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

November 08, 2018


For some reason, I feel moved to put this back up on the blog.

I helped produce this back in 2013, after Sandy Hook.

Absolutely nothing has changed since then.



October 12, 2018


This week's comic, More Richard Scarry's 21st Century Busy Town Jobs, is making the rounds across the web and social media, so I thought I'd post the first comic I did in the format, from 2014.


These two comics have been among my most popular, which makes me happy because I really loved drawing them in Scarry's style.



1215cMC richard scarry

By the way, please do join the INNER HIVE for much more Tom the Dancing Bug, including each weekly comic strip emailed to you at least a day before it is published online, extra comics, commentary, prizes, and whatever else I can throw in there.  JOIN HERE.



September 26, 2018




Normally, what is said to the INNER HIVE stays in the INNER HIVE.

But I thought I'd share some of the commentary about this week's comic, "Young Brett Kavanaugh: The Yale Years," that was included in yesterday's email to the group.

I'd always revered the movie Animal House, but it is now my theory that the movie played a tremendous role in creating the massive wave of toxic masculinity that started just after the movie came out.



I think the idea of using Trump as the Devil and the Angel, both urging Kavanaugh to go ahead with his assault, really spoke to me.  This aspect didn't make it explicitly into the comic, and it will have to remain in the subtext, but it specifically came from this scene in National Lampoon's Animal House, in which Pinto's date has passed out from over-intoxication, and he's deciding whether to "go ahead." He later learns she's 13 years old.

I'm just a couple of years older than Kavanaugh, and I can't even begin to tell you the impact that Animal House had on our generation of boys.  It was so wildly successful, it invented an entire genre of movies: "teen comedies."  

But it was deeply misogynistic (and pretty racist too).  It created the role model archetype for young men across the country: the roguish, wisecracking, devil-may-care (literally), girl-chasing sociopath.

It reflected, and maybe even helped create, exactly the Ivy League sense of entitlement that boys like Kavanaugh and his buddies aspired to. (The movie is based on the experiences of one of the three screenwriters, who went to Dartmouth, and another screenwriter was a Harvard Lampoon writer who went on to co-found National Lampoon.)

The 1978 movie was set in 1962, and I think it was one of the first bellweathers for a national yearning to go back to the muscular, conservative era before the tumultuous, revolutionary late-sixties, early-seventies.  A yearning that would culminate with election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Boys and young men seemed to suddenly reject the sixties/seventies concern about war and the ecology and equal rights and racial justice, and wanted to just pursue their own individual, hedonistic impulses.  Frat culture boomed: Fraternities were on the death's door in the seventies, and there was an explosion in membership in the eighties.  

By the way, can you imagine a teen movie today set sixteen years ago, in 2002?  What would be the point?  When Animal House came out, "sixteen years ago" was another historical era, an entirely different culture, hair styles, clothes, attitudes.  Is there any discernible difference between today and 2002?

Anyway, I loved the movie.  LOVED IT.  The fact that it was "mean" made it all the more transgressively funny to me.  Despite the fact that I now know it is morally abhorrent, and was a disastrous influence on a generation of young men, I still stand by much of its comedy genius.

But it did much to contribute to the culture of "toxic masculinity" that Kavanaugh and his buddies were clearly not only wallowing in, they happily bragged about it in their very public yearbooks.



By the way, you can click here to subscribe to the INNER HIVE.




September 18, 2018

EXQUISITE CORPSES (It's a creative game)

I was happy to contribute an illustration to this fun book edited by Gavin Edwards, and I'll be at the NYC book release party tonight:  at the Armory in Brooklyn (67 Fourth Ave), 7 to 9 pm.  Come say hi if you can -- I'll be the guy in the yellow hat.

The Beautiful Book of Exquisite Corpses.

Beautiful book of exquisite corpses

July 16, 2018


1392cWEB the trumps - simpsons   -



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

May 04, 2018

Tom the Dancing Bug wins the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism award image


Hey, Tom the Dancing Bug won the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism Award.  It's a special honor for me both because of the accomplishments and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy, and also because the award recognizes work in the area of human rights and social justice.


I'll be attending the Award Ceremony on May 22 at the Newseum in Washington, DC.


I'm especially looking forward to receiving the handsome bust of Robert F. Kennedy, whose stern countenance in my office will no doubt provide a constant reminder for me not to engage in organized crime.


As always, I thank my teammates in creating the comic strip, who share this award with me: 

- Andrews McMeel Syndication, my partner for 21 years, and the many indispensable print clients to whom they distribute Tom the Dancing Bug; 

- Boing Boing, the fantastic website that made the comic part of its creative, intelligent, and enthusiastic community;

- Daily Kos, the great political website who I'm so fortunate shares with me their sharp, engaged audience; and

- GoComics, the best and largest comics website on the internet.


And of course, I thank THE INNER HIVE, that superhero team of crime-fighters and evil-defiers who make the comic strip possible month after month, year after year.  In fact, if you've ever thought of joining (or even if you haven't), isn't this the perfect day to climb aboard Tom the Dancing Bug's mission of social justice, truth-telling, giant wombats, and idiotic time-travel?


Please join me in THE INNER HIVE here.


Thanks to the RFK Center and the judges for this honor.

- R. Bolling



One of the 2017 comics from the package that won the award: 

1325cMC lucky ducky - drain the swamp



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

March 15, 2018



Hey, I had such an amazing time at An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe Friday night.  Bookstore owner Jeff Kinney (superstar author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid) invited me over to give a presentation and sign some books, and I was so thrilled, and touched, at the love-fest it became for Tom the Dancing Bug and The EMU Club Adventures.


About 200 people were in attendance, and it was a crazy fun group even though some were grownups.


Jeff is a fascinating guy; with all the success he's had, he's kind, generous, unaffected, and utterly accessible, walking through his store giving kids high-fives and joking around with them.


I love his books, and they're very important to me and my family, so getting to know him was really an honor.


Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 8.21.19 PM


My presentation about cartooning and my kids' books was a blast, but the fun really started when Jeff joined me on stage and we started riffing and kidding around.


Anyway, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who came, to the staff at An Unlikely Story, and to Jeff, for an incredible evening.


Here's are some video clips:


Jeff talking about the EMU Club Adventures (watch me get verklempt)



Jeff and me playing a game with the audience, in which they suggest mystery titles by supplying an adjective and a noun



Me talking about the EMU Club Adventures



And here's the whole thing!  FUN!




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

March 07, 2018



When I sent out the comic to the INNER HIVE yesterday, I included this concern:


"I hope readers don't misinterpret this as insensitive to the unemployed, or to families going through economic hardship.  It's not really about the families but about misguided, poorly-thought-out protectionist, backwards policies.  The plight of the families caught at the intersection of changing global economic forces and technology is very real, and must be dealt with by all of us."


I parodied the journalistic trope of a news story's focus on coal families and communities to highlight this issue, but I certainly don't mean for this cardboard story to make light of people going through this.  (Note that in the final panel it's revealed that the whole dramatic presentation was funded by a VHS manufacturer in support of Trump.)  A fuller, balanced account of my views (and not a satirical cartoon) would include an argument that we have an obligation to help and support people going through the economic turmoil caused by seismic global and technological shifts.

February 26, 2018


On March 9, at 6pm, I'll be at An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe in Plainville, MA, to talk about my unlikely entry into the world of kid lit with my EMU Club Adventures series of books.  I'll tell the story of the actual, real-life monster that inspired the books, and reveal the fun medical malady that got me into writing comedy and comics.


Apparently the owner of the bookstore would like to join in on the presentation, a kid lit up-and-comer by the name of Jeff Kinney.  He's got his own series of books called "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and I wish him all the best with it.  I'll give him some pointers on how to write appealing stories with funny characters that kids will like.


If you're in the area, please come and join us for fun and laughs.  If you're not, you'll have to have fun and laughs by yourself.


Ruben Bolling at AN UNLIKELY STORY


Friday, March 9, 2018 - 6:00pm

An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe

111 South Street
Plainville, MA 02762

(508) 699-0244

Here is a link with info

January 24, 2018





Hey, I was a guest on the Cool Tools podcast, with hosts Kevin Kelly and my Boing Boing buddy Mark Frauenfelder.  Check it out if you want to hear me be puzzled by technology.  It's available on iTunes, etc., and at the link below.


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