Protecting the children from race harm!

Plus LOTS of news. Stuff happened.

This week’s comic is “Chagrin Falls: ‘Very Critical of Race Theory.’” 

Read this week’s Tom the Dancing Bug on GoComics HERE.

Read this week’s Tom the Dancing Bug on BoingBoing HERE.

Read this week’s Tom the Dancing Bug on DailyKos HERE.

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First, the good news: Tom the Dancing Bug was named a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. That’s right, you had the good taste to subscribe to a Newsletter for a Very Prestigious Comic Strip! (See “G-Rated Pornographic Comics,” below.)

Now, this was not without some controversy. The Pulitzer Prize Board was presented with the three Finalists by the Pulitzer Prize Jury, but it declined to name a winner. So there was no Pulitzer Prize winner in the Editorial Cartooning category.

I haven’t been reticent about my disappointment in this decision, not necessarily for myself (but, hey!), but for the cartooning profession. The Board could have named any of the three finalists, or any other cartoonist, but in my view effectively made the statement that no satirical cartoonist was worthy of the award this year. I think it’s an insult to the art form.

Here is my statement, issued to the Good People of Earth on the subject.

And here is the Washington Post article about it.

My fellow Finalist, the brilliant (and Pulitzer-worthy!) cartoonist Marty Two Bulls, Sr. had the good humor to dash off a cartoon about three Finalists and the Board’s decision.

Okay, that’s it! I’m done focusing on there being no winner named, and I’m going to focus on the honor of being named a Finalist!

Next, more good news!

There are two new Tom the Dancing Bug books coming your way in November.

Here’s some info on them.

The Complete Tom the Dancing Bug, Volume 6: 2012-2015
Clover Press continues its Complete Tom the Dancing Bug program by presenting the sixth chronological volume (and second volume published to date), covering every comic from 2012-2015.  This volume covers the Obama years and the rise of Trump, and it includes the introduction of the popular feature “Chagrin Falls” and installments of many other Tom the Dancing Bug favorites, such as God-Man, Lucky Ducky, and Super-Fun-Pak Comix.  It also includes other comics Ruben Bolling created during those years: a two-page New Yorker spread, and six daily installments of the comic strip Cul de Sac.

The Very, Very, VERY* Best of Tom the Dancing Bug, 1990-2021
31 years in the making, this book collects the top, most popular, most talked-about, most important, most Tom-the-Dancing-Bug comics in Tom the Dancing Bug's history.  Imagine the thrill of reading and owning the award-winning and award-losing comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug, distilled into one handsome tome containing only its scientifically determined very, very, VERY* best.

Clover Press did such a great job with the two Tom the Dancing Bug books they published last year (Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse, and The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader), and I can’t wait to get these babies into my hands.

I’m really excited about the Complete Tom the Dancing Bug program. Last year’s Into the Trumpverse was the first volume published, but chronologically was Volume 7, as it compiled every comic from 2016-2019. This year’s Tom the Dancing Bug Awakens is Volume 6 in the series, compiling 2012-2015.

They are available for pre-order, and information is here! Please do click on the link and “smash” that buy button!

OKAY, one more thing about the Pulitzer thing:

In the U.S., editorial/political/topical/satirical cartoonists get very little respect in the journalism world that’s supposed to support us. But for some reason, the world over, these cartoonists are on the front lines of threats, censorship, prosecution, and even murder, for our work. From the cartoonists killed for the Mohammed cartoons, to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, to jailed and/or tortured cartoonists in Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Egypt, etc., etc.

Maybe that’s because cartoonists’ work is vital, popular, and effective.

American mainstream journalism dismisses cartoons, firing cartoonists for financial and political reasons, and repeatedly marginalizing their contribution. Yet cartoons always are among the most popular, best-read features on any outlet that runs them, and somehow effective enough to draw the targeted ire and even violence of authoritarians and extremists.

The refusal of an awards judging board, representing the behemoths of American mainstream journalism, to name a winner for cartooning, and thus (in my view) insulting the cartooning art form and profession, is a silly, meaningless imbroglio, and what should be called a First World Problem.

But I thought I’d turn it around in some tiny, personal way and announce a contest benefitting Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), which defends Political Cartoonists on the Front Lines of Free Speech around the world.

Most recently, they’re defending Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, who’s been jailed, released, and is now under investigation by police again. And Bangladeshi cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore, jailed for ten months, during which he was beaten and tortured.

And Egyptian cartoonist Ashraf Hamdi, who was arrested in January for “spreading false information and misusing social networks,” and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

If you join me in making a contribution, of any amount, to CRNI and send the screenshot of the receipt to me at with the subject “CRNI DONATION” by 6/25/21 11:59pm ET, you’ll be entered in a random drawing for a free Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse (2020) book.

Alright, now I’m done.

This week’s Classic Tom the Dancing Bug (published on GoComics yesterday) is “Lucky Ducky, in ‘Fear Itself’” (from 2014).

And this week the GoComics Super-Fun-Pak Comix page has featured comics from this installment (from 2006).

That’s certainly enough for one week.

Below, as always, you will find a picture of Otis. Here he is sporting his new summer haircut, and he looks awfully skinny. I’m not crazy about how they left his tail with long hair, making him look a little too fancy for my taste, but clearly Otis is more interested in the fact that it’s Suppertime.

With all that’s going on, if you feel that this is a good time to join Tom the Dancing Bug’s INNER HIVE, the team that gets each week’s comic at least a day before it’s published anywhere, and that makes the comic strip possible, I’m not going to argue with you. Information is below.

Until Then, I Remain, Yours Indeed,


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The Tom the Dancing Bug Newsletter. Copyright 2021 Ruben Bolling.