Rats! Episode 02 – AAAAAUGH!

This was exactly what happened when my parents first abandoned dropped me off at Virginia Tech in 1987. Mom and Dad helped me get everything unpacked and into my room and then they turned me over to this crazed bunch of psychopaths that I was pretty sure had every intention of killing me slowly via that form of torture known as the push-up. And yeah, I was pretty scared about that.

This was not the first time away from home for me. I’d been to various summer camps and had even spent six weeks in Ireland as part of a study abroad program when I was sixteen. This was, however, the first time I’d been left in a situation I did not want to be in. Camp? Sure, I could do that. Ireland? I jumped at the chance. Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets? Hells no, I did not want to join that freaky outfit!

Except that I did, because back then I could not argue with my Dad and win. He was determined that I take ROTC at whatever school I went to. Little did I know that Virginia Tech had this mini-military academy stuck in the middle of the student body, and that I could not, COULD NOT, take ROTC without joining said mini-military academy. Oh, was my Dad overjoyed to hear this! Oh, did I so want to be run over by a bus before the start of my first semester of school.

But that didn’t happen and so away I went to Tech, where my parents and I were pleasantly greeted by a group of smiling, friendly upper class-men. And you better believe the nice act stopped the moment my mom and dad got into the car and drove away.

Again, my life back then was painfully funny. Emphasis on the painful part.

What’s painful now though is to look at the original cartoons. For the life of me, I have no frikkin’ clue why the Collegiate Times ran these damn things. They must have been desperate for content is all I can think of. I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up both this week’s and last week’s cartoons – adding proper borders, erasing stray marks, redoing the text on the computer, etc. Here’s what the original cartoon looks like…

Pretty scary, huh? I knew so little about drawing comic strips, it never even occurred to me to draw borders all the way around each panel. I just did those little crossbars things and left it at that. Duh. As for the lettering? Well, this comic strip was drawn so long ago, we didn’t have scanners to get the artwork into the computer, so adding the lettering in a graphics program would have been a moot point.

Regardless of how badly I drew these first cartoons, the CT ran them, for which I am forever grateful. Now more than 20 years later, I get to clean them up and run them again. I hope you enjoy.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. But wait! What company were you in? Did you finish your rat year? Whooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaa Rat!
    Bob M

  2. Bob,

    I was Hotel-91, one of the last groups to come through before the Corps started mixing up the classes between companies. Used to be you’d stay in the company you started in as a rat, but that eventually changed, with cadets being moved around after a year or so. Not sure how they do it now.

    And oh yes, I finished my rat year. I was commissioned in the US Army Reserve in May, 1991.

    Enjoy the cartoons!


  3. Great stuff, Helen. I’m amazed at how well you could draw and create while under the pressure of being in ROTC… Maybe stress does bring out the creative side in us all? Hmm… 😉

  4. Celine,

    Most of the pressure happened the first year, when I was a rat, and I didn’t draw the cartoon that year. In fact, I didn’t start until my junior year. I drew two strips a week for nine months of the year for four years. So I’ve got quite a supply of comics to show here now. I just happened to dig them out over the holidays and thought, “Man, if webcomics had existed when I drew these, this might have been really popular! Waaaaait a minute…” And so here they are now, as a webcomic 😉

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