The Ratt Race

Once Upon A Time…

I was a student at Sinclair Community College in downtown Dayton OH. I didn’t really want to go to college, mind you. But I got some very strong encouragement from my mother that it would probably be in my best interest. So, I went. I chose the Visual Communications program (basically the early version of Graphic Design) though what I really wanted to do was make animations. Of course, at the time, there were no programs for it in the area I lived and really did not want to run off to Philadelphia or Columbus to enter an art university. I just wasn’t that driven. Probably why I’m merely a warehouse worker now and not some famous animator, artist, or writer anywhere other than my own mind.

However, I did have some fun while I was there at the college. I ended up learning a lot more about my artistic proclivities and came up with a comic strip that I called ‘The Ratt Race’. I then went down to the student paper office and pitched my idea for having it printed in the school paper. They liked the concept, gave me my own mailbox, and before you know it I was making comics. Then, they wanted me to start attending meetings. Meetings that occurred every day during the middle of one of my classes. So, I couldn’t attend. As consequence, I lost the gig.

Even so, I got maybe eight or nine strips out of the time. Perhaps I should pick that back up and see about publishing them in a real newspaper? Phhht. I’m sure. We’ll see. But, it didn’t matter at the time anyway. I was having serious relationship problems, my grades were dropping, and I just didn’t care about school anymore (my girlfriend at the time attended Sinclair as well and things were getting a little… conflictual when I was there, so I threw in the towel!).

Therefore, I quit.

Yet, I wanted to see if I could share all of those strips here on this one page. Just because. I hope they’ll be in order but I don’t think it’s necessary, mind you. I’m sure if you’ve been following my blog you’ve noted that my Story Time With Tim series features these strips in the header image. However, those images are clipped. Therefore, here they all are with short tidbits about what they meant to me! Hope you enjoy, dear reader!

Up first, my Welcome to the Ratt Race intro. I thought I was being clever by using that old adage of being part of the rat race. Sure, it’s funny. But it’s basic. And, I threw in actual rat racers. Ha! Uh hmmm. Or is it just me?
This I believe was the second comic strip I drew. However, it was actually the first one I created. I have an older, shittier version of this strip that I drew that gave me the idea to take the concept to the school paper to begin with. That one was much looser looking than this giving it a very amateurish quality. Like something a child would draw. Not that this is high quality art or anything but certainly better than the original. Also, it’s inherently funny that a woman would choose to use a massive gun to kill a pair of rodents. Maybe it’s just me though.
This was the third one I drew up. I was trying to be artsier with it and so gave this one some shadowing. Silly me. It worked, don’t get me wrong, but it’s probably over complicating a stupid and easy concept. I believe this is the only one I gave this extra detail to. The others, I just drew up to make my deadlines for submission easier.
This one was just generic, honestly. I was running behind on school work and I was almost late for my latest submission to make the printers for the paper. So, this one I drew up real quick and it definitely feels rushed. Still playing off the conceit of the strip but also erroneously saying ‘mouse problems’ instead of rat problems. However, maybe the dude’s wife just has a fetish for destructive behavior against rodents. I mean, who uses dynamite on rodents?
This one I still find amusing. Stupid, but amusing. You ever have your laundry get stuck together due to static because you forgot to use a fabric sheet? I have. And I had one sock once that just refused to peel off the pants leg. So, this strip was all about that moment. Also, a Star Trek reference. How can you go wrong?
I still love this one. I drew it up after watching an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s a rip off, I know. But I laughed so hard at the joke, I just had to. There’s one moment where the movie voice describing a scientific experiment says, ‘There’s one most dangerous word in nuclear science.’ And one of the characters in the front row watching goes, ‘Oops.’ It had me dying. I loved it. So, this strip exists because of that. You’re welcome.
This one was a joke between myself and my girlfriend’s (at the time) brother. I was talking about ancient death fortune cookies as we were eating some Chinese food. We’d been opening them up yet receiving just cheap generic crap. He says, ‘they couldn’t make any of those today. It’s a holiday.’ And it cracked me up. So I drew this up in honor of that insane comment. Originally, the guy holding his hand to his forehead said, ‘Man… man!’ But it was hard to fit into the image and just wasn’t that funny to begin with so I left it out.
Lastly, we have this glorious image that I created not for the strip but for a T-shirt I was making in my screen printing class. We had to come up with an image to put on this shirts and I developed this. I actually had this printed on a shirt but I have no idea what happened to that shirt but, you know, I just thought it’d be a funny thing to do. Yes, it’s juvenile humor, but what can I say? I’m immature.

Okay, there was one last strip I had made up but didn’t fully flesh it out because, by the point of putting it together, I’d been let go from the paper. I was having trouble making my deadlines and school work was just getting to be too much. My grades were slipping and my angst towards my then girlfriend, the guys she was banging, and my general unhappiness with life, drove me to drop out shortly before even trying to finish the strip.

In it, there was Walker, Texas Ranger. He was holding some free weights in both hands. He had the cowboy hat on his head and a skin tight leotard on his torso. The caption read: ‘Go, Go, Power Walker’ suggesting he was a Power Ranger (<–Get it?) going on a Power Walk. I should finish that strip and make some new ones available sometime. That would have been my ninth Ratt Race comic which, well, is kind of awesome given the time I was living in. But, what are you gonna do?

Anyhow, there you go. All eight of my finished Ratt Race strips. Hope you found this trip down memory lane enjoyable. I know I did. Come back soon for some more bloggin’ fun! See you all soon!

~Timothy S Purvis

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