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Comic Strip / Tom the Dancing Bug

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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 Postmodernism 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. He is omnipotent and completely untouchable. On the rare occasions he fails, it's because he chooses to.
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  • Billy Dare, Boy Adventurer: An Affectionate Parody of Tintin, which spoofs Action/Adventure Tropes.
  • Lucky Ducky: A poverty-stricken Duck, often without a job or healthcare or even a home. He unintentionally enrages his Arch-Enemy and Unknown Rival, the obscenely wealthy businessman Hollingsworth Hound, who views the fact that Lucky Ducky survives on benefits and state-run charities as a personal slight because Hollingsworth's taxes pay for them.
  • Charley: A Fish out of Temporal Water australopithecus. How he ended up in 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.
  • Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveller from 1909: Self-explanatory, really. While Percival tries to right terrible past wrongs (primarily killing Hitler), he's too much of a scatterbrained fool to even come close, and mostly makes things worse through paradoxes or his own stupidity.
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  • Super-Fun-Pak Comix: Parodies newspaper comics.

In 2015 the spinoff The Comic Strip That Has A Finale Every Day was launched. This is based on an old Super-Fun-Pak Comix strip.

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. His wife points out that this doesn't change all the other universes where he was still shot.
  • Author Tract: Just see the premise of Lucky Ducky and guess whether the author is conservative or liberal.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Evil, Inc.: Nerrex is the comic's go-to fictional soulless corporation. It typically only receives passing mentions, to show how corporate evil is easily ignored.
  • 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 God in a superhero costume. Omnipotent, omniscient, and able to defeat His enemies by slightly moving His elbow. It is the page image for a reason.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: One issue of Super-Fun-Pak Comix has Donald Trump hijacking every comic and talking about how he has been elected President.
  • Insane Proprietor: Parodied with "Crazy Morty", who's adverts are a 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.
  • Non-Indicative Name: No, it's not about a dancing bug called Tom. Far from it.
    • All of the Billy Dare strips are supposedly part of an ongoing story titled "Smugglers' Cape", but very few of them feature any smugglers (or any continuity between strips, for that matter.)
  • "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.
  • Super Hero Gods: God-Man.
  • Techno Babble: Mercilessly parodied in the November 18, 2000 strip. Bonus Hypocritical Humor!
  • 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.


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