Yes, I'm calling today the 25th Anniversary of Tom the Dancing Bug.
A quarter of a century ago today(ish), a young, fresh-faced cartoonist showed up at the hallowed offices of the legendary weekly newspaper New York Perspectives with nothing but a dream and a picture of murderous fetus.
Upon seeing the work and assessing the talent of the young man, the editor of New York Perspectives uttered the phrase that would launch a comic strip: "Um, yeah, okay."
That very first Tom the Dancing Bug, entitled "Bad Fetus," can be seen here; I've re-published it today on the weekly Classic feature.
I want to thank my readers, because without people reading the comic… well, it could certainly have existed, but it would have been more of a sad, outsider-art kind of thing, with county authorities discovering in the home of a deceased loner thousands elaborate drawings and stories about australopithecines, time-travelers, nap-taking aliens and politicians.
And of course I thank all the editors, art directors and publishers who really said far more than "Um, yeah, okay." They've taken the leap of faith in me by presenting to their readers a comic strip whose only premise is: whatever Ruben Bollilng can come up with every week. I truly appreciate, and am grateful for, that.
BUT MOST TO THE POINT, I want to the thank the stalwart members of the proud and mighty INNER HIVE, who not only substantially support Tom the Dancing Bug, they have essentially become part of it.
I'm having this 25th Anniversary day serve as the culmination of my HIVE DRIVE, to encourage as many Tom the Dancing Bug readers to join me by subscribing to the INNER HIVE. Subscribers not only get exclusive access to comics before they are published online, they also get exclusive access to contests, bonus comics and commentary (insightful and/or stupid) on each comic.
SO, please do take this moment to JOIN THE INNER HIVE BY CLICKING HERE.
HERE is more information about the INNER HIVE.
HERE is a sample INNER HIVE mailing, and HERE is another.
HERE is a GIF of a llama.
AND BELOW are quotes and testimonials from a few satisfied INNER HIVE members.
"I used to spend 20 dollars a year on TOM THE DANCING BUG collections… Happy to support him and pass the word." -Neil Gaiman
"My only argument with Ruben B. here is his apologetic tone for asking you to pay money for early access to his very good comics —- that is to say, something that YOU LIKE AND WANT. DO NOT APOLOGIZE, RUBEN." -John Hodgman
"I signed up the second I read about it. It's a lot of fun. I enjoy hearing Ruben tell the story behind each of his comics." -Mark Frauenfelder
"Ruben Bolling is a comic genius, a clever artist, a true gentleman, a pseudonym, and and important ally in the struggle against deep dish pizza." -Peter Sagal
To comment, please use facebook or twitter (#tomthedancingbug @rubenbolling).