On the Fastrack
On the Fastrack is a comic strip drawn by Bill Holbrook about the curious characters employed at the fictional Fastrack, Inc. Launched March 19, 1984, it was initially distributed by King Features Syndicate to 50 newspapers worldwide, later increasing to 75 papers. King Features offers this summary of the strip:
- On the Fastrack chronicles the comic misadventures at Fastrack Inc., a wry mirror of the contemporary work scene. Ruthless boss Rose Trellis runs Fastrack, Inc. and thrives in an atmosphere of corporate political intrigue and back-stabbing... The strip is sprinkled with office romance, computer technology mayhem and lovesick moat monsters.
For the first 18 years of its publication, the comic characters aged very slowly, but on early 2002, Holbrook explicitly switched to a real time format, like its companion strip Safe Havens, which shares some of its characters.
Characters and story
- Rose Trellis — a corporate leader with a seldom seen charitable side.
- Wendy Rommel Welding — Rose’s assistant who does much of the day-to-day work of running Fastrack. She recently earned a Ph.D.
- Art Welding — Wendy’s husband, who “works” (if you can call it that) in the computer room.
- Rusty and Patina Welding, their children, who lead an online existence their parents are only dimly aware of, battling the Y2K Bug and assisting Santa Claus with their computer skills.
- Bud Spore, the head of Fastrack’s Information Technology Center, a stereotypical computer geek. On April 25, 2010, he started his own blog, titled Spore Sample in which he comments on various aspects of Fastrack as well as his family life with:
- His wife, Chelonia, the daughter of Rose.
- Their daughter, Cookie, who “takes after her [maternal] grandmother in all ways, save that she’s too young to have read Machiavelli.”
- Dethany Dendrobia, Wendy's assistant, a 25-year-old Goth who is defined by her conscientious work ethic, intelligence, talent and mainly her ability to confound other's expectations based on her appearance. Originally named Bethany, she changed her name when she turned 21.
- Ada Counter — A midwife whose former career was in computers and who now consults at Fastrack. She goes out with Chelonia’s twin brother Mark Domain.
- The Moat Monster — A dragon-like creature that was spawned by Fastrack’s toxic waste dump. Currently in charge of corporate security. The Moat Monster is capable of shapeshifting into the form of an attractive human woman, who uses the alias, “Candy Moatmonster.” She has an ongoing cyberspace love affair with an IRS agent (who knows her true form).
- Fistula Breech — Company accountant in her late thirties who strongly dislikes Dethany. She was one of the earliest bloggers, writing one in 1993 while at college.
- Don Argus — The safety manager at Fastrack. His daughter Samantha is the principal character in Safe Havens, and she works summers at Fastrack assisting Bud Spore.
- Philby Fenster — Rose's ex-husband (and Chelonia’s father) is a hacker and convicted embezzler whose hacking skills are so formidable that he managed to hack his way out of prison on more than one occasion (in a continuing story arc beginning in late August, 2007, he did so using an abacus).
- Thornton Saguaro — Married to Rose, he is the CEO of another company. He is as flinty as Rose Trellis. After the two met she asked him to be a member of her board of directors, where he provides the challenge that she needs. He set up a charitable foundation so that they could have something to work on together. He has been described as politically liberal.
The strip was originally about Bob Shirt, Melody Acapella, Melody’s daughter Laurel, Art Welding, Bud Spore (their immediate supervisor, then age 17) and Rose. Bob and Melody still appear occasionally, since Melody runs the company day care center where Patina and Rusty spend their after-school hours.
- On the Fastrack: In a Buncha Easy Lessons
- Freshly Dethany
- Dethany: The Corporate Goth
- Dethany Exhumed!
- The Best Christmas Ever
- Tomb Raiding for Fun and Profit
- Surviving Y2K - Outlast, Outwit, Outsource
- Spore 2.0