October 01, 2014

COMIC: GREAT MOMENTS IN WEATHEROLOGY SCIENCE

This week's comic: GREAT MOMENTS IN WEATHEROLOGY SCIENCE.

 

In which intrepid congressman Steve Stockman uses SCIENCE and a GLASS OF WATER to prove that we have nothing to fear from global warming.

 

1207ckTEASER-weatherology-science

 

This comic owes a great debt of gratitude to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, our nation's best source of news.

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Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Daily Kos.  (coming)

Click here to read on GoComics.  (coming) 

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib.  (coming) 



September 29, 2014

RECOMMONDAY

I'm reading Fantagraphics' compilation book Bomb Run, which collects Harvey Kurtzman / John Severin EC war comics stories from the early 1950s (some of which were inked by Bill Elder).

 

Bomb run

 

First, a few quibbles.  When it comes to reprinted comics, I'm a fan of keeping them as close to the format in which they were originally published as possible.  I like it when the entire comic book is republished, with the full cover followed by stories, exactly as it first appeared on the newstands.  I like seeing the context of the stories in the larger comic book, and I think the comic book covers were an integral part of the reading experience as intended by the creators.  (I also admit I get something of a collector's thrill when I buy one of these and can say that I now own certain coveted, and sequentially numbered comic book issues.)

 

The other approach is to reprint stories, not comic books.  Fantagraphics has taken that approach here, stripping the John Severin-pencilled stories out of issues of the comic books Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat of 1951 - 1953, and collecting them.  Further, these stories were originally published in color, and here they are presented in black and white.

 

Even though Fantagraphics has taken the exact opposite approach from the comic book reprint philosophy I prefer, this is a beautifully crafted book, showcasing some truly amazing stories.  Kurtzman's  tales will surprise a lot of readers who may think that early 50s war comics would have been simplistic shoot-em-ups.  These are complex, touching, psychologically rich stories with moral ambiguity.

 

And Severin, whose humor work I always found a notch below his stellar contemporaries, absolutely shines here.  His careful and methodical drawings are perfect for portraying the planes, tanks and war machinery, but he also depicts the soldiers with clarity and great emotion.

 

Espcially when they're dying.  There is a lot of dying here, and Severin, perhaps with help from Kurtzman's layout-sketches, draws these soldiers, suddenly gunned down or caught in an explosion, with a poignant brilliance.  While alive, his figures can seem stiff, but in the throes of death, he draws them in naturalistic, realistic poses that make them come... alive.

 

IMG_4053 IMG_4054

Compare the stiff figures of living soldiers above to the dramatic pose of the dying soldier below.

 

And despite my objection that it was the expectation and intention of the creators that the comics be printed in color, I didn't even mind much that they are published here in black and white, because I do admit it highlights the linework.

 

In short, while I've got some reservations about the presentation, which I admit is beautifully done, these are some of the best comics I've ever read.

 

Recommondayed!

 

Click here to buy Bomb Run.

 

 

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To comment, please use facebook or twitter (#tomthedancingbug @rubenbolling).

 

 



September 28, 2014

COUNTER-EARTH DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Seems like a good time to run this comic from 2011...

 

1028cTEMP counter-earth - education

 

 

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To comment, please use facebook or twitter (#tomthedancingbug @rubenbolling).



September 24, 2014

COMIC: Lucky Ducky, in "Unemployment Is Not a Bug - It's a Feature!"

Lucky Ducky, in "Unemployment Is Not a Bug -- It's a Feature!"

 

1206ckTEASER-lucky-ducky---unemployed

 

Just a bit of commentary here, a shortened version of what I sent out as part of the INNER HIVE mailing for this comic.

 

I certainly hope that the comic stands on its own, but I think interested readers might want to know that this comic was inspired by two simultaneous news stories from last week.

 

1.  John Boehner bemoaned the fact that the long-term unemployed are lazy malingerers who don't even want jobs.

 

 

2.  The President of the Dallas Fed, one Richard Fisher, said that the current unemployment rate is on the verge of being too low, which will introduce our economy to worrisome upward wage pressure and inflation.

 

 

Forget that the data do not support Boehner's view of the unemployed at all, and leave aside Fisher's incredible view that even after years of wage stagnation, we have to take policy steps to thwart job creation and potential wage increases.  This is an example of two policy makers at the top levels using mutually exclusive rationales to use their levers to tilt the economy in favor of the upper class at the expense of the lower class.  As I wrote to the INNER HIVE:

 

The appearance of these two stories at the same time brought into stark relief the hypocrisy of these two positions which are intellectually incompatible, and yet are central to the right wing recession mythos.  We shouldn't have policies to generate jobs both because the lazy unemployed won't even take them, and because when they take them, they'll create economic conditions that will be detrimental to the wealthy.

 

And so, Enter:  Lucky Ducky.

 

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Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Daily Kos.  

Click here to read on GoComics. 

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib.  

 

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To comment, please use facebook or twitter (#tomthedancingbug @rubenbolling).



September 20, 2014

SPX 2014

Derf's blog post about the great fun we all had at the Small Press Expo this year.  Here.

 

Here's his selfie with me...

 

1902968_10152366983979007_7536392314691662217_n

 

...and with me and some up-and-coming cartoonist who seemed pretty talented -- I think he'll go far.

 

10615503_10152366983929007_7245322604346820420_n

 

(Also at that table were Tom Tomorrow and Shannon Wheeler.)



COMIC: SUPER-FUN-PAK COMIX

This week's comic - SUPER-FUN-PAK COMIX:

 

1205ckTEASER-sfpc110-phil-collins

 

featuring:

PHIL COLLINS;

DOUG, THE CARTOON CHARACTER WHO REFUSES TO SAY OR DO ANYTHING;

PERCIVAL DUNWOODY, IDIOT TIME TRAVELER FROM 1909;

SHPLOURKS;

NOT-CONSCIOUS GILBERT;

HEY KIDS!  BUY THESE KEEN METAPHORS!;

AMANDA THE ANIMAL THAT IS NOT A PANDA;

CAROUSEL OF NERDS;

PAUL & HIS PAINFUL, GIANT BUNIONS;

CAPTAIN GREEN HERO-MAN LAD;

AND MUCH, MUCH LESS!!

 

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Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Daily Kos.  

Click here to read on GoComics. 

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib. 

 



COMIC: seat reclines

DISPATCH FROM THE FRONT LINES OF THE WAR ON SEAT RECLINES

 

1204ckTEASER-front-lines-of-seat-reclines

 

Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Daily Kos.  

Click here to read on GoComics. 

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib.  



September 10, 2014

OFFICE HOURS: SPX WASHINGTON DC / BETHESDA, MD

Hey, I will be at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Md. this weekend.  Not tabling or paneling; just hanging.  

 

If any of you are coming to SPX -- or even if you're not attending SPX, but you are in the greater Bethesda metropolitan area -- stop by my Office Hours, Saturday at 3:00pm (til apx. 4:00pm), in the hotel bar/restaurant On the Rocks.  Talking, sketching, signing books, drinking beers, kissing babies, giving out freebies, whatever.



This is not an SPX event; I'm just telling readers when I'm ducking out for a beverage.



Check my Twitter or Facebook feeds for any last-minute instructions / changes in plans.

 

Ontherocks

 


Saturday, September 13, 3:00pm

On the Rocks, Bethesda North Marriott Hotel

5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD

 

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UPDATE:  THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME. What a blast; I will do more of these!!



September 03, 2014

COMIC: A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS

 

ATTENTION, AFRICAN AMERICANS!  KINDLY READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROPER BEHAVIOR:

 

1203ckTEASER-attention-african-americans

 

Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Daily Kos.  

Click here to read on GoComics. 

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib.  

 

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I've got to say that I take no satirical glee in this week's comic; in fact, it pains me to publish it.

 

I have no problem painting politicians with a broad brush.  There are few enough of them with honorable intentions, and they do little enough for the public good, that I'll happily disparage them all to make a point.


But I know and have come in contact with police officers who are brave and professional, and genuinely devote their lives to keeping us safe, and I hate to impugn them with commentary on the horrible behavior among their number.


Unfortunately, comics is not the medium for measured, balanced points of view.  And while we don't know exactly what happened to Michael Brown, the aftermath in Ferguson, and the circumstances of so many other cases, certainly demand the harshest criticism and most strident calls for reform.

 

-Rb



September 02, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: THE EMU CLUB ADVENTURES

I'm really proud and excited that on April 7, Andrews McMeel Publishers will release the first installment of my new series of kids' chapter books: ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD: AN EMU CLUB ADVENTURE (#1) which I wrote and illustrated.

 

Emu club cover final inks stuart closeup

 

It's for an audience very different from the readership of Tom the Dancing Bug (an audience that is far more demanding and discerning), but I hope my comic strip readers will come along for the ride, both for the kids in their lives and for themselves.  As hard as I tried, I couldn't avoid infusing the book with a certain Bolling-esque sensibility.

 

I had so much damn darn fun (I'm now a children's book author!) writing and producing this book.  I love creating Tom the Dancing Bug (and will continue to do so, of course).  But I was so ready for an additional, very different challenge, and this book was my dream project for that.

 

The INNER HIVE has already (exclusively) seen an early version of the cover, and I'll be releasing more information to the HIVE, and eventually here, as we go along.

 

I spoke about the book with Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder and the great cartoonist Gabrielle Bell when I guest-co-hosted the latest Gweek podcast, which was just posted. (The book is discussed at the very beginning and at the very end of the podcast.)

Gweek-logo-100

 

I CAN'T WAIT for this book to come out, and to share it with everyone!

 

 

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To comment, please use facebook or twitter (#tomthedancingbug @rubenbolling).



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