Least I Could Do

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    One of the three webcomics from the creative team of Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza (the others being Looking for Group and The Gutters). The award-winning Least I Could Do is mainly a gag-based comic strip (although every month it features a Story Arc or two that last about a week) about the misadventures of a group of longtime 20-something geek friends living in the city. The stories mainly revolve around love, sex, modern life and all things geeky from Star Wars to Star Trek to The Lord of the Rings to comic books and back again.

    The main character is the incredibly promiscuous Rayne, who, if you were to judge lecherousness on a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest a human could possibly be, would probably hit somewhere around a twenty-three. Throw in a lot of Idiot Hero, a few dashes of Adult Child (with a few hints of Psychopathic Manchild), and a lot of Jerkass and you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Rayne, although there are many occasions where he shows greater "depths" behind the intentionally and unapologetically shallow face he presents to the world... or at least, Sohmer desperately tries to write his Self Insert as having more depth than a puddle of spilled Zima.

    The rest of the main cast consists of:

    • Issa, one of the few women to ever refuse Rayne's advances (and who has done so since at least their teens) or that Rayne has expressed deeper feelings for, and perhaps the closest thing he has to a confidante. (For example, she knows about some heartbreaks a young Rayne went through that no one else does). Can be a voice of reason, although she's not above joining in on the antics of the others or using her sex appeal to manipulate Rayne. Has been a neglected character in recent years.
    • John, Rayne's oldest friend and a near polar opposite in views of love and dating. He serves as Rayne's most direct Foil, but just as Rayne's commitment phobia is examined, so are John's issues with emotional neediness and his determination to find a wife or see anyone who comes along as a potential long-term relationship, regardless of their suitability for that.
    • Noel, a Deadpan Snarker who tends to fall somewhere between Rayne and John in views on life and dating. Although added onto the strip several years into its run, he long supplanted John's role as Rayne's foil while also becoming Rayne's primary wingman.
    • Mick, the overweight, tech-savvy and good-natured friend who has the misfortune of being Rayne's punching bag. He is perhaps the most socially awkward of the group, but although Mick's inability to pick up women has frequently been a source of jokes, he nonetheless has had the best luck in healthy and committed relationships.

    Sohmer is trying to get a LICD cartoon pilot off the ground. He asked $75,000 (half the projected budget, with him footing the other half) from his fans; by the projected deadline, around 1,200 backers had donated well over $100,000.

    You can find the comic at http://www.leasticoulddo.com/.

    Tropes used in Least I Could Do include:
    • Adult Child: Rayne, Rayne, and Rayne. Did I mention Rayne?
    • Adult Fear: Rayne's secretary panics when it seems like Noel's son ate some of Rayne's prescription drugs (turns out the kid was eating blue M&M's, which anyone would mistake for medication). Rayne once faced the possibility of suffering from clinical depression that was giving him stomach pains. And there's his underlying fear that he will end up a lonely old man.
    • Affectionate Parody: Star Wars, Sandra Boynton, Laugh-In, superhero comics, oh, so many
    • Arc Words/Ironic Echo: "The rapid flick."
    • Art Evolution: Sohmer picked up artists who were progressively more skilled, and said artists' also styles evolved over time.
      • The comic had three artists prior to Desouza. Chad Porter and Trevor Adams quit on their own accord (citing personal issues with Sohmer and dislike of his growing misogyny). J. Horsley III was also involved, but he left before the comic was published, believing himself not to be prolific enough for a webcomic.
      • Although it leaves out Lar's own personal Art Evolution, this strip nicely shows the difference in artists for LICD. The anime-style Rayne is from the very first artist, Marcus, from before the series had started or had a title yet. Not much is known about Marcus as of this time.
    • Art Shift: Least I Could Do and its weekly offshoot "Least I Could Do: Beginnings" are in two markedly different styles.
    • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Rayne by a long shot. Has been lampshaded by himself.
    • Author Avatar: Rayne Summers has an awful lot in common with Ryan Sohmer. Even their names are pretty similar (Rayne = Ryan, Summers = Sohmer). Also, Rayne's Jerkass brother Eric looks like Sohmer, (and is the character Sohmer has claimed represents him) while Harry The Homeless Artist was modeled on deSouza, who was homeless for a time before he began collaborating with Sohmer.
    • Author Filibuster: A not-uncommon criticism, especially regarding the infamous rant against the various things the writer doesn't like about the rest of the webcomics industry.
    • Balls of Steel:
    • Bedmate Reveal:
      • Rayne woke up one day from a bad hangover to find a naked Cyndi in his bed.
      • And when he wakes up in this bed, well... let's just say that it add questions about Rayne's sexuality. He seems a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing, though. In Rayne's words, "Not the sandwich I wanted to be the meat of".
          • I think this truly removes any doubts about how far Rayne is willing to go.
      • And the strip's original bedmate reveal. Ouch.
    • Black Hole Sue: Rayne, heavily (Rayne Summers, Ryan Sohmer). Solves any problem (think of a time when Rayne DIDN'T come to the rescue), can get with any woman (except Issa, but it's canon that he can get head within 5 minutes at a bar). None of his actions have any significant consequences (being in prison for the 5th time, got out the next day and hardly mentioned it in a passing remark), at least no significant NEGATIVE consequences to him. Rich, powerful, and the ability to have people like him no matter how many times he does things that anger them. Everyone who slights him, he gets the better of later. People who don't like him for one reason or another usually have an arc where they figure out that he's better than that. The list goes on, all pointing towards an author-insert that dominates the story, and is seemingly perfect in every way.
    • Brick Joke: In this comic, Rayne says to Noel that he would desecrate Noel's wedding bed on his wedding night. In this strip he doesn't...in the night, at least.
    • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Pretty much explicitly stated in this strip.
    • But You Screw One Goat!: Discussed, invoked, and subverted.
    • Calling the Old Man Out: Mick is doing this to his mother over her place in the murder of his father/her husband.
    • Captain Obvious: In one series of strips, Rayne is asked to arbitrate a dispute between IDS' union and the management. He asks what they want: the unions want a 4% pay increase, the management is offering 2%. After a facial Flat What and a near-facepalm, Rayne asks if either of them thought to compromise at 3%. Their response is "I don't follow you."
    • Characterization Marches On: Rayne starts as an very idiotic Lovable Sex Maniac. As the series progress, he gets nerdier and nerdier, and far more "intelligent. The nerdiness is mostly just a reflection of him becoming an ever more blatant Self Insert. If anything, his inability to ever do anything "wrong" has made him worse.
    • Cloudcuckoolander: Rayne. Let's just use this strip as a STARTING example and go from there.
    • Contest Winner Cameo: Every Valentine's Day there's a contest where the winner gets to go on a date with a character of their choosing (and yes, several of them have gotten busy). Rayne has only gotten two dates in seven years; one was with a gay man, and the other was a near-disaster[1]; the rest has been a pretty even distribution of cast members (John, Mick, Issa, Eric, Cyndi and Jumpmaster Julie have all been picked once).
    • Cut Himself Shaving: "I fell down some stairs." "No he didn't. I beat the shit out of him with a smile on my face.."
    • Deadpan Snarker
    • Distaff Counterpart: One Halloween series of strips introduces a girl who is apparently Rayne's (the header refers to her as "Summer Rains"), but she never appeared after that single arc.
    • Fan Service: The art and filler strips from the past are full of it.
    • 419 Scam: Rayne gets an e-mail with this sort of scam in this strip and decides to go to Nigeria to meet his princess and claim his inheritance.
    • Filler Strips: Desouza doesn't do this all that often, but Porter did, drawing mostly naked women or poking fun at the fans' attraction to Issa.
    • Five-Man Band:
    • Freud Was Right: Well, Rayne would say so anyway. "Friends come and go, but sex... sex is forever!"
    • Friends with Benefits: Rayne and Cyndi, sometimes.
    • Future Loser: Subverted. Rayne is shown a vision of how he ends up as an old man. It shows him sitting by a fireplace, alone, with just a servant tending him. But then the story is more fleshed out and we see Rayne is stupidly well-off, and he shows nothing but the utmost hospitality and generosity to his old friends, their families, and his own niece. About the only thing that hints at it being played "straight" is Rayne never had any wife or kids of his own, but then again, probably didn't want either one anyway.
    • Geeks
    • Good Angel, Bad Angel: John's shoulder devil is Darth Vader. His angel? Chewbacca.[2]
    • The Gump: Rayne, through some creative tennis-ball dodging, was apparently responsible for The Matrix series.
    • Handsome Lech: Rayne, as discussed above.
    • "Happy Ending" Massage: Discussed; Rayne's sent to a massage therapist, and the masseur isn't what he expected it to be (read: a guy named Rudy). After it's over, he comments that Rudy "made [Rayne] feel like a girl. With your big strong hands."

    Rayne: ...no sucky-sucky?
    Rudy: No sucky-sucky.

    1. She was German, and the guys tricked him into dressing as a Nazi; only Katie's intervention kept her from walking out
    2. One of them anyway. Another seemed to be Jar-Jar.