mitzi tells him to keep his distance. Mitzi asks Rocky to drive her to Wick's, then proceed to Viktor's home in order to learn from him where Lackadaisy can obtain liquor quickly.
Rocky and Freckle escort Mitzi to Wick's home in "Retinue". While Wick is friendly to them, Rocky is less than impressed, and when Wick goes to his garage to retrieve his Roadster, Rocky surprises him, holding up a tire iron, though only to startle Wick. Rocky proceeds to strongly suggest to Wick in "Balderdash" that Mitzi was involved with Atlas's death; if not directly, then through a third party.
While Mitzi and Wick go to Forest Park, Rocky and Freckle go to the college that Ivy is attending in "Academia". Rocky is upset that Wick was not deterred from seeing Mitzi by their encounter, and fears that if Wick becomes involved with Lackadaisy then Rocky will become superfluous. After Freckle asks why they are on the college grounds, Rocky states that he plans to pick up Ivy in order to use her as a shield against Viktor. Upon seeing Rocky, Ivy assaults him in "Bee-line", blaming him for the prior night's events. She is mollified when Rocky explains his reason for coming to her, and tells him that Viktor is "pretty listless"; she visited him earlier, left the radio tuned to "something cheerful" and intends to bring him copies of Vogue and Vanity Fair. Rocky, Ivy and Freckle reach Viktor's apartment in "Deadeye", though Viktor is not happy to see them. In "Dotage", their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Mrs. Bapka, Viktor's upstairs neighbor, who desires Viktor's assistance with her sink. When he is unable to get to his feet due to a coughing fit related to his injuries, Freckle and Ivy go in his place at Rocky's suggestion. Left alone with Viktor, Rocky asks, in "Defiance", where he can obtain quality alcohol, and Viktor directs him to Defiance.
In "Gallivant", Ivy runs into Rocky and Freckle while she is storming away from Viktor's apartment. Rocky offers her a lift, and after pausing to kiss Freckle and stating that, "we'll do it again", she sits between them. They arrive at Freckle's house in "Homestead", where Ivy horrifies Rocky and Freckle by asking whether she can meet Freckle's mother. Rocky gives Freckle a "friendly reminder" on a piece of paper, and tells him that he will see Freckle before midnight the following day, and that Freckle should bring a long coat, "for the heat". Rocky then asks Ivy whether she would like to go "location scouting" with him, an offer she happily accepts. In "Correspondence", it is revealed that Rocky's "friendly reminder" is a comic depicting Nina killing Rocky after learning the truth of his and Freckle's activities, with the moral, "Remember to always lie".
In "Begorra", Rocky and Ivy travel to a farm located in Defiance, and locate a spring house filled with bottles of liquor. Ivy asks Rocky how she can get Freckle to talk to her. Rocky suggests sports, but when Ivy indicates that she would prefer a more profound conversation, Rocky warns her against it. While they are peering in at the booze a source of illumination comes up from behind them, drawing Ivy's attention. The light is revealed to be from the headlamps of a hearse that is facing them in "Corpse-lights". After Rocky and Ivy provide explanations for their presence at the spring house that apparently fail to satisfy whomever's within the hearse, it moves closer to them. Ivy and Rocky throw a soda bottle and a rock at the front of the hearse, causing little apparent damage. The hearse then charges forward, prompting Ivy and Rocky to run for a nearby cornfield. In "Dead-run" the hearse pursues them through the corn. Rocky and Ivy try to hide in a barn to escape the hearse, only to realize the barn already has a car-sized hole in it. They next place a sickle mower across the barn door opening, expecting it will flatten the hearse's tires, but the sickle mower becomes lodged beneath the hearse as it continues to pursue them. Rocky and Ivy flee into another cornfield in "Haymaker", but trip over an irrigation pipe. The pursuing hearse severs the pipe and hits Rocky. He sustains a head injury shortly before a piece of the pipe lands on him along with the sickle mower. When Ivy finds him he has a visible head wound and is unconscious beneath the pipe and mower.
In "Pancakes", Tracy explains that Rocky's obsession with pancakes is due to a congential abnormality affecting his metabolism. As a child Rocky is shown getting an alarming enough sugar buzz that Nina puts him outside and informs Freckle that they will be eating oatmeal for breakfast going forward. Rocky is apparently still on his sugar high that evening, and has been occupying himself digging a large hole and misplacing his clothes. Tracy notes that Rocky may have been bitten by a radioactive pancake or fallen into a vat of toxic pancake batter.
Rocky appears in "Butterfly", in which Freckle's aversion to butterflies is explained; when they were children, Rocky killed a butterfly that had landed on Freckle's face. In "Bee-Glue", set in 1914, Rocky is shown trying to glue flapjacks to Freckle's head to see whether bees will approach him. Rocky's experiment goes awry when he falls and the glue lands on him and he attracts bees.
When Rocky and Freckle were children, Nina spoke to them of the glories of St. Patrick's Day, as shown in "Shenanigans". She then promptly disabused them of such fanciful notions and brought them to church.
Rocky is shown as being willing to hammer a nail into his own head for money in "Tiny Narratives (Q&A)".
In "Tannenbaum", Rocky encounters Viktor wearing a fuzzy green sweater, a red tie, a green-and-yellow hat and a yellow scarf. He launches into an impromptu performance of "O Tannenbaum". Viktor rewards him appropriately.
In "Trouble Boys", Rocky, while trying to impress Mitzi by holding a gun, accidentally shoots the corner of his left ear. In "Tiddlywinks", Mitzi asks Rocky why Calvin is nicknamed "Freckle". Rocky explains that when they were children he shaved the fur off of Freckle's face, and he had a single freckle.
In "Jughands", Rocky approaches Zib for assistance after having gotten both of his hands suck in jugs.
Appearance and personality
Rocky's height is approximately 5'6". In "Overtime", Wick's doorman says that Rocky looks like "some scruffy excuse for a hoodlum". Rocky's left ear is slightly damaged because he inadvertently shot it himself in "Trouble Boys". As a child, Nina brought Rocky to church; it is unknown whether he is still religious. Despite his appearance and other less-than-virtuous aspects, Rocky appears to have some sense of chivalry, viewing Mitzi as a damsel-in-distress and referring to her and Ivy by their surnames ("Miss Pepper").
Though Rocky's behavior could oftentimes charitably be described as eccentric, he does appear to have some level of education, as evidenced by his familiarity with Albert Einstein's theories. As shown in "Dithyramb", he is also something of a poet. Rocky also seems to have some experience as a cheat at cards, as he is shown keeping numerous playing cards up his jacket sleeve in "Memento".
Rocky has exhibited signs that he may not be entirely sane. He was once willing to hammer a nail into his own head for money, and has managed to trap both of his hands in jugs. While destroying the pig farm, Rocky laughs in a crazy manner, further evidence that he may not be very well-adjusted. Additionally he has an interest in pancakes that appears to border on the obsessive. Tracy theorizes that this may be due to a congential abnormality that affects his metabolism, though she alternately postulates that Rocky perhaps fell into a vat of toxic pancake batter as a child, or perhaps was bitten by a radioactive pancake. In "Tiny Narratives (Q&A)", Tracy states that Rocky is, "naturally upbeat, but...there's also a sort of frantic desperation" behind his actions.
Rocky seems less than willing to be entirely honest regarding his misdeeds. In "Malarkey", when Mitzi asks what the pig farmers are so angry about, Rocky feigns amnesia regarding his destruction of their farm. Still, when his mistakes can no longer be ignored Rocky is responsible enough to try to fix them, as evidenced in "Deadlock" when he takes Mitzi's gun, intending to protect the others. He later apologizes to Mitzi for his actions.
"Palaver" establishes that at some point in the past Rocky had to leave St. Louis, and is loathe to leave again because the Lackadaisy crew tolerates him. It is implied that Nina played a role in his needing to leave.
Rocky's letters to Freckle
As revealed in "Correspondence", between 1921 and 1924 Rocky sent a number of letters to Freckle that Freckle keeps in a box under his bed. Several of them can be seen in part. Information established in the letters is as follows:
- July 1921 - Rocky is writing from his uncle's home in Kankakee. He is earning money by tending the grounds. He anticipates learning to drive a tractor.
- October 21, 1921 - Rocky is riding the Missouri Pacific Railroad, heading further west despite some initial reluctance.
- January 30, 1922 - Rocky is working as a grill cook. He has caught on fire twice.
- Undated (prior to summer) - Rocky is in central Oklahoma. He wishes he could visit St. Louis during the summer. Rocky asks whether Freckle has seen Rocky's father, as Rocky's letters to him have gone unacknowledged.
- Undated - Rocky has joined a circus as a roustabout. While parts of this letter are obscured, it appears that a hostler suggested that Rocky might be able to work as an escape artist. In "Scrapbook" Rocky is shown with the other members of the circus, tied up apparently as part of his act.
- Undated - Rocky sends a letter to Freckle. There is a return address of Custer, South Dakota, though no street information is provided. Freckle's address appears to be 1116 North Benton Avenue, St. Charles, Missouri.
- March 10, 1923 - Much of this letter is obscured. It contains the word "...rthday". There are also the words, "asn't all", "your fault", and, "anyway".
- August, 1923 - The circus "went south". It appears that Rocky may have received a fiddle from a hobo on a train near the Dakotas, though a number of wasps were inside it. Rocky can play Irish Reel music and Vivaldi. Rocky used to play a fiddle in the parlor of the McMurray House during Christmas.
- April 22, 1924 - Though the date is visible, the bulk of the remainder of this letter is obscured.
Rocky is Freckle's cousin, and the two of them apparently were together a great deal as children prior to Rocky being booted out of his home.. Rocky is indirectly responsible for Freckle developing acrobatic skill; it was a survival mechanism he was forced to develop. "Correspondence" reveals that Rocky sent a number of letters to Freckle between 1921 and 1924. Freckle has kept them in a box located under his bed. Nina states in "Somersault" that Freckle is, "the only one in all o'creation who'd follow you". Though they seem to have a close relationship, Rocky does not understand Freckle's interest in enforcing the law, and deceives Freckle into believing that he is a vigilante in "Scathefire". Rocky later claims to Freckle that what is lawful is not always what is right, though Freckle does not appear entirely convinced. Though Rocky shows little qualms about deceiving Freckle, he does cut Ivy off when she suggests that he bring Freckle to Lackadaisy, after having earlier deflected Freckle's questions concerning Rocky's involvement with the band. In "Wishy-washy", Freckle is surprised to learn that Rocky is not a vigiliante, and instead works in a speakeasy, while Rocky is not happy to see that Ivy has brought Freckle to Lackadaisy.
Rocky seems caught off-guard by Freckle's sudden turn into a gun-wielding maniac in "Doolally", though he proudly proclaims Freckle, "my cousin", and Mitzi observes that Freckle has Rocky's laugh. Rocky later notes to Mitzi that Freckle has gone crazy "once or twice" before, though he adds that the "unmitigated carnage is a recent development". He is able to figure out that Freckle was dismissed from the police academy because of his behavioral issues in "Pinstripes". When Ivy asks Rocky how she can get Freckle to talk to her, Rocky advises Ivy against prying too deeply into Freckle's psyche.
Rocky appears to consider Mitzi something of a damsel in distress, stating to Viktor in "Spaghetti", that he does not know how she would survive if Rocky quit. This is more pronounced in "Bunny-box", where he refers to her as "Lady Dionysus" and waxes poetic.
Rocky is familiar with Mordecai from before the latter left Lackadaisy. In "Heartstrings", Mordecai recognizes Rocky as being a member of the band. Rocky calls Mordecai, "Ol'Serious Face" and claims to have heard stories about him. Mordecai is less than impressed by Rocky.
Rocky asks Mitzi whether he should confront Mordecai after he notices that her conversation with him has brought her to tears in "Haggersnash", but Mitzi tells him to keep his distance.
Nina is Rocky's aunt. While she is willing to do his laundry, there appears to be little love lost between them. In "Somersault", Nina essentially informs Rocky that Freckle is the only person who cares for him; as far as she is concerned Rocky has "already squandered (his) second chances". Nina is the only person to refer to Rocky by his real first name, Roark, though this may be due to other characters not being aware of Rocky's real name.
Rocky has not been fully honest with Nina regarding his occupation; she believes he plays the violin for a living. When Rocky decides to involve Freckle with Lackadaisy, he similarly lies to Nina, claiming he will be working as an errand boy for Little Daisy.
Viktor appears to have some problems tolerating Rocky, likely in part due to Rocky's excitability and verbosity. In "Formaldehyde", Rocky refers to Viktor as a, "surly Slovak", and Mitzi sends Ivy with Rocky to talk to Viktor, believing Viktor will consequently be less inclined to throttle Rocky. Viktor does not believe Rocky has a future in the booze-running business due to Rocky's lack of muscle, though Rocky considers himself Viktor's protégé.. Rocky calls Viktor, "Vinegar", in "Defiance", but this appears to be an exception rather than a common occurrence.
As of "Overture", Rocky and Wick are familiar with each other. Rocky appears to enjoy making Wick feel uncomfortable. By "Haggersnash", after Rocky has seen Wick and Mitzi kissing, his feelings have escalated to expressing his disdain for Wick in front of Mitzi and Freckle.
Zib seems to have a faintly paternal interest in Rocky, though not necessarily moreso than with regards to the other members of the band. He tries to learn why Rocky has begun working for Mitzi, and later advises him not to become too involved with it.
Tracy has worked with Damon Bard, a sculptor to develop a maquette of Rocky. Reference material can be seen in "Preview 0020", while an in-progress version can be seen at "Rocky Sculpt by Damon Bard" and the final can be seen at "Rocky Sculpt Painted".
"After-party" depicts Freckle sleeping against a couch with empty liquor bottles nearby. Mitzi is resting on Rocky atop the couch. This would seem to be an unlikely development given the course of the comic so far. Similarly, Wick was to be or will be on better terms with Rocky and Freckle, as shown in "Balderdash", in which Rocky teases Wick about associating with Mitzi given the rumors concerning her involvement in Atlas's demise, and "Baby Vamp", in which the three comment upon a passing woman.
In "Preview 0011", Rocky encounters Tracy after she has tried to interview Viktor regarding his missing eye. "Reader Question: Rocky" reveals Rocky's reaction to being told that there might be women who like him. "Reader Question: Viktor" suggests that if Rocky was to present a check for a large amount of money to Viktor in an annoying fashion, Viktor would kill Rocky with the check.
- ^ a b c "Reciprocity"
- ^ "Formaldehyde"
- ^ "Preview 0020"
- ^ "Shenanigans"
- ^ "Spaghetti"
- ^ a b c "Surreption"
- ^ "Quantentheorie"
- ^ "Tiny Narratives (Q&A)"
- ^ "Jughands"
- ^ "Schadenfreude"
- ^ "Luncheon"
- ^ "Pancakes"
- ^ a b "Quicklime"
- ^ "Doolally"
- ^ "Pinstripes"
- ^ "Bee-Glue"
- ^ "Brouhaha"
- ^ "Begorra"
- ^ "Somersault"
- ^ "Spaghetti"
- ^ "Defiance"
- ^ "Rendezvous"
- ^ "Hallelujah"
- ^ "Kibitz"