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This Modern World Books In Order

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Publication Order of This Modern World Books

Greetings From This Modern World (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tune In Tomorrow (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wrath of Sparky (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Penguin Soup for the Soul (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
When Penguins Attack! (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hell in a Handbasket (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Future's So Bright I Can't Bear to Look (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Very Silly Mayor (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Too Much Crazy (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crazy Is the New Normal (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tom Tomorrow: 25 Years of Tomorrow (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Life in the Stupidverse (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

This Modern World is a satirical weekly comic strip that is published in dozens of newspapers and magazines around the United States. The work of Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World comic strips have been collected into various anthologies over the years.

+The Story

This Modern World is hugely popular. The comic strips can be seen in over 80 newspapers and magazines, and that isn’t even taking into account all the online magazines and blogs.

The series began syndication in 1988, launched by a political commentator calling himself Tom Tomorrow. The comic strip was designed to not only entertain but to explore current events.

Tom uses an unmistakably left-wing lens to present facts and situations to his readers, and the cartoonist’s efforts must have struck a nerve because the reach of his works has only expanded over the year, and that includes the weblog the author runs and which he uses to expound upon the topics introduced in This Modern World.

This Modern World has a distinct art style reminiscent of clip art. Even in contemporary times and amidst the myriad of comic strips on offer, This Modern World will stand out not just because of the brightly colored pictures but also as a result of the retro look of the art that seems to harken back to the 1950s.

People who have been reading the ‘This Modern World’ series since its inception in 1988 will have noticed the gradual change in appearance. Tom Tomorrow’s work might resemble clip art but those are all his drawings.

However, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, when This Modern World first started, Tom would take real vintage clip art and magazine cutouts and he would organize them into a collage that he edited and manipulated to create the seamless product his fans loved.

One assumes that it eventually became easier and more convenient for the author to simply draw the pictures himself, especially as his deadlines grew tighter.

The average This Modern World comic strip constitutes four panels. If you look closely enough, you will realize that the images in all the panels are the same and that the only notable difference is the dialogue.

Sometimes Tom will change the expressions but only if the story being told calls for it. But the dialogue is often the most important aspect of the comic strips and even the comic books because there is a lot of it.

Tom’s human characters tend to be cheerful and enthusiastic. He also makes them naïve and almost stupid. It falls on the shoulders of a penguin character to call out that stupidity. In fact, it is through the penguin character’s dialogue that Tom Tomorrow presents his political commentary.

At one point, Tom appeared as a character in his own comic strip. He was a private eye who wore a radiation suit. However, he was eventually phased out. Other notable characters from This Modern World include Sparky the Wonder Penguin, Bob Friendly, Biff and Wanda, Biff and Betty and Blinky the Dog.

Tom also likes to include public figures like presidents and political commentators. The author does not shy away from presenting right-wing ideals in a negative light and it isn’t uncommon to find This Modern World featuring very unflattering caricatures of conservative figures like Ann Coulter and George W. Bush.

Additionally, the author never misses an opportunity to attack the military-industrial complex.


An Animated Series of This Modern World was produced between 2000 and 2001 by Mondo Media. The episodes were five minutes long.

+25 Years of Tomorrow

Tom Tomorrow came to prominence when he began using his skills as a cartoonist to document the political trappings of his surroundings. His words and his pictures came together to create This Modern World.

25 Years of Tomorrow was created as a means of bringing all the author’s works together under the same roof. Within its pages is over a thousand cartoons, this including some of the author’s more experimental works.

There have been varied responses to this collection of Tom Tomorrow’s works. While the book is a collection of cartoons and its contents are very much visual, there are a lot of words.

Tom Tomorrow has a lot of things to say about the subjects he cares about and he does so using a litany of illustrations and conversations. It takes time to consume all the content contained within this volume, and that isn’t surprising.

The volume brings together over two decades of crucial conversations about the political landscape in the United States. And individuals with a keen understanding of politics in the United States will find that this book is an accurate depiction of the way things have changed and also stayed the same over the last two decades.

The illustrations in the book encompass the Clinton, Bush and even the Obama years. There is definitely a futility in the book because the author’s representation of the arguments of the times suggests that every era of the United States political scene since the 1980s has struggled with the same level of insanity.

Tom’s artistic abilities evolve with the passing of years and readers will gain an appreciation of the growth the author has undergone as he has drawn This Modern World.

It is worth noting that the author’s left-leaning views pervade every story he writes.

+Hell in a Handbasket

This anthology of illustrations from This Modern World, Tom Tomorrow’s Weekly comic strip, continues the cartoonist and political commentator’s habit of delivering sharp and witty explorations of America’s strengths and failings.

Hell in a Handbasket is not the first anthology to bring Tom’s many cartoons to readers in a collection. However, this is the first volume to present the author’s work in full color.

The contents of this volume are mostly satire. Some of them are angry. Others are witty. Tom tries to give his views on everything from the Bush Administration to Healthcare in the United States using a left-wing lens that attempts to not only educate but also elicit laughter, possibly even outrage.

Tom doesn’t pull his punches and his work is a pretty accurate representation of the opinions he has revealed in interviews. The author works hard to challenge the views of his non-liberal readers.

Book Series In Order » Characters » This Modern World

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