Tom Tomorrow

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Tom Tomorrow
BornDan Perkins
(1961-04-05) April 5, 1961 (age 58)
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Notable works
This Modern World
Awardsfull list

Tom Tomorrow is the pen name of editorial cartoonist Dan Perkins. His weekly comic strip, This Modern World, which comments on current events, appears regularly in more than 80 newspapers across the United States and Canada as of 2015,[1] as well as on The Nation,[2] The Nib,[3] Truthout,[4] and the Daily Kos, where he was the former comics curator [5] and now is a regular contributor.[6] His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Spin, Mother Jones, Esquire, The Economist, Salon, The American Prospect, CREDO Action, and AlterNet.[7][8][5][9][10]


Perkins was first published in a magazine called Processed World. He adopted the subject matter of the consumer culture and the drudgery of work, a theme shared by the magazine, and entitled his comic strip This Modern World when it was launched in 1988. In 1990, the strip began to be run in the SF Weekly, before being picked up in the fall of 1991 by the San Francisco Examiner. During this time of expanding audiences for Perkins, he shifted the focus of his work to politics. Perkins added papers throughout the 1990s, distributing his comic via self-syndication, a practice he's continued throughout his career.[11][12]

In 1998, Perkins was asked by editor James Fallows to contribute a bi-weekly cartoon to U.S. News and World Report, but was fired less than six months later, reportedly at the direction of owner Mort Zuckerman.[13]

In 1999, Perkins had an animation deal with Saturday Night Live and produced three animated spots that were never aired.[8] In 2000 and 2001, his online animated series was the top-billed attraction in Mondo Media's lineup of mini-shows, in which the voice of Sparky the Penguin was provided by the Jeopardy! champion and author, Bob Harris.[14] Perkins has also collaborated with Michael Moore, according to a 2005 interview with Santa Cruz Metro.[15]

In December, 2007, Keith Olbermann devoted the closing segment of an episode of his show to a reading of "Bill O'Reilly's Very Useful Advice for Young People," a two-page cartoon-cover story by Perkins for The Village Voice.[16]

In 2009, Village Voice Media, publishers of 16 alternative weeklies, suspended all syndicated cartoons across their entire chain. Perkins thereby lost twelve client papers in cities including Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle,[17] prompting his friend Eddie Vedder to post an open letter on the Pearl Jam website in support of the cartoonist.[18] Vedder and Perkins had become friends after meeting at a campaign rally for Ralph Nader in 2000.[19] The collaboration between Pearl Jam and Perkins continued with an invite to submit cover art for the Backspacer album in 2009.[20] After being selected to provide the cover art for Backspacer, Perkins went on to create a series of Halloween-themed posters for the concerts supporting the album.[21]

In 2015, Perkins was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize[22] and later in the year, ran a newsmaking Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $300,000 to publish a career retrospective, 25 Years of Tomorrow.[1]

This Modern World[edit]

This Modern World is Perkins' ongoing comic strip that has been published continually for more than 25 years. While it often ridicules those in power, the strip also focuses on the average American's support for contemporary leaders and their policies, as well as the popular media's role in shaping public perception.

In addition to any politicians and celebrities depicted, the strip has several recurring characters:

  • A sunglasses-wearing penguin named "Sparky" and his Boston terrier friend, "Blinky"
  • "Biff", a generic conservative often used by Sparky as a foil
  • "Conservative Jones", a boy detective whose deductive reasoning satirizes the logic of conservative news analysts and politicians
  • The tentacle-waving aliens of planet Glox
  • The "Small Cute Dog", who was accidentally elected president on "parallel earth", and whose subsequent actions mirrored those of President George W. Bush
  • The "Invisible Hand of the Free Market Man", a superhero figure whose head is shaped like a human hand

In September 2001, he began his blog, also called This Modern World.

Personal life[edit]

Perkins, a longtime resident of both San Francisco and Brooklyn, currently lives in New York City.[23]

Works and publications[edit]

Anthologies of This Modern World

  • Tomorrow, Tom; Griffith, Bill (Introduction by) (1992). Greetings from This Modern World. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-08203-1. OCLC 903699001.
  • Tomorrow, Tom (1994). Tune in Tomorrow. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-11344-5. OCLC 30594550.
  • Tomorrow, Tom (1996). The Wrath of Sparky. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-13753-3. OCLC 34356174.
  • Tomorrow, Tom; Hitchens, Christopher (Foreword by) (1998). Penguin Soup for the Soul. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-19316-4. OCLC 39339312.
  • Tomorrow, Tom; Eggers, Dave (Introduction by) (2000). When Penguins Attack!. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-20974-2. OCLC 44132892.
  • Tomorrow, Tom (2003). The Great Big Book of Tomorrow: a Treasury of Cartoons. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-30177-4. OCLC 52086366. – a large omnibus of early work and selected strips
  • Tomorrow, Tom (2006). Hell in a Handbasket: Dispatches from the Country Formerly Known As America. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Penguin. ISBN 978-1-585-42458-0. OCLC 61229839.
  • Tomorrow, Tom (2008). The Future so Bright: I Can't Bear to Look. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 978-1-568-58402-7. OCLC 608483309.
  • Tomorrow, Tom; Moore, Michael (Foreword by) (2011). Too Much Crazy. New York: Soft Skull Press. ISBN 978-1-593-76410-4. OCLC 658117509.
  • Tomorrow, Tom; Vedder, Eddie (Foreword by) (2012). The World of Tomorrow. Easthampton, MA: Topataco. ISBN 978-1-936-56173-5. OCLC 903701151.
  • Tomorrow, Tom (2016). 25 Years of Tomorrow. Easthampton, MA: Tomorrowco Industries. ISBN 978-1-936-56133-9. OCLC 926736906. – includes pre-Modern World material
  • Tomorrow, Tom (2016). Crazy Is the New Normal. San Diego, CA: IDW Publishing. ISBN 978-1-631-40700-0. OCLC 948562092.

Children's picture book


  • 1993: Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award (MAMA)[7][25]
  • 1995: Society of Professional Journalists James Madison Freedom of Information Award[26]
  • 1998: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Cartoon, for This Modern World[27]
  • 2000: Association for Education in Journalism and Education, Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award[28]
  • 2001: James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism[29]
  • 2003: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Cartoon, for This Modern World[30]
  • 2004: AltWeekly Award, Cartoon (More than five papers), 2nd Place, for This Modern World[31]
  • 2006: AltWeekly Award, Cartoon (Four or more papers), 3rd Place, for This Modern World[31]
  • 2013: Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning[32]
  • 2015: First Place, Cartoon category, Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) Awards [33]
  • 2015: Comic Strip Gold Medal in the Society of Illustrators' Comic and Cartoon Art Annual competition[34]


  1. ^ a b "Tom Tomorrow's omnibus book tops $310,000 on Kickstarter". LA Times. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Tom Tomorrow". The Nation. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  3. ^ "Tom Tomorrow". The Nib. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  4. ^ "Cartoons". Truthout. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  5. ^ a b Cavna, Michael (March 30, 2011). "Rebel With A 'KOS': Tom Tomorrow ends Salon run to become 'comics curator' at the Daily Kos". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ "Personal Blog". This Modern World.
  7. ^ a b "Tom Tomorrow". Spitfire Tour. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  8. ^ a b "Tom Tomorrow (the Progressive Interview)". The Progressive. Retrieved 2005-11-02.
  9. ^ "CREDO Action - Comics". Working Assets. Archived from the original on 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  10. ^ "Stories by Tom Tomorrow". AlterNet. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  11. ^ Rhodes, Steve. "Tomorrow Never Knows". Mediafile. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  12. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (2016-10-08). "Animated Series Based On Acclaimed Underground Comic Strip 'This Modern World' In Works". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  13. ^ "No Mort Tomorrows". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  14. ^ "Let's Get Animated". Online Journalism Review. Retrieved 2009-05-02. See
  15. ^ "Here Today, Tom Tomorrow". Santa Cruz Metro. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  16. ^ "Runnin' Scared". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  17. ^ "Oy". thismodernworld blog. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  18. ^ "This Modern World Needs Your Help". Pearl Jam website. Archived from the original on 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2017-06-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  19. ^ Sisario, Ben. "Bad Luck Turns Good: That's Rock 'n' Roll". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  20. ^ Tom Tomorrow (2009-06-02). "Now it can be (partly) told". Tom Tomorrow. Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  21. ^ "Pearl Jam Concert Posters by Tom Tomorrow". TheBlotSays.Com. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  22. ^ Cavna, Michael. "Pulitzer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "The Very Silly Mayor". Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  25. ^ "Paley, Perkins leave Examiner for weeklies". Mediafile. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  26. ^ "Freedom of Information Award Winners". Society of Professional Journalists. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  27. ^ "30th Annual Awards - 1998 (for 1997 coverage)". Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Archived from the original on 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  28. ^ "Tom Tomorrow wins PF&R Award" (PDF). Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-09-08. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  29. ^ "James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism Recipients". James Aronson Award. Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  30. ^ "35th Annual Awards - 2003 (for 2002 coverage)". Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Archived from the original on 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  31. ^ a b "Tom Tomorrow". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Archived from the original on 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  32. ^ "Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow, announced 2013 Herblock Prize Winner". The Herb Block Foundation. February 26, 2013. Archived from the original on March 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  33. ^ "2015 AAN Awards Winners Announced". Association Of Alternative Newsmedia. July 18, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  34. ^ "Society of Illustrators announces award winners". CBR. 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2018-01-02.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]