Ruben Bolling, pen name Ken Fisher, named 2017 Herblock Prize winner

WASHINGTON, DC, Wednesday, February 23th, 2017 – Ruben Bolling, pen name for Ken Fisher, has been named the winner of the 2017 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.

Ruben Bolling is the author of the weekly comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication to many newspapers across North America.  It also appears on:, one of the most linked-to websites in the world;, the U.S.’s largest progressive blog; and, the largest comic strip website.

“Tom the Dancing Bug” is a free-format comic strip that uses varying types of humor, artistic styles and formats.  It’s an unusual strip in that in any given week, it could feature a spoof, a multi-panel sketch, political or absurdist humor, recurring characters or caricatures of real people.  But during 2016, political subject matter was at its heart, as it mostly dealt with the election and the rise to power of Donald Trump.

Ruben Bolling was the Finalist for the 2016 Herblock Award.  He was the 2014 winner of the Society of Illustrators Best Cartoon Award in its Art Annual.  In 2011, Bolling won the Sigma Delta Chi Award from The Society of Professional Journalists, for Editorial Cartooning.  “Tom the Dancing Bug” has been twice-nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip or Panel, and has won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Award for Best Cartoon five times.

Ruben Bolling has authored three Tom the Dancing Bug compilation books:  Thrilling Tom the Dancing Bug Stories (Andrews McMeel, 2004); All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From My Golf-Playing Cats (NBM Publishing, 1997); and Tom the Dancing Bug (HarperCollins, 1992).

In 2015, Ruben Bolling started a series of chapter books for children called the EMU Club Adventures.  The first two installments, Alien Invasion in My Backyard and Ghostly Thief of Time, were both published in 2015 by Andrews McMeel.

In addition to the weekly comic strip, The New Yorker has published full page color cartoons by Bolling, and original comics by Bolling have been published in such magazines as Nickelodeon, Mad Magazine, ESPN The Magazine and Harper’s.

Bolling lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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. Ruben Bolling will receive the Prize on March 29th in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress. Representative John Lewis, the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony.

Judges for this year’s contest were Mark Fiore, editorial cartoonist in animation and winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize; Matt Wuerker, editorial cartoonist for Politico and 2010 Herblock Prize winner; and Martha Kennedy, curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art at the Library of Congress.

Mark Fiore added, “Ruben Bolling’s cartoons are consistently sharp, funny and incredibly original. His use of recurring characters, like Hollingsworth Hound and Lucky Ducky, add a wonderfully inventive richness to his masterful satire. Bolling’s deft skewering operates under the cover of silly cartoon fun.”

Wuerker stated, “Ruben Bolling created his own unique style of political cartoon, one that’s full of sly allusions and clever twists. Tom the Dancing Bug pushed the form into new territory with imaginative tropes, deft imagery and provocative allegory. He makes his political points with a humor and writing style that’s fresh and singularly his own.”

This year’s finalist is Marty Two Bulls Sr., a freelance cartoonist who has drawn editorial cartoons for the Indian Country Today Media Network since 2001. He will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize. Fiore commented, “The cartoons of Marty Two Bulls, Sr. take a hard-hitting look at issues impacting native peoples. His bold style screams with powerful messages that have been overlooked by much of society.  Two Bulls’ strong work exemplifies a courage and ferocity that is the lifeblood of a good political cartoon.”

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