Check out Sparky, your favorite corporate crime and political corruption-fighting penguin, now in full-color and full-motion. That's right. This Modern World, the wacky creation of San Francisco cartoonist Dan Perkins (a.k.a. Tom Tomorrow) that graces the pages of most of the country's alternative weeklies has made the leap to moving pictures with a series of web-based animated shorts.
In a hilarious pre-election episode titled 'Flippers of Fury,' our familiar hero Sparky the Wonder Penguin -- himself a candidate for president -- studies the ways of the political maverick from a pink feather boa-clad Jesse Ventura before heading off to battle his way into the debates alongside Ralph Nader.
A more recent episode satirizes the inauguration, poking fun at Dubya's uncanny resemblance to MAD magazine's Alfred E. Newman. Sparky and his canine sidekick Blinky consider crashing the inaugural ball. But after watching as an annoying Al Gore-bot whines about losing the election and Bush accepts a payoff from Bill Gates, our heroes opt to go home and watch the Meg Ryan marathon on cable.
At Perkins' website you'll find links to new animated shorts as well as his comic strip archives. Enjoy what Kurt Vonnegut calls Tom Tomorrow's 'wry voice of American common sense, humor and decency.'
--Sara V. Buckwitz
o This Modern World
o 'Flippers of Fury'
o Media Diet: Tom Tomorrow, Nicole Duclos, Utne Reader