Comic Strip: Tom the Dancing Bug
Tom the Dancing Bug
is a weekly satirical Comic Strip
by Ruben Bolling (Pen Name
for Ken Fisher). It mostly deals with current events in American politics from a liberal viewpoint, but sometimes it also ventures out into straight-up Post Modernism
and/or absurdist humor
The comic features a wide range of recurring characters and segments of which the most notable are:
- God-Man: Grandpa God as a Superhero. His solutions to His problems tend to be either overly complex or overly simple and, quite often, not all that well thought out.
- Billy Dare, Boy Adventurer: An Affectionate Parody of Tintin, which parodies Action Adventure Tropes.
- Lucky Ducky: A Duck who despite being poor and often going without job or home, always manages to unintentionally enrage his Arch-Enemy and Unknown Rival, the obscenely wealthy businessman Hollingsworth Hound, who views any joy or luck in Lucky Ducky's life, no matter how small, to be a personal slight against him because they obviously happen at the expense of the rich. A parody of Uncle Scrooge and Gladstone Gander, riffing on the Lucky Duckies of Wall Street Journal editorial fame.
- Charley: A Fish out of Temporal Water australopithecus. How he ended up in the modern times is never explained.
- Louis Maltby: An ordinary teenager with self-esteem issues. Most of the parts featuring him focus on his internal conflicts.
- Super-Fun-Pak Comix: Parodies the Sunday funnies.
This comic contains examples of:
- Alternate Universe: When God-Man arrives too late to stop a man from being shot, He solves the problem by transporting the man into an alternate universe in which he wasn't shot.
- Awful Wedded Life: One of the Super-Fun-Pak Comix is "Marital Mirth", which is essentially The Lockhorns with its thin veneer of jocularity removed.
- The Cat Came Back: The strip for January 4, 2003 had Lucky Ducky trick Hollingsworth Hound. Lucky Ducky had died, but the wealthy dog found him alive in more than one place, consuming too many government services. It turned out that Lucky Ducky was a group of identical ducks.
- Comically Invincible Hero: God-Man.
- Create Your Own Villain: God-Man invokes this by subtly influencing somebody from his birth onward to become a crook, just so God-Man has a villain to fight.
- Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded in "Deus ex Machina", with God-Man teleporting Billy Dare away from Spikes of Doom. "I've been suddenly rescued by some force utterly outside the context of this narrative!" After this, God-Man invokes a Distant Finale and Billy Dare is suddenly many years older.
- Expy: James K Poult is a satire on Mallard Fillmore.
- Fetus Terrible: Bad Fetus, a remorseless cop killer and terrorist.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome and Phlebotinum Induced Stupidity: Both tropes appear in "Flowers for Trinitron". A television causes stupidity. A man is watching NYPD Blue when the cable goes out. The man, cut from TV, becomes gradually smarter over the next six days. He reads East of Eden, volunteers at a homeless shelter, and shifts his handwriting from print to cursive. He is about to destroy his TV, when the cable comes back and Wheel of Fortune comes on. The man soon reverts to stupidity.
- Gay Conservative: A panel from this strip is the current page image. The strip argues that the "new gay stereotype" for men is middle-aged, married, conservative, and Armoured Closet Gay.
- Genre Savvy: Billy Dare uses his knowledge of the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality to keep his sidekick alive by asking him to have unresolved backstory. The villain attempts to copy this, but only manages to come up with sympathetic backstory, which gets him killed.
- God-Mode Sue: Invoked and parodied with God-Man, who is omnipotent, omniscient, and able to defeat His enemies by slightly moving His elbow. It is the page image for a reason.
- Insane Proprietor: Parodied with "Crazy Morty", who's adverts are are collection of insane rambling and nonsensical prices, and an included note from his doctor that Morty actually is clinically insane. Followed up by "Medicated Morty", who offers "low, but still sane prices".
- Logic Bomb: The Paradoxer tries to defeat God Man by convincing him to create a rock that even he cannot lift. But then God God Man shows up and saves the day!
- Loser Protagonist: The titular character of "Dinkle, the UnLovable Loser", who really is such a highly unpleasant and malevolent person, that it is probably for the better that he never wins.
- Nipple and Dimed: Parodied in a Billy Dare strip. A breastfeeding woman is told to leave the panel because "...this is a family comic strip." Meanwhile, Billy is shooting a bunch of Mooks to death in the background.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Parodied in "Roshomon Comics". Max's Tale and Doug's Tale disagree. The Bird's Tale is no help, because the bird only saw the top of the speech balloons, matching both previous tales. The Toaster Oven's Tale provides nothing.
- Unreliable Voiceover: In one Billy Dare strip, the narration obviously does not match what we see in each comic panel. At the end, Billy Dare murders the narrator.
- Word Salad Title: There are no characters named "Tom", nor are there any dancing bugs. Word of God says it's because the newspaper editor said the strip needed a title, so he came up with the most nonsensical name he could think of.