Showing posts with label Tom the Dancing Bug. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom the Dancing Bug. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

PR: Winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize is Mark Fiore

[corrected 2nd paragraph]

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, DC, Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 – Mark Fiore has been named the winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Fiore is the first to win the Prize with all animated cartoon entries.

Mark Fiore, who the Wall Street Journal has called “the undisputed guru of the form,” creates animated political cartoons in San Francisco, one of the most fertile regions for creating political animation and cartoons. His work has appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site,,,,, NPR’s web site and is currently being featured on online news sites ranging from KQED and to The Progressive and Fiore’s political animation has been featured on CNN, Frontline,, and cable and broadcast outlets across the globe.

Beginning his professional life by drawing traditional political cartoons for newspapers, Fiore's work appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times. In the late 1990s, he began to experiment with animating political cartoons and, after a short stint at the San Jose Mercury News as their staff cartoonist, Fiore devoted all his energies to animation.

Mark Fiore was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning in 2010, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2004 and has twice received an Online Journalism Award for commentary from the Online News Association (2002, 2008). Fiore has received two awards for his work in new media from the National Cartoonists Society (2001, 2002), and in 2006 received The James Madison Freedom of Information Award from The Society of Professional Journalists.

The Herblock Prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for "distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock." The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy. Mark Fiore will receive the Prize on May 24th in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress. Mark Shields, a nationally known political analyst, columnist and commentator, will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony.

Judges for this year's contest were Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), editorial cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun and The Economist, winner of the 2015 Herblock Prize; Michael Rhode, archivist and author, commentator on comics for the Washington City Paper and creator of the ComicsDC blog; and Peter Kuper, alternative cartoonist and illustrator best known for his autobiographical, political, and social observations is also a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Judge Kevin Kallaugher (Kal) commented, "Mark Fiore's entry contained an engaging and powerful collection of visual commentaries.  Fiore demonstrated a great use of parody, adept writing, great visualizations and solid journalism to deliver thought provoking editorials. Like a good Herblock cartoon, Mark's work displayed a consistent and determined passion to fight against societies' ills and absurdities. It is his skilled and masterful cartoon craftsmanship steeped with determined political convictions that make Fiore's animations worthy of the Herblock Prize."

Peter Kuper added, "From the numerous high quality entries to this year's Herblock Foundation award, Mark Fiore's animation entry rose to the top. Not because it was animated, but rather because he demonstrated a consistently strong handle on his subject matter with an ability to convey complex topics with great humor, rage and irony. Fiore produced a powerful body of work that addresses a range of current events and brilliantly serves them up with a smile and a kick in the gut, heart, and other body parts. His work honors the legacy of Herblock and expands the form."

This year's finalist is Ruben Bolling, pen name for Ken Fisher. He is the author of the weekly comic strip "Tom the Dancing Bug" and will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize.  Judge Peter Kuper stated "For decades Ruben Bolling has consistently produced full page comics that find new angles of attack on familiar subjects. With subtlety, yet tremendous humor, he constructs each comic without any wasted space to build to surprising conclusions. Many of his strips take on several topics at the same time and over the years he has honed his art to deliver these ideas with great verve."

The Herb Block Foundation seeks to further the recognition and support of editorial cartooning:  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tom the Dancing Bug cartoonist raises over $4,000 for Haiti

We highlighted Ruben Bolling's campaign to raise money for Haiti when he started, and now Ruben's written in to announce the total he's raised and who won original drawings. Let's here a big round of e-pplause for Ruben and his donors. Remember you can still donate too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tom the Dancing Bug cartoonist raises money for Haiti

Tom the Dancing Bug cartoonist Ruben Bolling is raising money for Haiti - he's set up a donation page and the two highest donors will get an original drawing from him. Check it out now. [Those of us with longish memories still miss Tom from the Post's Weekend section].

Ok, I just checked it out after putting up this post - I'm the first donor. Hah! Beat that! I'll bet you can.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tom the Dancing Bug news

Remember when Tom the Dancing Bug would brighten your Weekend section as you slogged through the Washington Post on Friday? You'd skim over all the stuff you had no interest in doing in the Weekend section? And then there was Bolling's strip on the last page of the paper you read? Yeah, me too. Other people who are not Post editors must feel the same way judging from this press release I was sent today:

“Tom The Dancing Bug” Wins AAN Award:Best Cartoon in Alternative Weeklies

NEW YORK (06/09/2008) “Tom the Dancing Bug,” the weekly comic strip by Ruben Bolling, won the 2008 Best Cartoon Award from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) at the 13th annual AltWeekly Awards luncheon in Philadelphia on June 7.

This is “Tom the Dancing Bug’s” fourth win of the AAN Best Cartoon Award (it also won in 2002, 2003 and 2007). “Tom the Dancing Bug” is the only comic to have won the award more than once, and it is the only comic to have been a finalist in every year the award has been given, starting in 2001.

“Tom the Dancing Bug” is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. It can be seen at and

Contact: Kathie Kerr at or 816-360-6945

Friday, January 11, 2008

Still pointing out things in the Post

Richard "Cul de Sac Cartoonist" Thompson points out that Tom the Dancing Bug is missing from the Weekend section. Bah.

But Ann Telnaes has another animated editorial cartoon, The Legacy Tour, on the website.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weingarten on Post's comics shenanigans

In his December 18th Chatalogical Humor chat, Gene Weingarten said,

"Yes, I hate the new Sunday comics squeeze, too. It's bad and I hate it. And I hate that Weekend is losing Tom The Dancing Bug, one of the few remaining strips with a brain.

Hate, hate, hate.

with reader responses of an outpouring of love for Tom the Dancing Bug, and:

Hate, Hate, Hate: Opus has been shrunk to one quarter of its original size. Need reading glasses......

Get down to comics and smack the individual responsible!

Gene Weingarten: They don't listen to me.


Washington, D.C.: Tom the Dancing Bug is going away?! I'd cancel my subscription if I had one. I certainly won't get another subscription now. I had been considering going Friday through Sunday only, but not anymore. What's going in his space? More crap to entertain the dozen kids in the area who don't watch tv nonstop?

Gene Weingarten: I dunno. I am upset.


Bethesda, Md.: Why is Weekend dropping Tom the Dancing Bug? That's the smartest strip around. Can't they move it to Outlook or somewhere else? Should we riot?

Gene Weingarten: I would never personally endorse a riot. In fact, inciting to riot is a crime. So I would never personally endorse RIOTING. But some action is in order short of rioting.


Tom the Dancing available Thursday on -- in color no less.

Gene Weingarten: Noted. Boy, I hate posting this. DON'T READ THE POST, READ SALON!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wash Post cancels Tom the Dancing Bug UPDATED

Ruben Bolling just sent me this press release:

December 5, 2007

The Washington Post to cancel “Tom the Dancing Bug”

The Washington Post’s Weekend section has decided to drop Ruben Bolling’s weekly comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” as of the end of the year. The Weekend section has a new editor, Tracy Grant, who said that it was canceled for space reasons, and that her staffers did not object.

Ruben Bolling is extremely disappointed: “I feel that the strip has a special relationship with the readers in DC. The Washington Post is one of my earliest clients, and when they took on the comic strip, no other daily newspaper was running it. They took a big chance on me, and I hope that it continues to pay off. I get tons of emails from Post readers, and at my last appearance at a DC bookstore, there was a line out the door.”

However, Bolling said that the decision to drop the strip is not irreversible. “Tracy Grant did say that the cancelation is not written in stone. If she comes to feel that it was a mistake, she would reinstate the comic.”

“Tom the Dancing Bug” is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate to about 50 newspapers, and also appears in See


Boy, how much more can the Post do for (rather to) us this week? Sunday they announced a shrunken Sunday comics section with smaller strips and Wizard of Id dropped, and now this. It makes me reconsider being a subscriber, I must say.

Ms. Grant's contact information should be Again, the Post is attempting to shrink to be interesting, and it's not working - literally half the reason I bother looking at the Weekend section is Tom the Dancing Bug (the other half is the museum review page since they dropped the stamps column years ago. Actually I read Eve Zibart's restaurant reviews too - and I really stopped paying attention to Weekend a year ago when they dropped their independent movie reviews in favor of rehashed Style section ones).

I was talking about this last night - why do newspapers offer their readers less and less and then act surprised when they lose readers? Why not offer more? Say an annual compilation of Cul de Sac Sunday strips in a collectible booklet? Or a full-spread cartoon map of DC? Make the comics section into a collectible comic book (and not reprint 1960s Spider-Man stories like the Examiner and Marvel did)? Or make it bigger and pay a cartoonist to stretch his imagination? Put some manga in the comics - something only available in the Post? Do something that people would like to have and keep and buy the paper for?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weingarten on his comic strip and Tom the Dancing Bug

Gene Weingarten*, the Post's main humor writer, is a hardcore comic strip fan and his weekly chat frequently has a comics contest to pick the best strip of the preceeding week. This past week, Chatalogical Humor, as it's known also had two bits on comic strips.

In the first, Mr. W is queried about his plans to do his own comic strip:

Dangenecomic, AL: Welcome back. I know the book's been pressing, but what about the comic you and Dan are doing? When's it coming out? Have you contacted a syndicate? Will Gary, Jeff and Patty be giggling maniacally over your effort(s)?

Gene Weingarten: Dan and I and David Clark, the cartoonist, have finished 12 weeks worth. And as of basically today we are starting to write again. I anticipate you will see it some time after we finish 24 week's worth.

We're trying to make it as unfunny and derivative as possible, because we want to penetrate as many newspaper comics pages as possible.

Ouch. And then a story from this blog, that Comics Reporter picked up, namely the Post dropping Tom the Dancing Bug last week for Cheney-bashing, comes up:

Washington, D.C.: Since The Post did not mention it, most readers are unaware that it did not publish the current "Tom the Dancing Bug." It replaced the strip, which was harshly critical of the Vice President with an old strip. It did link to the strip on the Web site.

While I think that "Tom the Dancing Bug" is generally the the best comic in The Post not written by Richard Thompson, this one is too angry to be good. But as Comics Reporter noted: "...the Post's recent tendency to take a pass on controversial strips for no stated reason and then not tell anyone they're doing so is crappy editorial policy that badly serves the Post's readership..."

Gene Weingarten: I agree about The Post. I want to know when they kill a strip. I also don't understand why they would have the original strip on the website. We are told repeatedly that the fairness standards are the same. So I don't get it.

I believe at this time it is impossible to be unfair to Cheney. I called him "Satan" once. In the high school graduation speech I say he is "the root of all evil."

I mean, really. He makes a decision and a million fish die.

I think this Dancing Bug is quite funny. So over the top it's actually LESS critical that some criticism.

I would have liked the (missing) link to go to me, and not just Tom's blog, but que sera.

*my apologies for initially getting Mr. Weingarten's name wrong; obviously I've got to stop doing these when I'm tired.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Association of American Editorial Cartoonist Cartoonapalooza pictures again

I've added a few more pictures I took at Cartoonapalooza on July 3rd. If you already have seen the earlier ones, these are a few cartoon panels from Ruben Bolling, Mike Peters and Keith Knight including the first panel of the Post-censored Tom the Dancing Bug.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Censored Tom the Dancing Bug online now UPDATED

At Tuesday's Cartoonapalooza session, Reuben Bolling said the Post won't be running this week's Tom the Dancing Bug strip on Dick Cheney. It's online now, so you can see the strip the Post thought was piling on poor Dick after their reporters 5-days of articles about the V-P's creation of a fourth branch of government that certainly isn't the fourth estate. Bolling showed the censored strip which was of Cheney killing his aides when they brought bad news, but now we can all enjoy it.

Tom Spurgeon linked to my first post on this and reasonably said that he's not quite sure this is censorship and running one cartoonist over another can be a reasonable editorial policy. I don't disagree with that, but I do think when you choose not to run the strip the artist submits, for an admittedly political reason, and then run another older strip by the same artist, that's censorship, not just editing. But thanks for noticing Tom! Tom's got one of the two best blogs for consolidating comics news reports on the web and his site should be read every day.

To recap, as I've noted before, The Post has a pattern of censoring comics and not telling its readers as I reviewed here a few months ago.

UPDATE (after checking my notes): Just to show the Post is not alone, Ruben mentioned that the Richmond Post-Dispatch always drops the strip when God-man is featured.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Post censors Tom the Dancing Bug - AAEC breaking news

At tonight's Cartoonapalooza session, Reuben Bolling said the Post won't be running this week's Tom the Dancing Bug strip on Dick Cheney. It's not online yet, but enjoy last week's excellent King George strip, a clipping of which I got signed by Bolling tonight. Bolling showed the censored strip which was of Cheney killing his aides when they brought bad news. The Post has a pattern of censoring comics more than other pieces as I reviewed here a few months ago.

Links, more description of the event and fuzzy pictures to follow.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tom the Dancing Bug on VA Tech tragedy in Post

In the back pages of the Post's Weekend section, Reuben Bolling did a fairly tasteful cartoon on the killings at VA Tech. It's not online yet, but should eventually appear here.