Frank’s Lunch Break

Welcome to another Louie and Bruce comic strip feature from 1981, never published at this website until now. The top 3 throwaway panels (see my last post about that) introduce and set up the problem, which carries through the strip to the end: Frank forgot his lunch.

I was influenced by cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s early Doonesbury comic strip (the college years) before his strip became political and painfully dull to read. In those early Doonesbury strips, someone turning into an instant werewolf would have happened. Those unexpected plot twists are what attracted me to the Doonesbury characters. I love that kind of humor and I understand its limitations and why Trudeau left it. I simply didn’t enjoy the political soap opera path he took.

Anyway, an unusual feature I made to my strip was extending my characters beyond their panels. I used this in an earlier strip when I shortened the dialogue from the wordy “I’ll use my handkerchief to clean off the dirt” and didn’t want to redraw the dialogue balloon. I didn’t like that the panel cut off the characters’ feet, so I extended them beyond the panel.

An interesting side note: I based these characters on people I knew and worked with at a sawmill during 1981. Someone there actually ate bacon, onion and cranberry sauce sandwiches. (He also drank them down with Stroh’s beer, but only after work.) I changed the order of the sandwich’s ingredients to fit the dialogue balloon. To date, I’ve never committed myself to try one of those sandwiches. By the way, it was best to place the cranberry sauce between thick walls of bacon and onion to prevent the bread from becoming soggy. I suggested using Canadian bacon and was told that Canadian bacon is really ham. You don’t mess with proven recipes.

Another sandwich side note is about Louie’s homemade peanut butter. One of my fellow sawmill employees used to bring homemade peanut butter in Mason jars that he gave away. The peanut butter was delicious but gritty instead of smooth and creamy. An older employee got some of the grits caught under the plate of his dentures, so he swished some root beer in his mouth to rid the annoying grits. “It was like an explosion in there,” he told me. From that, an idea for a Louie and Bruce comic strip was born. The rest is history.

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