April 01, 2020

FREE BOOK: THE EMU CLUB ADVENTURES - GHOSTLY THIEF OF TIME

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In support of quarantined families with kids, I'm now making my second EMU Club Adventures book, Ghostly Thief of Time, available for free.

 

You can download the pdf of Ghostly Thief of Time at THIS LINK for free.  Gratis.  No charge.  On the house.

 

You can also get the first book, Alien Invasion in My Backyard for free at THIS LINK.

 

I hope you guys are enjoying the series.  Next week, for kids who finished both books, I'm going to announce a little project that they can do.

 

What better time to exercise your imagination?

 

Stay well and stay kind, everybody.

 

--

 

ABOUT THE EMU CLUB ADVENTURES:

 

Stuart Tennemeier, his best friend Brian Hrzincz, and his sister Violet want to start a mystery club like the ones they read about in books, but they have no idea how to even find a mystery in their suburban neighborhood.

They settle on trying to solve a mundane mystery from their lives – what happened to the game controller they lost – and they find that when you look really, really closely at your world, you can find absolutely amazing things.  And maybe even save the world.

The EMU Club Adventures series, for kids aged 7-10 (and adventurous, curious spirits of all ages), is by cartoonist Ruben Bolling, the author of the award-winning comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug.

 

"Ruben Bolling is one of my cartooning heroes, and The EMU Club Adventures is seriously, mysteriously funny!" - Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

 

"There's no mystery—the EMU Club is a hit! This is a fun, funny adventure that kids will love to read." —Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate

 

"The EMU Club inhabits exactly the world I always hoped to live in when I was 12, when the answer to questions like 'Where did I put my toy' led inevitably to alien conspiracies and secret underground tunnels. A book for the curious and adventurous!" - Cory Doctorow

 

"The funniest book about unbelievable kid mystery exploring I've ever read. The only real mystery is why you aren't reading this book RIGHT NOW!" -Elliott Kalan



March 26, 2020

FREE BOOK: THE EMU CLUB ADVENTURES - ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD

ALIEN INVASION IN MY BACKYARD FINAL single page-1

 

I can only imagine how hard it must be to be quarantined / sheltered / home isolated / whatever-it's-called with high-energy, bored kids, so I thought I'd contribute something that might help in some tiny way.

 

I'm offering a FREE download of the first book in my EMU Club Adventures series, Alien Invasion in My Backyard, for anyone who wants it.  

 

Free.  No charge.

 

You can download the pdf of the book at THIS LINK.

                                        Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 3.43.07 PM
At the linked Dropbox page, 👆simply click on this icon, and the pdf will download to your computer.  You can then even put it on your kindle or other reader by following that reader's instructions for uploading pdfs.

 

I hope your kids enjoy it.  Maybe you will too.

 

In a week, I'm going to provide a link to download the second book, Ghostly Thief of Time.  Also for free.

 

These are scary times for everyone.  I hope these bookshelp some people get through it just a bit better.

Rb

 

--

"Ruben Bolling is one of my cartooning heroes, and The EMU Club Adventures is seriously, mysteriously funny!"

- Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

 

 

 



February 18, 2020

TWO (2!) TOM THE DANCING BUG BOOKS COMING THIS SPRING, IN CELEBRATION OF THE COMIC'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY!

IN CELEBRATION OF TOM THE DANCING BUG'S UPCOMING 30TH ANNIVERSARY:

Book ad FLAT

 

Pre-order Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse from Clover Press here.

Pre-order Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse from Amazon here

Pre-order The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader from Clover Press here.
 
 
AND, for a limited time during the pre-order period, you can order the Super Fun Tom the Dancing Bug Book Package.
You get:
-> a copy of Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse, signed/sketched/dated by Ruben Bolling, personalized if requested
-> a copy of The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader, signed/sketched/dated by Ruben Bolling, personalized if requested
-> two signed Tom the Dancing Bug / Super-Fun-Pak Comix bookmarks  
-> an EXCLUSIVE pdf booklet of "artist's materials," presenting notes, scripts, sketches, pencils and inks for selected comics from both books.
 
Publication date is May 26, 2020, and Packages will be sent out rather shortly thereafter.
 
$89.99
Order below. If you would like the books signed "to" a particular name (your name, the name of a gift recipient, etc.), type that name in the field below.  If not, you can leave that field blank.
Continental U.S. only please. Includes Media Mail postage.
For deliveries to other locations, please contact teamdancingbug at gmail dot com
Limited time, limited quantities.
 
Name I'd like books signed to
Inner Hive address (if any)
 
 
"God bless Tom the Dancing Bug! Funny, succinct, and highly original, Ruben Bolling is able to make sense from the chaos and tragedy of America's political nightmares and make you laugh while doing it. An increasingly rare and more difficult feat these extra bleak days. This is worth your time and money. Do it!"
-David Cross
 
 
"Behold the wondrous, whimsical, witty world that is Tom the Dancing Bug! If you're someone who's not a fan of potent political humor with an incisive absurdist twist that's not only consistently funny, but downright therapeutic for an ailing world, I suggest you avoid this book like the plague. For everyone else, it's a MUST-READ!"
-Mark Hamill
 
 
"Delve into the dementia, the dread, and the delightfulness of this collection of Tom the Dancing Bug's strips -- it's history through the lens of a self-loathing insomniac. In a way, it's all of us."
-Patton Oswalt
 
 
"Ruben Bolling has been sending me his secret messages for years, in the form of comics printed first on paper, and then, once paper became extinct, on the internet. I don't know exactly what he's trying to tell me, except he seems to know about everything I find funny, delightful, strange and inexplicable to get my attention, from obscure literary references to negging deep dish pizza. I don't understand exactly what exactly he's trying to say to me, but I still obsessively keep reading, not just because he's hilarious, but because someday I hope to find out who this Tom the bug is, and why he is dancing." 
-Peter Sagal
 
 
"This fine collection of work by Mr. Bolling provides ample evidence as to why he is unanimously considered one of the greatest cartoonists in the known universe. How he would rank in that other part of the universe is, of course, a matter that’s still being hotly debated within the scientific community.”
-“Weird Al” Yankovic
 
 
"I am a HUGE fan of Tom the Dancing Bug! It makes me laugh and think of course but it makes me feel better. No kidding, I read it and I think, someone else thinks like me, only funnier and better informed and I feel good. Thank you Ruben Bolling for giving us Tom The Dancing Bug. (Can't decide whether to capitalize ‘the’)."
-Gary Gulman
 
 
"That fact that Tom the bug can keep dancing in this day and age is a testament to Ruben Bolling’s skills as a cartoonist!"
-Seth Meyers
 
 
“Each week Ruben Bolling takes an unassuming little blank white rectangle and fills it up with clever cartoonery, sneaky commentary, and more political laughs than you can shake a stick at. All hail Tom the Dancing Bug!”
-Matt Groening
 
 
"Ruben Bolling's craft and commentary are as powerful and as pointed, as capable of making you laugh while breaking your heart as they were when we were all so very young."
from Neil Gaiman's foreword to Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse


November 23, 2019

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS YOU CAN JOIN THE INNER HIVE

 

Inner-hive-ad

 

⇒ You can give a 2020 GIFT MEMBERSHIP to a loved one/liked one!  It starts the minute you sign up, and lasts through the end of 2020.

SIGN SOMEONE UP FOR AN INNER HIVE GIFT MEMBERSHIP HERE.

 

⇒ You can join through Patreon, where you pay per month, and there are different levels of membership.

SIGN UP FOR YOUR OWN INNER HIVE MEMBERSHIP THROUGH PATREON HERE.

 

⇒ You can join through CampaignZee / MailChimp, where you pay per six months.

SIGN UP FOR YOUR OWN INNER HIVE MEMBERSHIP THROUGH CAMPAIGNZEE HERE.

 

⇒ Or you can pre-pay a two-year membership, no recurring payments at all.

SIGN UP FOR YOUR OWN PRE-PAID TWO-YEAR INNER HIVE MEMBERSHIP HERE.

 

However you sign up, members get each week's Tom the Dancing Bug comic at least a day before it appears anywhere on the web, along with exclusive commentary, inside peeks, info, jokes, riddles, palindromes and whatever else I can fit in each email.

THANK YOU for reading this.



November 19, 2019

GIVE THE GIFT OF TOM THE DANCING BUG

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This year, you can give that special someone a Gift Membership to Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE.

 

That's right, you can give a loved one / friend / frenemy a yearlong membership to the INNER HIVE, and from the moment you sign them up and throughout 2020 they will receive the weekly INNER HIVE emails containing:

- that week's Tom the Dancing Bug comic, at least a day before it's published online; and

- exclusive commentary, extra comics, contests, giveaways, word-find puzzles, and advice for the lovelorn

and all other benefits and privileges of membership will be conferred up on them.

 

$25 CHEEP.  Simply sign up here, including the recipient's name and the email address the INNER HIVE mailings should be sent to:

 

Name of RECIPIENT
Email address of RECIPIENT

 

It is for you to inform the recipient of the gift.  The recipient will simply receive the next INNER HIVE email after you sign them up.

You can also use the above form to RENEW an existing gift membership.

More info on the INNER HIVE is here.

 

IT'S THE GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING, EVERY DING-DONG WEEK, UNTIL IT STOPS.

Thank you, and have a Merry Everything.

Rb

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Terms and Conditions apply.  They always do.

The Gift Membership will end 12/31/20.

Payment is for starting the membership.  Recipient may cancel at any time (there's no accounting for taste).

Any questions, please contact teamdancingbug@gmail.com



October 01, 2019

THE RESULTS OF THE TOM THE DANCING BUG FOR MIGRANT CHILDREN FUNDRAISER

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Looks like I've got my drawing work cut out for me.

 

Guys, together we raised $14,000 to help these frightened children.

 

PLUS, another $5,315 was donated directly to the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights separately, by two participants who were inspired by this fundraiser, but could not donate through this fundraising page.  Counting these contributions raises the total to $19,315!

 

I'm so proud of the generosity of the Tom the Dancing Bug community, and so grateful that this money will go toward aiding children who are in horrible living conditions, alone, and desperately afraid.

 

THANK YOU to everyone who participated, no matter the amount.

 

I said I would create a custom Tom the Dancing Bug illustration for certain participants, and I'm now announcing those who will have these drawings foisted upon them.

 

1. I said that the top contributor would get an illustration.  But as the top contributions soared, my drawing hand was horrified when I revised that to say I would create an illustration for any contribution over $800.  The following people should email me at <tomdbug at gmail dot com> to arrange their illustration:

 

Alan Crawford

Anonymous*

Philip Apps

Alan Ward

Larry and Holly Beck

 

(* This person complied with all rules for eligibility, but contacted me separately requesting anonymity in the prize's announcement.)

If your contributions aggregated to over $800 and I somehow missed you, please also contact me to let me know.

 

2. I also said that two random contributors of $25 or more would win an illustration, and the following two winners of the random drawing should now contact me at <tomdbug at gmail dot com> to arrange the illustration:

 

Thomas M.

Andy Karn

 

INNER HIVE members should check next week's email for the results of the contest specific to the INNER HIVE.

 

--

 

Yours in utter awe and gratitude,

Ruben Bolling,

the son of an unaccompanied minor refugee immigrant



September 26, 2019

AN INNER HIVE MAILING

Every week, at least a day before that week's Tom the Dancing Bug comic is published online anywhere, I send the comic, with some commentary, news, and other comics, to the members of the INNER HIVE.

 

If you're interested in joining the INNER HIVE, here's a sample mailing, sent out to members Tuesday of this week, and it's fairly representative of the kind of thing you'll get if you join.

 

Information on joining is here.

--

 

LI'L DON TRUMP

There's a tendency to forget where we've come in Trump's story about getting election help from foreign governments.  Before he was inaugurated, his entire campaign was outraged at allegations that anyone had ever met with agents of the Russian government.  Don Jr. called the charge that the Russians were helping Trump "disgusting" and "so phony."

Now that it's come out that the Russians did help, the campaign welcomed that help, Don Jr. attended a meeting seeking that help, and the campaign manager gave the Russians its campaign its voter data, it's no longer disgusting, it's all perfectly appropriate.

And Trump is openly sending his personal lawyer to Ukraine to get their help in his election. 

--

I think that for most Tom the Dancing Bug readers, this week’s comic will be read as a fairly straightforward satire of Donald Trump’s mendacious denials of his soliciting/coordinating foreign election interference, depicting him as a child denying his obvious cookie theft. Simple enough.
 
But close readers of the strip, some of whom may be INNER HIVE members, may be confused by specific historical comic strip references.  So while I certainly don’t intend this background to be at all necessary to enjoy or understand this comic, I’ll lay it out here for you guys:
 
1.  Li’l Don may look like little Donald from my series of “Calvin and Hobbes” parodies, “Donald and John.”

2.  But in fact, I’m invoking a different mischieveous comic strip kid, Dennis the Menace.


3.  I’ve evoked the Dennis the Menace look, using the “Li’l” title, many times before, with Li’l Bill Clinton, Li’l Al Gore, Li’l George W. Bush, and below, with Li’l Barack Obama and Li’l Mitt Romney (a story had come out that when he was in prep school, he and his friends had bullied another boy by forcibly cutting his long hair).


--

 
--
 
This one was fun but tough to draw, as you can see in panel 8, which is pretty much border-to-border blue pencil.  Blue pencil has been a helpful way to draw (I can ink over the pencil, and then remove the blue on the computer), but it barely erases, so when I really screw up it becomes a mess. 
 

 
--
 
But the big news is that the Tom the Dancing Bug Migrant Children Fundraiser is going nuts.  Tom the Dancing Bug readers have now raised over $11,000, with about a week to go!
 
In addition, a reader contacted me separately to tell me that because of the logistics of how he makes charitable donations, he could not donate directly through the Fundraiser, but he sent me documentation of his $5,000 donation, with a request for a matching contribution from his employer! He requested to remain anonymous, and doesn’t want his contribution to count toward any of the prizes, in order to continue to encourage others.
 
But his direct contribution, and a similar $315 contribution of another INNER HIVE member, puts the number we’ve raised to help these children at almost $17,000!!
 
I’m floored by this, guys. This amount will make a real difference in the lives and well-being of extremely frightened and vulnerable children.
 
--
 
This week’s upcoming Classic comic is Bad Fetus, in "Fetal firepower" (2013).  In six years, the only thing that’s changed about the insanity depicted here is that now a conservative would never speak disparagingly about Russia.


 
--


September 11, 2019

THE TOM THE DANCING BUG MIGRANT CHILDREN FUNDRAISER

Migrant children fundraiser small

UPDATE 9/30/19, 11:30am ET:  

This is the last day to participate and be eligible to win a Tom the Dancing Bug custom illustration.  A quick check reveals that the top two contributions so far are a mind-blowing $800 and a earth-shattering combo-contribution of $1,024.

 

I had said that the top contributor (multiple contributions from the same person are aggregated) would automatically win an illustration.  But I'M CHANGING THE RULES!  I'M A RULE-CHANGER!  

 

We're all on the same team here, so why make this a competition?  I'm declaring now that both these contributors have now won the top prize, AND anyone else who will have donated a total of $800 or more before the end of the campaign tonight will also automatically win an illustration.

 

Of course, all other contributors of more than $25 are still eligible for the random drawings!

 

THANK YOU to all contributors of any amount for participating in the aid of these children!

 

--

 

UPDATE 9/24/19:  

FROM THIS WEEK'S EMAIL TO THE INNER HIVE:

"But the big news is that the Tom the Dancing Bug Migrant Children Fundraiser is going nuts.  Tom the Dancing Bug readers have now raised over $11,000, with about a week to go!
 

In addition, a reader contacted me separately to tell me that because of the logistics of how he makes charitable donations, he could not donate directly through the Fundraiser, but he sent me documentation of his $5,000 donation, with a request for a matching contribution from his employer! He requested to remain anonymous, and doesn’t want his contribution to count toward any of the prizes, in order to continue to encourage others.
 

But his direct contribution, and a similar $315 contribution of another INNER HIVE member, puts the number we’ve raised to help these children at almost $17,000!!"

 

UNBELIEVABLE!  I AM SO GRATEFUL TO THOSE WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED, AND HAVE HELPED THE LIVES AND WELL-BEING OF THESE FRIGHTENED AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN.

 

--

 

UPDATE 9/16/19:  I'm absolutely floored that after five days this thing is over $8,000!  Thank you SO MUCH to those who have participated!

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Of the many crimes against humanity the Trump administration has unleashed on the world, its treatment of immigrant children is the one that hits me the hardest.  The separation of children from parents is the worst form of torture, and the fact that my country deliberately set this as a policy in order to terrorize families simply boggles my mind.  The fact that we are holding incredibly vulnerable children, alone and frightened, in inhuman conditions, is a sick betrayal of every standard that the richest and self-proclaimed best country must be held to.

 

Of course, we can fight this politically, by advocating for changes to policies and elected officials, but there are also things we can do to actually directly help these children and their families.  The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights protects and advocates for immigrant children, and I wanted to somehow help them, even if it's only in some tiny, Tom the Dancing Bug-sized way.

 

You can participate by making your donation directly to The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights through a donation page I set up,

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/tom-the-dancing-bug-for-migrant-children

but I have to warn you:  You might be saddled with a Tom the Dancing Bug original illustration, drawn just for you.  

 

Three donors will get a Tom the Dancing Bug illustration sent to them:

--> The top donor to the Fundraiser (multiple donations from the same donor will be aggregated); and

--> Two random donors to the Fundraiser regardless of size of donation, $25 minimum.

 

To be eligible for the prize, be sure to not to check "Don't show my name" on the donation page.

 

The illustrations will be 6 inches x 8 inches, and you can tell me what you'd like me to draw (subject to the boundaries of law and propriety), or we can come up with something in collaboration.  God-Man fighting Charley the Australopithecine, Hollingsworth Hound in a tutu, Percival Dunwoody riding a Giant Wombat... whatever you want.  OR you can just choose (almost) any Super-Fun-Pak Comix, and I will re-draw it for you (apx. 6 inches x 2 inches).  OR if choosing stresses you out, you can just relax and leave the illustration up to me.

 

The deadline for prize eligibility is 11:59 pm ET, September 30, but PLEASE DONATE NOW.  

 

Winners will be announced HERE on October 1, so check back to see if you won.

 

Thank you, everybody.  Hoping you are fortunate enough to be in a position to help in any way.

 

Yours Indeed,

Ruben Bolling,

the son of an unaccompanied minor refugee immigrant

 

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION AND PARTICIPATE IN THE TOM THE DANCING BUG MIGRANT CHILDREN FUNDRAISER.

(Note: I made a $200 donation to start things off, plus this will of course assure you that all transaction costs of using crowdrise.com to manage this campaign are covered.)

1454cWEB tiresome trump

 

 

 



September 10, 2019

IT WON'T BE A PROBLEM.

1112cWEB hhound - climate problem



April 30, 2019

IT'S TOM THE DANCING BUG'S MAY INNER HIVE DRIVE!

It's true!  It IS the May INNER HIVE DRIVE!

 

MAY INNER HIVE DRIVE GRAPHIC url72

 

Through the end of May, if you join Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE*, your sign-up fee will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds

 

That's right: YOU get all the benefits of INNER HIVE membership: weekly emails that contain exclusive, before-publication Herblock Prize-winning, RFK Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-losing comics, with other exclusive stuff like commentary, extra comics, behind-the-scenes info and sketches, sandwich photos**, and whatever else I can think of.

 

AND $15 (the first six months or so of your INNER HIVE dues) goes to help in the current crisis of reproductive rights.  The National Network of Abortion Funds works with local member funds across the country, including those in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Missouri, in their critical fight to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.

 

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Yes, this is a small step in the face of an enormous challenge.  But I feel that if I make this promotion a part of my response to the current assault on women's rights and autonomy, I can not only increase my contribution, but publicly encourage others to do more.

For more information on ways to donate directly, here is a helpful article.

 

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Joining the INNER HIVE is easy and fun!  And there are two ways to do it:

 

• You can join through CampaignZee, for $11.95 per six months; or

• You can join through Patreon, for $3 per month, with the option of higher levels for higher rewards.

 

Either way, you get a weekly email containing that week's Tom the Dancing Bug comic (before it's published online), plus extra comics, exclusive commentary, and other stuff!

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So join the Tom the Dancing Bug team!

BE the first on your block to get each weekly Tom the Dancing Bug comic,

GET your other membership benefits and privileges, and

JOIN me in taking this small step in helping women in crisis.

 

--

*And, for those who join on Patreon, remain a member for at least six months

**No Inner Hive mailing has ever included a sandwich photo.

Note:  Those who joined in the first half of May (May 1-15) will have their sign-up fees donated to The Committee to Protect Journalists, as promised at the time of sign-up.

Another note:  A prepaid two-year membership without recurring fees is also available.

 



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