Friday, November 24, 2006



Recycling is not only good for the environment, but it’s a proven, useful tool in the life of this cartoonist.

Take this week’s offering, a two-for-one special.

In 1992 I was pumping out R.O. strips quickly. As I mentioned previously, once I sink my teeth into an idea it’s hard for me to let it go. As an avid comic collector, this one was more the writer/artist’s point of view than the character’s, but it made for a cute strip.

Cut to 2005 and the deadline for Keeping Up With Kids had come around again, as it did every month. What to do? What to do? I was drawing a blank, which happens more often than I care to admit but usually only when I wait until the last minute to do the strip.

Which also happens more often than I care to admit.

The process I use in creating a Life In The Faster Lane happens one of two ways. I either have the joke in place and have to figure out the drawing or I have the idea for the drawing and have to figure out the punch line.

The latter is what happened here.

I had drawn R.O. standing in line at the bank. After several failed jokes, I dropped in an oldie from the beginning of the run. "You think you have money problems? Try having a kid who collects comic books." It worked perfectly and there’s no reason R.O. couldn’t make the same comment twice. Anyone who collects comics can, I’m sure, relate to this strip.

And thus, Recyclo-Bob, as my friend Jeff has been wont to call me, saves the day again.

Eventually, we’ll see more instances where I recycled art with a new gag. Which usually has something to do with deadlines and waiting until the last minute.

Hmm… I’m beginning to sense a pattern.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA

Saturday, November 18, 2006



"It’s just a truck."

This strip is loosely based on a real life event, the punch line of which remains one of my family’s favorite in-jokes to this day.

It’s just… funny.

I had just purchased my first brand new vehicle, straight off the lot, a charcoal gray Chevy S-10 truck. I drove it home, proud as the proverbial peacock. That was the extent of driving I had done in my new vehicle. From the dealership to home.

It’s just a short drive.

So the family comes out to give it the once over, including my grandmother who was visiting us that week. My brother was riding his bicycle when he decided to see what all the fuss was about. In his enthusiasm, he lost his balance and gouged a very large, very deep gash in the driver’s side door of my brand new truck. My. Brand. New. Truck.

It’s just... an accident.

My blood boiled, steam rising off the top of my head. My eyes might have turned red and shot fire. Reports vary.

It’s just... an exaggeration.

My brother, wisely, ran for the hills.

It’s just a figure of speech. We had no hills.

My Dad stepped in, as Dad’s are wont to do in situations such as these. Strategically placing himself between the target of my wrath and myself, he calmly said four little words that would stick with me for years, and which inspired this week’s strip.

"It’s just a truck."

While the old man’s words of wisdom did nothing to improve my foul mood at the time, I can now, almost fifteen years later, look back on it and see that R.O. was indeed correct. The truck was just an object. Once the anger cooled, we all looked back on it and laughed.

It’s just... an object.

I didn’t laugh as much (read: at all) roughly two and a half years later when the truck was stolen, but that’s another story for another time.

It’s just... a court date. Or five.

Although it would be only a few years later before I got the satisfaction of reminding my Father of his "just a truck" comment, when a similar incident befell his truck, which is also a tale for another time.

It’s just... a teaser.

My family and I have gotten more mileage out of the "it’s just a…" saying than I ever got out of that little gray S-10. We still laugh about it today. Even when I purchased a new vehicle a few weeks back, the first words out of my brother’s mouth were, you guessed it, "it’s just a…"

It’s just... a family tradition.

And I got one of our favorite Life In The Faster Lane strips out of the deal.

It’s just... a bonus.

Like most episodes of Life In The Faster Lane, this strip echoed real life. It seems as though most of the better strips in the run are those based on true events, such as this one, though sometimes exaggerated or slightly altered as it was here when I changed the implement of destruction from a bicycle to a baseball. I also changed the damaged area from the door to the back window. Sometimes accurate portrayals had to give way to serving the punch line.

Hey, it’s just... a comic strip.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA


PART 3.5: IT’S JUST… continues

"It’s just a truck."

Well, they say timing is everything.

Just a week and a half after originally running the "It’s just a truck" comic and commentary on-line, something happened. With the permission of the real R.O., my Dad [who you can see for the first time in real life in one of the photos], I share this.

A very large, rather ugly buzzard and my Dad’s truck had an ill-fated meeting this week. Thankfully, R.O. wasn’t hurt, which was my first question. Is he okay?"" When I found out he was unharmed, the next words out of my mouth to my Mom were, "remind him it’s just a truck."

It amazes me how several people whom I showed the photos had the same response I did.
R.O.’s reply to all this, you ask? Eat more chicken. R.O.’s not a fan of poultry.

And it’s just... a truck.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA

Friday, November 10, 2006


If you're enjoying seeing R.O. and company, please check out our official Life In The Faster Lane merchandise at We would love to see pictures of you wearing and/or displaying R.O. proudly.

You can also celebrate the one year anniversary of Bobby's debut novel Evil Ways at

In August 2005, Bobby Nash's debut novel, Evil Ways hit stands. Now, to celebrate one full year in print, Bobby is offering Evil Ways merchandise at And that's just the tip of the iceburg. Be on the look out for Bobby at conventions for the Evil Ways shot glass. A must for every collection.

You can read more about Evil Ways as well as Bobby's other projectsa at and

Tuesday, November 07, 2006



Now that I had the character of R.O. Nudell firmly in place, I doodled out several strips with R.O. just being R.O. Some where funny, others not so much. I’ll leave those types of discussions to you, the reader. As I mentioned before, I was really into the character and I worked up all manner of one-panel gags. Eventually, I knew that we would need to meet R.O.’s family.

That lead to this strip, also from 1992. An aside here, for those who strive for accuracy. Aside from the first strip, I honestly do not remember in what order the strips were drawn. There were some days where I did multiple strips one right after the other. For me, R.O. & co. fall into two eras. The original look and the looks the characters sport today. As you can see on the introduction page, the characters are a bit more angular and less frumpy.

There is also the grease-pencil and non-grease-pencil eras. As you can see in this strip, as well as last week’s, I used a China Marker (or grease-pencil) for backgrounds. On the originals it looked great. In print, not so much. A valuable lesson I picked up in those early days.

The strip featured above serves as a nice introduction to Honey and Melvin Nudell. Being the dutiful creator, I approached my mother and brother in the same manner I had R.O. My brother didn’t seem to really care one way or the other, which made his inclusion easy. More about him in a minute. On the other hand, Mom was less than thrilled to become a comic strip character. That posed a bit of a problem.

I was left with three options when it came to including R.O.’s wife, who was not my mother. One, I could make R.O. a single parent. Two, I could have him married, but never see his wife on panel (which some television shows have managed to pull of pretty well). Or three, I’d just invent a wife close enough to Mom, yet different enough so as not to upset her. Again, I was living at home at the time and keeping the people who put a roof over my head in a good mood was high on my priority list.

A new Mom firmly created, the hard part was giving her a name. In one of those fits of perceived brilliance you get when desperation sits in, I got it. I’ll keep her name a secret. When R.O. talks to her he calls her Honey.

It’s perfect.

It stuck.

Having called her Honey so many times, the name stuck. It was as good a name as any, I suppose. Eventually, Mom came around. One day she says to me, "That doesn’t look anything like me." At that point I slowly began molding Honey into what we see today, a nice amalgam of made up Mom and flesh and blood Mom.

I kept the name though. By then it had stuck.

As for the character of Melvin Nudell, that one was easy. It’s my brother Wesley’s middle name.

He hates it.

I thought it was perfect.

I used it.

It stuck.

[You'll notice a theme shaping here]

We’re still on speaking terms so it obviously didn’t bother him too much. Plus, the Mel (I eventually shortened it) you see in LITFL is no longer the same as him. For one, the comic characters don’t age. He’s still a twelve year old in the strips. I may have to age him one of these days so I can throw in some driving humor.

At one point I had considered giving R.O. and Honey a fictional daughter, but quickly abandoned the idea because she really did not add much to the strip. As for the comic strip version of me, he shows up once or twice before I realized that he too added nothing to the strip. Basically, I fired myself. Although, I will admit I drew myself much thinner than reality.

Okay, so now we’ve met the cast. Next time we’ll look at more of the early strips so we can wonder, what was he thinking? together.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA

Saturday, November 04, 2006



Well, if you’re reading this commentary and the accompanying strip, you fall into one of three categories. First, you are from Georgia and have picked up a copy of Keeping Up With Kids magazine and the names R.O., Honey, and Melvin Nudell are familiar to you. Second, you’ve read one of the comics or novels I’ve written and followed a link here. Or third, you just got here and are wondering just what the heck a Life In The Faster Lane is.

I’m going to assume most of you fall into that third category. Here then is how it all started.
The year was 1992. I don’t remember the month. If it wasn’t for the fact that I dated the strip when I drew it I doubt I would accurately remember the year. Oh well, no sense dwelling on my terminal CRS. I doubt I’d remember anyway.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. 1992. The University of Georgia in Athens, GA has a wonderful continuing education program. I’ve taken a few classes there. I probably should take this opportunity to thank the fine folks at UGA. Two of the projects I’ve received most notoriety for happened there. That’s where I began writing my debut novel, Evil Ways (still on sale, says the self-promoting huckster) and it is where Life In The Faster Lane was born.

Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. The comic strip that would come to be LITFL was originally called R.O. after the strip’s main character, but that’s another story for another commentary. The cartooning course was taught by local Athens cartoonist, Bill Staton. Bill’s class was certainly entertaining and, at the same time, very informative. We met once a week for eight weeks, I believe. One of our assignments was to come up with a one-panel comic strip.

Now, I could have easily worked up a one-off and been done with it. I have trouble doing a one-off of anything, however. As a creator, I usually immerse myself in a project. I know the characters backward and forward, up and down, side to side, almost to the point of obsession. The first thing I had to do was to come up with a character.

Then it hit me. I already knew a perfect character.

My Dad is one of the most easily likeable people on the planet. He has a great jovial nature and he’s quick with a funny comment. R.O. was a perfect name for my new character, plus it helped me define his look (which changed radically from what we see in the first few strips). Now, R.O. is not my Dad’s real name. Nor is it his initials. Somehow, someway, in a story I’ll probably never know all the details of, the nickname of R.O. Nudell was hung on him at his job working for General Motors. I asked Dad’s permission before going ahead with it. Hey, I’m no fool. I was still living at home at the time so making fun of the landlord was not the best of ideas unless he was cool with it.

Thankfully, he was.

With character firmly in place, I set off to draw my first strip. It shows R.O. in a precarious situation at his job working for USA Motors. It was a quick and easy strip done for class.
Afterward, I quickly dove in and drew more.

As I re-release these classic strips every wek or so, we’ll get into a little more of the history of Life In The Faster Lane. There’s a lot of good stuff coming. How I named the other characters, how I went from R.O. to Life In The Faster Lane, and I’ll answer the age old question; how much of this stuff is real? As an aside, I doubt the real life R.O. ever slept on the assembly line. Or maybe he just never got caught. We’ll probably never know.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA


Life In The Faster Lane is a comic strip written and drawn by me, Bobby Nash. The strip ran for twelve years in a Georgia family magazine called Keeping Up With Kids, which also ran twelve years, ending in July 2006.

In Cruisin' the Faster Lane I'll take a look back at the strips that defined R.O., Honey, and Melvin Nudell and what I can remember about the genesis of the strips. If commentary is not you thing, then just check in and look at the strips. Hopefully, they'll brighten your day.

The fun is just beginning.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA