Saturday, December 02, 2006

CRUISIN’ LIFE’S FASTER LANE PART 5: FIRE!


CRUISIN’ LIFE’S FASTER LANE
PART 5: FIRE!

This strip remains one of my favorites to date.

Unlike many of the Life In The Faster Lane strips, this one is not based upon true life events. Although, there was that time when I was ten or eleven when I caught the kitchen on fire, but that’s a story for another time. Like maybe when I can tell it without making myself look like a total idiot.

So don’t look for it any time in the near future.

When I started drawing these one-panel gag strips back in 1992, I was managing a fast food restaurant. I decided that the best way to work myself into the stories was to have R.O.’s son work at a restaurant. One of the little oddities of doing these things is you cannot use existing franchises. That is why R.O. works for U. S. Automotive instead of General Motors where my Dad works. GM also had an issue with the first R.O. strip that showed him sleeping on the job.

For that very reason, R.O.’s son, the comic strip version of me, worked for a restaurant called Jimmy Joes. Jimmy Joes was originally conceived as the hangout. The place R.O. and his buddies would hang out after work and generally bring friends into the strips for R.O. But it could also be a place that R.O. and Honey might like to go and eat out. As they did in at least one strip.

When Keeping Up With Kids (more on the magazine coming in a future installment) picked up the strip, the tone shifted to more family gags so Jimmy Joes fell by the wayside. As did my character. I found that adding another son to the mix did not really add much to the strip. I always assume that, much like in real life, my character is the one watching from the sidelines and drawing the strips.

Time for a conceit. I don’t look anything like my cartoon counterpart. I guess you could say he’s my ideal self. A lot thinner, especially. I probably would have named him Edward (my middle name) if I had gotten around to using him again. Or maybe simply called him "Junior."

One note about the titling of the strip. When the strip first moved to the web, I changed the title from R.O. to Life In The Faster Lane Starring R.O. As I have begun focusing on Honey and Mel’s roles I have dropped the "starring R.O." part. I think it works better. Eventually, as we work through the strips you will notice that little rider start to fall away.

This was one of those gags that just came out of the blue and remains one of my personal favorites.

Keep on cruisin’

Bobby Nash
Bethlehem, GA

2 comments:

Ron Fortier said...

Having seen this one earlier, I can happily state, it's also one of my personal favorites. Without showing the fire, you completely allow us to see it in our imagination...and the boss' reaction!! Super.

Bobby Nash said...

Thanks, Ron. The doodle that lead to this strip was actually drawn while I was slaving away managing said fast food restaurant. This was one of the earliest opportunities where R.O. was on the outside of the joke looking in. Rare in those days, but over the years as Honey and Mel took center stage more often R.O. was sometimes onthe periphery of the joke.

Oh, and that boss was a thinner, more handsome version of me. This was, of course before I fired myself from the cast (see episode 2's commentary).

Bobby