From Least I Could Do by Ryan Sohmer & Lar deSouza
One of the first daily comics to grab the attenion of adolescent Joe was Least I Could Do, written by Ryan Sohmer. The strip started in 2003 and was originally drawn by Trevor Adams, followed soon by Chad W. M. Porter, who drew for over a year. Then Lar deSouza began illustrating for Sohmer’s stories, which they had already been doing for another daily called In Other News.
The main character of the strip is “the most confident man in the world” Rayne Summers, who is loosely (I assume very loosely) based on Sohmer himself. I do not think his attempts at laying every woman he encounters are based in reality, one need only examine his attempts to use Lavalife to its fullest or to have a threesome, but Rayne's addiction to Red Bull and susbsequent heart attack first happened to Sohmer in real life.
The decision in year four of the strip to have the cast of characters age regularly was the best indication that writer & illustrator wanted to keep it fresh. A later decision to no longer censor the swearing with grawlix was a step in the right direction too, I think. Storylines had so far revolved around the day-to-day sexual exploits of the emotionally immature Rayne and his more balanced friends Issa, Mick, John & Noel. All gags included lewd humour, thoughts on sexual practice, and the satirical examination of mid-20s life. From there, well, things haven’t really changed much – but the characters are growing as we read. If Rayne is the yin, then his best friend Noel is the yang. Noel has also shared the life path of Sohmer a little more realistically (see marriage and becoming a parent) although he first showed up as a sounding board for Rayne’s sillier ideas. From his life experiences, Sohmer also created a series of notes on being a first-time parent called The Bear that is beautifully painted by Becky Dreistadt.
I’ve been reading LICD for over a decade even though I was beat to the punch by a funny observation made in 2005 that I thought I had come up with. Although I do not relate to Rayne’s sexuality anymore, his thoughts on the sorry state of the news and the energy industry are worth discussing. His tenure as a VP at IDS Enterprises also allow his rather large disposable income to play a large part in his funny misadventures.
Sohmer and deSouza also created Looking For Group, a fantasy webcomic based in a WoW-themed world. LICD updates seven times a week (with LICD Beginnings on Sundays, focused on an eight-year-old Rayne) and LFG updates five times. All these are published in collections under the umbrella of Blind Ferret Entertainment, a multi-media company co-founded by Sohmer. This is the webcomic success story of seriously driven artists.
Oh, yeah – Sohmer also runs a comic store in Montreal called The Fourth Wall. Oh, yeah – he also created The Gutters, a comics industry parody. So several dailies, a publishing house, a team of employees and a comic book shoppe?
Hard work does pay off.