Ruben Bolling speaks at a Borders Books in Washington DC, July 7, 2007.
1963 (age 52–53)
|Tom the Dancing Bug|
|Awards||Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, Best Cartoon, 2002, 2003, 2006
Society of Professional Journalists Award for Editorial Cartooning, 2011
Ruben Bolling (born c. 1963 in New Jersey) is a pseudonym for Ken Fisher, a cartoonist, the author of Tom the Dancing Bug. His pieces demonstrate concern about the power of large corporations and satirize the way government has been corrupted by money. Particularly since 9/11, Bolling's work often concerns war. Many of his strips admit no political interpretation, instead featuring absurdist humor or parodying comic strip conventions. Bolling's lampoons of celebrity culture, such as in the parodic series of comic strips labeled "Funny, Funny, Celebs", can be scathing.
Fisher, who has no formal art training, read many comics when he was a child (his biggest influence being Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury), and sometimes features their styles in his work. However, he didn't aspire to be a full-time cartoonist; instead he studied economics as an undergraduate at Tufts University and later attended Harvard Law School (graduating in 1987). It was at Harvard in the mid-1980s that Fisher came up with the idea for "Tom the Dancing Bug" and his pseudonym, Ruben Bolling (which is a melding of the names of two old-time baseball players, Ruben Amaro and Frank Bolling). Tom the Dancing Bug originally ran in the Harvard Law School Record.
After graduation, Fisher practiced law for several years before resigning to pursue comics full-time. When that didn't work out, comic writing became a side interest and Fisher became a full-time employee at a financial services company. Tom the Dancing Bug was picked up for weekly syndication in 1997 by Universal Press Syndicate.
Fisher is currently working on building a full-time comics career, driven in part by an ongoing project with New Line Cinema to produce a movie about his character Harvey Richards, Esq., a “Lawyer for Children."
In 2012, Fisher founded a subscription service, the Inner Hive, for Tom the Dancing Bug.
In 2015, Fisher published the first in a series of children's books, The EMU Club Adventures.
Fisher is married to a lawyer; they have three children.
- 1992: Tom the Dancing Bug ISBN 0-06-096949-0
- 1997: All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From My Golf-Playing Cats ISBN 1-56163-183-3
- 2004: Thrilling Tom the Dancing Bug Stories (over-sized treasury) (Andrews McMeel) ISBN 0-7407-4737-1
- 2015: Alien Invasion in My Backyard: An EMU Club Adventure (Andrews McMeel) ISBN 978-1449457099
- 2015: Ghostly Thief of Time: An EMU Club Adventure (Andrews McMeel) ISBN 978-1449457105
- Bolonik, Kera. "The World According to Ruben Bolling," Tufts Magazine (Spring 2006).
- Elder, Robert K. "Being Ruben Bolling: An alter ego and a day job let Ken Fisher draw comics precisely as he pleases," Chicago Tribune (May 4, 2004).
- Bolling interview, Deconstructing Comics Podcast #228, (April 19, 2010).
- Come on and join Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE! Boing Boing (May 9, 2012)
- Book: Alien Invasion In My Backyard Boing Boing (April 7, 2015)