Riding the big red dog
Tom the Dancing Bug in a major motion picture
This week’s comic is “Political Follies,” starring the Daft Democrats and the Rascally Republicans, who are up to their usual hilarious hijinx!
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The Clifford the Big Red Dog was released on Wednesday, and as you would expect, Tom the Dancing Bug played a big part. This is adapted from a Twitter thread from Wednesday:
The Clifford the Big Red Dog movie is out, and kudos to them for giving the ne'er-do-well goofy uncle character played by Jack Whitehall the subtextual backstory of being a subversive cartoonist fighting economic and racial injustice!
The truck he lives in is his headquarters for the creation of art that exposes the deeply racist and corrupt rot that undergirds the United States. Prominently displayed is his depiction of ingrained prejudice and violent racism.
Who would have guessed that this bumbling uncle uses his art to savagely critique America's atavistic fetishization of ways of life that are immoral and environmentally catastrophic?
As uncle and niece discuss the unfairness of the persecution of their outlier/differently-colored pet, and their economic disadvantage in snooty NYC society, most viewers will barely notice the reference to a ferocious takedown of our immorally stratified society.
And is it a coincidence that as our subversive illustrator is being harassed by the authorities for daring to live his unconventional, outspoken life, over his shoulder can be seen a nod to the creeping Fascism of our nation?
The uncle’s truck is clearly the nerve center of this subtext, but its themes are throughout the movie. It’s about a evil corporate profiteer trying to lay ownership claim on an autonomous being, who is defeated by a girl professing fellowship and egalitarian community.
The color of the giant dog?
But the filmmakers are far too clear-eyed for a fully happy ending; they must subtly undermine the fairy tale. What is the "happy" outcome for the subversive artist who'd been fighting for his vision of fairness and justice from his proletariat truck? A desk job at a corporation.
In fairness, if this drawing is supposed to represent Uncle Casey’s self-portrait illustration, his artwork improved quite a bit from when he drew ridiculous comics in a truck.
A more full (actual, surprisingly detailed) story about how I got involved in the Clifford movie, will be in next week’s Inner Hive mailing!
This Newsletter’s Clifford content made it too large to send out with its customary Classic Tom the Dancing Bug, Super-Fun-Pak Comix, and Otis pic, so I’ll have to try to catch up next week.
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Two new Tom the Dancing Bug books are being published in November, and are now available for pre-order! You can reserve your copies today.
TOM THE DANCING BUG AWAKENS, VOLUME 6 IN THE COMPLETE TOM THE DANCING BUG -- 2012-2015. This volume covers the Obama years and the rise of Trump, and it includes the introduction of the 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.
TOM THE DANCING BUG, WITHOUT THE BAD ONES: 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.
Ordering info here.
The back cover of Tom the Dancing Bug Awakens:
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The Tom the Dancing Bug Newsletter. Copyright 2021 Ruben Bolling.