This Modern World

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Thismodernworld cast.jpg
Several of the main characters in This Modern World.

This Modern World is a weekly satirical comic strip by cartoonist and political commentator Tom Tomorrow (real name Dan Perkins) that covers current events from a liberal point of view. Tomorrow also runs a weblog that informs readers about stories of interest, often presented as a follow up to his cartoons. This Modern World appears mainly in alternative weekly newspapers.



Visually This Modern World draws inspiration from a retro, 1950s sensibility, with brightly colored illustrations that are also inspired by clip art. Initially, the strip was almost completely composed of actual vintage clip art and magazine cutouts, assembled collage-style and often manipulated and retouched. However, Tomorrow has gradually replaced cutouts with his own drawings, which merely mimic the clip art look. Usually drawn in four panels, it is not uncommon for all panels to be identical or nearly so, with only the dialogue and/or facial expressions changing.

The '50s theme extends to the typically verbose dialogue of his human characters which is often bubbly, over-enthusiastic, and naïve. The stupidity of the humans is countered by Sparky, a fast-talking penguin (although the strip occasionally postulates he is actually an auk) with a red visor, who provides much of the strip's political commentary.

A recurring theme in the comic books (though far less so in the strips) was that of "reality engineering", wherein "the very fabric of space and time" is mined for "the good of mankind". This periodically generates "reality discontinuities", where reality breaks down. These are (generally) resolved by reality engineers.


From 2000 to 2001, an animated This Modern World series was produced by Flickerlab for Mondo Media, with Bob Harris as the voice of Sparky. Each episode was approximately five minutes long.


  • Directed by Harold Moss
  • Writers: Harold Moss, Tom Tomorrow, Bob Harris
  • Executive Producer for Mondo Media: Jan Mallis
  • Produced by Angela Webb
  • Producer for Mondo Media: Eileen McKee
  • Animation Director: Miguel Hernandez
  • Animation: Matthew Benton, Anand Nunnally, Kareem Thompson, Angela Moy, Antonio Jimenez
  • Assistant Animators: Bill Stout, Matt Bookbinder, D.A. Strawder, Johanna Bystrom
  • Illustrations & Backgrounds: Antonio Jimenez
  • Sound Record & Mix: Tom Lino


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