Alien Invasion by Ruben Bolling
ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD: AN EMU CLUB ADVENTURE! by Ruben Bolling Other Purchasing Options via Andrews McMeel Publishing


May 29, 2015

BOOKCON

New York City:

 

Tomorrow, Saturday May 30, at 11am, I'll be at Bookcon (Javits Center) signing/sketching in copies of my new book ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD.  Come by!  I can't wait to meet you!

 

Andrews McMeel booth 2540



May 28, 2015

TOM THE DANCING BUG'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY - THE HIVE DRIVE

In celebration of Tom the Dancing Bug's 25th Anniversary, I'm launching the HIVE DRIVE, which will run now through June 11.  If you've enjoyed the comic strip and want to enhance your enjoyment by becoming part of the Tom the Dancing Bug team, please take this time to join the INNER HIVE.

 
 
By joining, you not only support the strip, you get each week's comic strip emailed to you at least a day before it's published, with additional content, comics, backstory, drafts, etc.  You essentially become PART of the comic strip, helping to make it happen and receiving insider information and status.
 
As part of the HIVE DRIVE, I'm publishing this week's mailing, sent out to INNER HIVE members on Tuesday (the Louis comic wasn't published until yesterday, the Classic comic was published on gocomics.com today).  Each mailing is different; this particular one happens to focus on the backstory of this week's "Classic" Tom the Dancing Bug.
 
It's been my honor and privilege to produce Tom the Dancing Bug for you, my valued readers, for 25 years, and I hope you'll join me as I continue my comic strip exploration of australopithecines, giant wombats, middle school, impoverished ducks, two-fisted judges, omnipotent superheroes, and whatever else I can find to fill up my weekly rectangle of comics...
 
SAMPLE INNER HIVE MAILING (from 5/26/15):
 
************************
 

TOM THE DANCING BUG
5/26/15

WHY IS EVERYONE CALLING HIM LOUIS "FLASH" MALTBY??

IN THIS INNER HIVE MAILING:

1.  Louis's ORIGINAL attempted nickname, almost an embarrassing error; and

2.  A really interesting "Classic" Tom the Dancing Bug, from 1993, never before reprinted, in which the strip revealed an ACTUAL potentially illegal practice on David Letterman's The Late Show.  (Really!) (DON'T MISS THIS!)

--

Originally, the nickname Louis was trying to anoint himself in this week's comic was not Flash, but Cap.

I was halfway through the pencils on this strip, using the nickname Cap, when my son happened to come in to my office and look over my shoulder.  He said, "Is this a crossover reference to Chagrin Falls?"

I didn't know what he was talking about, and he reminded me that the name of the son in the Smythe family from my "Chagrin Falls" storyline is named Cap!

Apparently my imagination is so limited, I can only think of one fictional nickname.  And my memory is so limited, I can't recall when I've already used it for a fairly major character.

I had to quickly think of another "cool" nickname (I found a website that lists NHL nicknames), and then replace all the Caps with Flashes.  And instead of a kid asking Louis, "Why would anyone call you Cap? You aren't the captain of ANYTHING," he asks about the TV show.

Whew.  It's a good thing someone is paying attention to this stuff… and wanders into my office at exactly the right time.

Here are my Cap-filled notes for this comic:



--

This week's upcoming "Classic" comic (to be published on Thursday on gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug) came to mind because of the retirement of David Letterman.  He used to do a segment called "Brush with Greatness," and I guess this is Tom the Dancing Bug's brush with Dave.

It comes to us from 1993, when Letterman had just moved from his Late Night show on NBC to a newly refurbished theater and new show, The Late Show, on CBS.  And, apparently, when Tom the Dancing Bug was a crusading, muckraking journalistic comic strip.  

At the time, this logo of Marlboro cigarettes, a stylized picture of their iconic cowboy, was absolutely ubiquitous on advertisements around the world.



And, as an AVID watcher (and HUGE fan) of Letterman's show, I noticed something odd about his brand new set...



I was able to find a couple of shots of Letterman's 1993 set (from YouTube) to show you guys the actual evidence:







I tried to keep things fun and lighthearted with the Larry "Bud" Melman punchline (a reference to an old character from the show), but I did genuinely think something was going on here.

I loved Letterman, but I was sure he himself wasn't behind any of this, and I actually contacted a couple of media outlets.  I spoke to The New York Times's advertising columnist, and he called back saying he wouldn't write about this because he'd spoken to their late night talk show expert, who thought The Late Show and CBS would never circumvent the law like this.  I guess he was convinced this was a purely artistic expression of a New York cityscape, and it was a coincidence that some images happened to be a boon to Philip Morris, one of the biggest advertisers in the country.

But New York Magazine did run a piece on my comic strip, which unfortunately I cannot find online to show you guys.

I believe that within a few weeks (couple of months?), these logos mysteriously disappeared in a subtle set re-design.

BUT THE STORY CONTINUES NEXT WEEK!!

A couple of weeks after this comic appeared, I noticed ANOTHER instance of these tobacco advertising shenanigans, involving ANOTHER beloved (by the country, and by me) comedy star, and I did ANOTHER comic about it, in which Tom the Dancing Bug revealed that the conspiracy goes deeper and deeper!  (Really! I was surprised to look back and see how substantive I got.)

Stay tuned for the second installment in this series, next week!

--
 
************************
 
So that is a sample email to the INNER HIVE, with comics in advance of publication and commentary, drafts, etc.
 
Note - Another reason to join now:  I've just cut ties with Amazon Payments, which caused problems with my subscribers, so the INNER HIVE no longer uses that system.  (I now use CampaignZee and Stripe, which will be much better.)
 
 
 
-
 

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. Good luck, Ruben!" -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. I am happy to pledge to him my sacred honor..."  -Peter Sagal
 
-

----

 

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



May 27, 2015

ON THE NIB

NIB

 

Hey, Tom the Dancing Bug ran regularly on Medium.com's comic site, The Nib, for about a year and a half, but I'm told that due to changes at Medium, The Nib will be reinventing itself, and will not carry comics on regular basis anymore.

 

I've been tremendously impressed with Nib founder/owner Matt Bors and the way he built the site up.  I'd known him as a young, very talented editorial cartoonist, and a friend, but once he grabbed the reins of The Nib he proved himself to be an endlessly energetic, brilliantly innovative editor and comics impresario.  He developed a large, flexible roster of cartoonists and ran fascinating journalism comics, hilarious and fresh humor comics, heart-wrenching autobiographical comics, and on a moment's notice he would figure out a way to round up local cartoonists to comment on international stories.  He also did all this with great organization, professionalism, integrity and respect for the artists he gathered.

 

My comic played a small part in Matt's grand webcomics project, but I was proud to be associated with it.

 

The Nib is not going away, and I'll be watching (and maybe even participating in small ways) how Matt reinvents it, quite possibly in ways that even better lend themselves to his unique editorial talents and vision.

 

Thanks again to Matt for including me.

 

----

 

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



May 20, 2015

ALIEN INVASION OF US WEEKLY!

 

THANKS to US Weekly, and Jennifer Garner (?) and Gwen Stefani (?!) and their broods (?!!).

 

Click HERE to see the Us Buzzzz-o-meter's Hot Take on ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD.

 

"Ruben Bolling’s out-of-this-world sci-fi book — about three kids who start a mystery club in their neighborhood — is a favorite among Jennifer Garner and Gwen Stefani’s broods. ($10, theemuclub.com)"


 

150520 US WEEKLY

 

----

 

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

 



COMIC - IF JEB BUSH KNEW THEN WHAT HE KNOWS NOW HE ALWAYS KNEW...

COMIC-

 

IF JEB BUSH KNEW THEN WHAT HE KNOWS NOW HE ALWAYS KNEW

 

1239ckTEASER-what-jeb-bush-knew

 

 

Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib. 

Click here to read on Daily Kos.

Click here to read on gocomics. 

 

----

 

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



May 19, 2015

JOIN THE PROUD AND MIGHTY INNER HIVE

TO JOIN TOM THE DANCING BUG'S INNER HIVE, CLICK HERE.

 

TO LEARN ABOUT IT (AND THEN JOIN!), READ ON...

 

LUCKY DUCKY ADweb


 

THE ORIGINAL(ISH) ANNOUNCEMENT:

 

Fellow Brains In Beakers:

 

Today, I’m starting a new phase in my little weekly comic strip, Tom the Dancing Bug.  It’s an experiment that I hope will both make the strip more sustainable, and make the relationship between myself and my readers more direct.

 

Tom the Dancing Bug was originally conceived as a newspaper comic strip, and you may have heard about the financial problems newspapers have had over the past few years.  Those problems have had a devastating impact on the financial viability of the strip.  With my great partner, the Universal Uclick Syndicate, it still has print clients, for which I’m very grateful, and I'm so proud to work with web clients like Boing Boing and Daily Kos, which have become absolutely vital, mostly because of the huge exposure they afford.

 

The comic strip is more well-read and well-known than ever, but it makes far less money than it used to.  This seems to me an anomaly -- as the comic is enjoyed (hopefully) by more people, it should generate more, not less, revenue.

 

This anomaly is one of the defining features of the digital world, and it’s up to me to figure out how to make it work. That led me to this idea:

 

I’m selling subscriptions to the appropriately cheesily-named INNER HIVE.  It’s not a charitable support-me program, because I don’t think that will work by itself in this context.  I wanted to make it a real transaction where the buyer gets something of real, greater value than the money spent.  Plus I didn’t want to get involved in the logistical nightmare of distributing tote bags.

 

What I offer to members of the INNER HIVE is special access to Tom the Dancing Bug:  a private email of the weekly comic, a day (or more) before it appears anywhere publicly, plus some contests / giveaways, as well as occasionally some other content, such as sketches and unused drafts of comics.

 

(For example, this week’s comic was written in a totally different way until at the last moment I came upon the premise that I ended up using -- I might have included that first draft in the INNER HIVE emailing of the comic.)

 

The cost will be $11.95 per six months.  For about the cost of a movie, members will be getting early and extra “content” (as the kids say), and the satisfaction that they’re contributing to the existence of Tom the Dancing Bug.

 

Is it worth it?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  I guess it is, if you enjoy and are interested in Tom the Dancing Bug and its viability.  And I’m about to find out how many people really do and are.

 

This should have no impact on my current print and web clients.  Even if this program is wildly successful (doubtful), and even if members of the INNER HIVE never again look at the comic in its print and web venues (also doubtful), the numbers involved will be orders of magnitude lower than could have a meaningful effect on the strip’s readership and traffic for these clients.

 

This is merely a supplementary way to make the strip more viable while maintaining its current distribution system.

 

The comic will be sent out early and without digital restrictions to INNER HIVE members, so I’m relying on subscribers to honor the spirit of this project, and not re-distribute the content.  If you think friends would like this, please encourage them to join!  Also, for the logistics of membership maintenance, I’m using a company called MailChimp for the subscriptions and CampaignZee to manage payments, so subscribers will be making that corporate leap of faith with me.

 

Okay.  Thank you, and God-Man bless America.

 

-Ruben Bolling

 

For information on signing up, please click HERE

 

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. Good luck, Ruben!" -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. I am happy to pledge to him my sacred honor..."  -Peter Sagal
 
 


May 15, 2015

COMIC - SUPER-FUN-PAK COMIX, feat. UNRELIABLE NARRATOR, AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

COMIC -

 

SUPER-FUN-PAK COMIX, featuring:

 

UNRELIABLE NARRATOR;

DINKLE;

TEEN ROBOT PIRATE GHOST;

MAGRITTE COMICS;

AUNT-MAN;

FUNNYBONE TICKLERS;

YUKKITY-YUKS;

HILARI-T;

HUMOROUS HA-HAs;

PHIL COLLINS, PFC;

CAPTAIN MAN;

DUNE BUGGY HARLOTS;

MOTHRA 'N' CHET LEMON;

KITTEN KABOODLE;

WATERGATE BABIES;

IGOR STRAVINSKY FUNNIES;

AND MUCH, MUCH, LESS

 

 

 

1238ckTEASER-sfpc113-unreliable-narrator

 

 

Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib.  

Click here to read on Daily Kos.  

Click here to read on gocomics. 

 

----

 

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



May 08, 2015

TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL UPDATE - BRING THE KIDS!!

I'll be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (free admission) this Saturday and Sunday (May 9 and 10), at Table 236. (Which is  upstairs, on the second floor, take a right off the stairs, enter the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, take a left and make your way to the farther possible corner you can see.  I'm told it is still in the province of Ontario.)

 

I'll be signing/sketching in my new book for kids ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD, I'll have a few of my compilation books to sell (while they last), a new Tom the Dancing Bug thing to sell/sketch in (made just for TCAF), and some other free stuff (while it lasts).  Or just come for the hike; bring a map, pack a lunch.

 

And on Sunday May 10, 4p.m., I'll perform with the Carousel comic/comedy event at the Pilot Tavern, right across the street at 22 Cumberland.



COMIC - IF BOXING IS THE "SWEET SCIENCE," WHAT ARE THESE SPORTS?

CARTOON -

 

IF BOXING IS THE "SWEET SCIENCE," WHAT ARE THESE SPORTS?

 

1237cbTHUMBboxing-sweet-science

 

 

Click here to read on Boing Boing.

Click here to read on Medium's The Nib. 

Click here to read on Daily Kos. 

Click here to read on gocomics.  

 

CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO PURCHASE AN ARCHIVE QUALITY PRINT OF THIS COMIC.

(scroll down, and the link is in the column on the right)

----

 

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



May 04, 2015

TORONTO!

1200 tcaf poster_flat_tif-641x1024

 

HEY, this weekend I'll be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in beautiful Toronto, Canada, in support of my new book for kids, ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD.

 

IF you are in Toronto, OR ANYWHERE ELSE, please come to TCAF and say Hi.  I'll have copies of AIIMB, and maybe a few copies of my three Tom the Dancing Bug compilation books, and I'll be a sketchin', high-fivin', breeze-shootin' fool.

 

ALSO: I'll perform at the Carousel show Sunday afternoon, at 4pm, at the Pilot Tavern (not for kids), 22 Cumberland Street.

 

TCAF-Carousel-2015-draft

 

FUN!

 

ALIEN-INVASION-cover-spine-WEB