Alien Invasion by Ruben Bolling
The EMU Club Adventures by Ruben Bolling BUY BOOK ONE ON AMAZON: Alien Invasion In My Backyard BUY BOOK TWO ON AMAZON: Ghostly Thief of Time Other options to buy The EMU Club Adventures book series from Ruben Bolling Visit the official EMU Club Website for Kids! More information about The EMU Club Adventures! Book: Alien Invasion In My Backyard - An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling Book: Ghostly Thief of Time - An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling

June 07, 2017

comic posted on Twitter today

Donald Trump and James Comey, in "I Need Loyalty"


Trump i need loyalty 1

June 03, 2017

Orange for Gun Sense


I contributed this illustration to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety's #WearOrange campaign that was held yesterday.


2017 orange TOM THE DANCING BUG chagrin falls

This reminded me that the Smythes of Chagrin Falls had their own adventure involving America's relationship with gun laws.


1249cWEB chagrin falls 12 - sacrifice firearms



By the way, the great Garry Trudeau contributed this gem:





May 28, 2017


Hey, I learned this morning that "Donald and John," the webcomic run by The Nib in late 2016, won a National Cartoonists Society award at the Reuben Awards ceremony in Portland, Oregon, last night.


Ncs award Reuben awards


This award has the highest buttocks prominence of all the major awards, easily out prominent-ing the second place winner, the Academy Award's Oscar.




On a Saturday morning last October, I found myself suddenly deciding to launch a daily (!) comic strip that would run until the election, using the Donald Trump / Calvin & Hobbes mashup I had used in a couple of Tom the Dancing Bugs (here and here).  It was a bizarre decision because my life was already filled to the brim as it was, and it would take over everything for over a month.  


Incredibly, within hours, Matt Bors at The Nib agreed to run the daily comic, and "Donald and John" was launched.  I can't thank Matt and his great team at The Nib enough.  The subject of the cartoon is as upsetting and distressing as I can imagine, but creating it was an amazing experiment, and one of the highlights of my career.


Donald and john cover illustration NIB


Thank you to my pal John (Johnny G.) Glynn, who accepted the award on my behalf in Portland.  He tells me he used the opportunity to deliver a diatribe against the "Holds" statistic in baseball, and I couldn't think of a more worthy or appropriate topic.



I was really sorry I couldn't be there -- not because of any award, but just because it would have been a blast be with my friends and/or heroes.  Who wouldn't want to hang out with just the people on this poster, let alone all the others... just to name a few:  Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Mo Willems, Tom Gamill, etc., etc.





The other two nominees in the category are really fantastic cartoonists -- Sarah Andersen (!) and Dave Kellett -- and I know exactly how they feel...


...Because I was also a nominee for an NCS award I didn't win last night: the amazing  Mike Luckovich won for Best Editorial Cartoons over myself (for Tom the Dancing Bug) and my buddy Jen Sorensen.  Congratulations to Mike... and all the other winners and nominees and all of Team Comics!



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




March 30, 2017


I'll be at the MoCCA Arts Festival in NYC this Saturday, April 1 (no fooling!).  I'll be at the National Cartoonists Society table (Table C131) from 3:45-6:00pm.  


Come by to say hi.  I'll have just a few Tom the Dancing Bug books to sell ($25), and a lot of EMU Club Adventures books to sell ($13).




MoCCA Arts Festival

at Metropolitan West

West 46th Street, bt 11th and 12th Ave.


Check back in this space for updates/confirmation.



Herblock Event


I had an absolutely incredible evening last night.


I accepted the Herblock Prize at a ceremony in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.




Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 4.35.22 PM












After my acceptance speech, the Herblock Lecture was delivered by Representative John Lewis, who was nothing less than inspiring.  It was a honor to share the stage with him.




In fact, I couldn't resist taking this picture; this is what it looks like to share the stage with John Lewis:




And after the ceremony, we all moved on to a fantastic party.  I invited members of the INNER HIVE, and it was an honor to share the evening with those who could make it, representing the entire INNER HIVE squad.  It was so much fun to hang out with loyal and enthusiastic readers on this special night for me and the strip.


The Herblock Foundation will post a video of the speech, and I will include it here once it is posted.


Thank you to all who came, and to the Herblock Foundation for this great honor.



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

March 04, 2017


Center cartoon studies


I had a blast last week as Visiting Faculty (i.e., cartoonist who shows up, has a few meals, gabs with all students for a couple of hours, then goes home) at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.  What a wondrous place - a secluded school in a picturesque town devoted only to cool comics and amazing, creative students.  


Thanks to James Sturm and Luke Howard and everyone there for the invitation, arrangements, hospitality and great time.  I hope the students got something out of my ramblings...


Ruben Bolling at CCS 113web Ruben Bolling at CCS 153web

Ruben Bolling at CCS 085web

Ruben Bolling at CCS 206web









(photos by Abe Olson)



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

February 26, 2017


I'm very honored to have won the 2017 Herblock Prize.


Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 1.06.52 PM


I'm going to the award ceremony in Washington, DC, on March 29, where I'll make a speech to receive the award, and Representative John Lewis will deliver the Herblock Lecture.  How incongruous: a guy who makes comics sharing the podium with a living legend and American hero.


Yes, that's right: John Lewis makes comics!


LewisPromo-Spring1 Lewis march


I thank the Herblock Foundation and the judges.  And thanks to all the very kind congratulatory words from folks all around social media.  And congratulations to the Herblock finalist Marty Two Bulls Sr., an Oglala Dakota artist and cartoonist who does fantastic and very diverse work.


I'm proud to share the award (but not the prize money) with my partners and absolutely essential friends:  Boing Boing, which premiers Tom the Dancing Bug on the web every week, Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes it to my great and valued newspaper clients, Daily Kos, and GoComics...


... and of course, that motley squad of the greatest heroes, ne'er-do-wells, gamblers and outlaws ever assembled, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, without whom, truly, none of this would be possible.




The Herblock Foundation's press release:


WASHINGTON, DC, Wednesday, February 23th, 2017 – Ruben Bolling, pen name for Ken Fisher, has been named the winner of the 2017 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.


Ruben Bolling is the author of the weekly comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication to many newspapers across North America.  It also appears on:, one of the most linked-to websites in the world;, the U.S.’s largest progressive blog; and, the largest comic strip website.


“Tom the Dancing Bug” is a free-format comic strip that uses varying types of humor, artistic styles and formats.  It’s an unusual strip in that in any given week, it could feature a spoof, a multi-panel sketch, political or absurdist humor, recurring characters or caricatures of real people.  But during 2016, political subject matter was at its heart, as it mostly dealt with the election and the rise to power of Donald Trump.


Ruben Bolling was the Finalist for the 2016 Herblock Award.  He was the 2014 winner of the Society of Illustrators Best Cartoon Award in its Art Annual.  In 2011, Bolling won the Sigma Delta Chi Award from The Society of Professional Journalists, for Editorial Cartooning.  “Tom the Dancing Bug” has been twice-nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip or Panel, and has won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Award for Best Cartoon five times.


Ruben Bolling has authored three Tom the Dancing Bug compilation books:  Thrilling Tom the Dancing Bug Stories (Andrews McMeel, 2004); All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From My Golf-Playing Cats (NBM Publishing, 1997); and Tom the Dancing Bug (HarperCollins, 1992).


In 2015, Ruben Bolling started a series of chapter books for children called the EMU Club Adventures.  The first two installments, Alien Invasion in My Backyard and Ghostly Thief of Time, were both published in 2015 by Andrews McMeel.


In addition to the weekly comic strip, The New Yorker has published full page color cartoons by Bolling, and original comics by Bolling have been published in such magazines as Nickelodeon, Mad Magazine, ESPN The Magazine and Harper’s.


Bolling lives in New York City with his wife and three children.


The Herblock Prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock.” The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy. Ruben Bolling will receive the Prize on March 29th in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress. Representative John Lewis, the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony. 


Judges for this year’s contest were Mark Fiore, editorial cartoonist in animation and winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize; Matt Wuerker, editorial cartoonist for Politico and 2010 Herblock Prize winner; and Martha Kennedy, curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art at the Library of Congress.


Mark Fiore added, “Ruben Bolling’s cartoons are consistently sharp, funny and incredibly original. His use of recurring characters, like Hollingsworth Hound and Lucky Ducky, add a wonderfully inventive richness to his masterful satire. Bolling’s deft skewering operates under the cover of silly cartoon fun.”


Wuerker stated, “Ruben Bolling created his own unique style of political cartoon, one that’s full of sly allusions and clever twists. Tom the Dancing Bug pushed the form into new territory with imaginative tropes, deft imagery and provocative allegory. He makes his political points with a humor and writing style that’s fresh and singularly his own.”


This year’s finalist is Marty Two Bulls Sr., a freelance cartoonist who has drawn editorial cartoons for the Indian Country Today Media Network since 2001. He will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize. Fiore commented, “The cartoons of Marty Two Bulls, Sr. take a hard-hitting look at issues impacting native peoples. His bold style screams with powerful messages that have been overlooked by much of society.  Two Bulls’ strong work exemplifies a courage and ferocity that is the lifeblood of a good political cartoon.”


The Herb Block Foundation seeks to further the recognition and support of editorial cartooning:  




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

January 29, 2017

Join Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE, and help fight Trump


Join Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE subscription service, and


more the DOUBLE your INNER HIVE sign-up charge will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, which currently engaged in the critical fight against Donald Trump's discriminatory policies.



For more information on the ACLU, click here.


When you join the INNER HIVE, you get each week's Tom the Dancing Bug comic emailed to you at least one day before it's published, along with commentary, puns, profuse apologies, preliminary art, palindromes, additional comics, "content", yummy recipes, architectural blueprints, folk remedies, secret treasure maps, etc.  The cost of membership is only $11.95 per six months.


And through 2/7, when you pay that $11.95 for the first six months, $25 will be donated to help defend our rights against Donald Trump.    


How else can you get exclusive access to stupid comics AND help the journalists of world and the U.S. make their countries a better place to live?


To join the INNER HIVE and help the ACLU, click here.


Thank you for your support of Tom the Dancing Bug and everyone's Civil Rights.

-Ruben Bolling





ACT NOW (i.e., through 2/7) and you'll also get a high-resolution file of the below comic, which you can use to produce a high-quality print.

1322cMC view from trump tower 2



January 23, 2017


I did this cartoon for The Nib's Twitter project to troll Trump during the Inauguration.


The assignment was to illustrate the phrase "You lost the popular vote by more than 2.8 million.  Sad."


Trump inauguration nib


You can see all the contributing cartoonists' cartoons here.

December 14, 2016


From the EMU Club Adventures team:






Cartoonist and children's book author Ruben Bolling is available for presentations to kids in audiences of all sizes.


Ruben is the New York City area-based author of The EMU Club Adventures series of books, published by Andrews McMeel Publishers.  The first two (both published in 2015) are:






151104 both books amp


His presentations always get kids laughing and cheering, while they learn about:


- Ruben's road to becoming a cartoonist,

- Overcoming obstacles and the value of persistence,

- The real-life secret origin of the EMU Club,

- Being curious and finding wonder in everyday mysteries,

- The importance of storytelling. 



 IMG_4094 Ruben bolling classroom 2

Ruben bolling library visit Ruben bolling new york comic con


"Mr. Bolling was so funny.  I only stopped laughing twice!"

"I like Stuart because he never gives up.  And Ferdinand is the best dog ever."

"It was cool to see the comics Mr. Bolling made when he was my age."

"This was the best.  I want to know about the real mystery of the blob!"



Ruben can present at large assemblies, in classrooms, or even conduct cartooning workshops, teaching kids how to write and draw a comic strip.


For more information about Ruben Bolling and The EMU Club Adventures, click here.


Contact for information about how you can arrange for Ruben Bolling to visit your school, library, book fair, or event.






161209 publicity page amp web


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