Sunday, December 10, 2006
CRUISIN’ LIFE’S FASTER LANE
PART 6: WHAT’S A FASTER LANE?
One of the questions I hear most often is how did I come up with the name Life In The Faster Lane. For the curious among you, here now is the answer to that question. In my usual fashion, it will be a longwinded answer so sit back and get comfortable.
Comic conventions are a big part of my job as a writer. I do various shows throughout the year. I enjoy the cons, although they can be exhausting. These shows are a great way to get out there and meet people whose work you enjoy, introduce yourself to people with similar interests, and meet your own fans. I highly encourage anyone interested to check them out. You’ll have a good time, but wear sensible shoes.
Side note. One of the most humbling moments for me was when I realized I had fans. Totally blew my mind when people started seeking my table out with books in hand. It’s a great and scary feeling. One I would not trade for the world.
Now back to our story already in progress.
One of the worst things I find as a creator is having an empty table at a con. I was writing comics and had a few issues, sure. But I really didn’t have much that was all ages friendly. Then an idea hit me.
R.O. and the gang had been running in Keeping Up With Kids for awhile. I had several strips completed and ready to go. I cobbled together a book of some of my favorite R.O. strips and with a photocopier, printer, and the help of artist Jeff Austin and his computer (I was not yet a computer owner at the time) I put together the first R.O. collection in limited number. Just enough for the convention. That was in February 2002, which I remember thanks to me dating the file, not my memory.
Jeff also graciously colored the cover for me, for which he did an amazing job.
As for how R.O. became Life In The Faster Lane, this is where it happened.
The strip I used for that first collected edition cover shows R.O. pushing his out of commission truck down a country road while Mel, still in the back, shouts at him, “Can’t this thing go any faster?” From there I knew I had to work faster in to the title of the book. After several attempts to be clever, I came up with Life In The Faster Lane as the title of the collection.
When it came time to change the name, that was at the top of my list.
After those books were gone, I did another collection, this time under the Life In The Faster Lane name, taking what I learned doing the first and making what I hoped was a better product.
With everything in place I decided for the new collected edition I would use the same cover, which had worked so well in the past. I did change the gag however. “Push us faster so we’ll look cool!” which I admit I borrowed and altered from a Kelly Bundy line on Married With Children.
And there you have it. That’s how a little-known strip called R.O. morphed into a little-known strip called Life In The Faster Lane.
Keep on cruisin’