Animated Series Based On Acclaimed Underground Comic Strip ‘This Modern World’ In Works

Animation house Film Roman announced today that it has optioned This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow, the long-running and acclaimed weekly comic strip written and drawn by Dan Perkins, with plans for an episodic series to be co-executive produced by company founder and legendary animator Phil Roman. The show will be developed for either television or digital platforms with specifics to be announced at a later date.

“We are exceptionally pleased and excited to be working with Dan to adapt his fiercely insightful and hilarious strip for television or digital,” said Steve Waterman, CEO of Film Roman. “With its large and enthusiastic following, it’s a show that could work in a broadcast, cable or streaming environment, and we’re going to explore all of those options.”


One of the seminal works of underground political cartooning of the the last 30 years, This Modern World has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Economist, as well as a host of independent weeklies since its launch in 1988. The series combines a deliberately retro, clip-art artistic style with a cynically informed outlook and blistering left wing take on social and economic issues. Fronted by characters like Sparky the Wonder Penguin and his meek sidekick Blinky the Dog, as well as a fictionalized version of Perkins and numerous public figures, the series has long functioned as an up to the minute time capsule for some of the most baffling and frustrating events of the day.

The planned animated series will retain the political and social bent of the original strip and in the words of executive producer Jeff Segal, who is developing the series for Film Roman, will be aiming at “essentially the same demographic as The Simpsons“. To that end Film Roman is bringing more than 20 years of directly relevant experience: the company has produced source animation for The Simpsons since 1992, and has done the same for similarly satirical series King of The Hill, and for several Peanuts specials, among many others.

Said creator Dan Perkins about the deal, “Film Roman is the ideal company to produce a series based on the strip, considering its immensely successful track record over the years.”

Along with the planned television series, comics publisher IDW is also releasing two new This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow trade paperback collections this month, featuring strips from the last three years, along with a two-volume hardcover career retrospective covering the entirety of the series.

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