Thrilling Tom the Dancing Bug Stories as Told By Ruben Bolling


Just before his birthday cartoonist Ruben Bolling was interviewed (this being posted a day after the birthday). But no special occasion is needed to talk to the Herblock Prize winning cartoonist. If the opportunity presents itself, grab it; and Stephen Roth did.

Stephen starts with what everyone has been wondering about.

Q: Is “Ruben” a family name, and why not spell it like the sandwich?
A: Ruben is a family name (it is my fake name, and I am in my family), and I spell it exactly like my sandwich does.

Then goes into less controversial areas.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a political cartoonist?
A: I still haven’t decided to be a political cartoonist! Since the rise of Trump, I feel like I’ve been temporarily conscripted into service.  Tom the Dancing Bug began as an apolitical comic strip…

Not all of the answers can be taken as seriously as the Ruben name response.

I’m not talented enough to pick a subject or a target and then be sure I’ll come up with a great comic. Nor do I think of lots of comics ideas and then choose the best one. My process is that I stare at a blank piece of paper for a long time, or write very stupid things on it, and then, eventually, suddenly, one idea comes to me. One. And that’s the Tom the Dancing Bug for that week.

Then later in the interview he declares that one of his current favorite recurring features is Super-Fun-Pak Comix where he must come up with several subjects for one page.



The full interview is at the GoComics blog, and among the comic strip samples is a fascinating look at one that goes from idea sketch to pen and ink to finished page.