The unauthorized adventure of Tom Bombadil
February 18, 2024 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Redditor "whypic" has been posting daily installments to the Glorious Tom Bombadil subreddit of an original webcomic work of fan-fiction describing an adventure of the mysterious side-character Tom Bombadil from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. In the webcomic, Bombadil is portrayed like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, and his naive enthusiasm is contrasted with the more worldly and serious elf-king Gil-Galad who is more of a "Hobbes" figure. Who is Tom Bombadil? Let "Jess of the Shire" explain. Webcomic installments 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 (Previously: Dark Bombadil) (Previously)
posted by Schmucko (24 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Amazing--after all these decades, a version of Tom Bombadil that I actually might like.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:07 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]

OMG. Badgers‽!
posted by mollweide at 6:12 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]

This is charming (and surprisingly full of Silmarillion/background lore!)
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:19 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]

It's not over?! Treachery! I have been tricked into caring about this unfinished sketchery!

This is amazing content, thank you for posting.
posted by Not A Thing at 6:36 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]

Tom very irresponsible, I do not approve.
posted by Audreynachrome at 10:00 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: You saddle goose slut.
posted by SunSnork at 11:22 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

It's okay. I hate that it's being published on Reddit, mind you. (Yeah, I'm still banging that drum, I know it's tiresome.)
posted by JHarris at 12:06 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]

Who is Tom Bombadil? Let "Jess of the Shire" explain.

Youtube channel In Deep Geek does excellent Tolkien videos: Who is Tom Bombadil?
posted by Pendragon at 12:43 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]

Bombadil is portrayed like Calvin

Getting a bit of a Snoopy vibe, with Gil-galad as Charlie Brown and Sauron (of course) as Lucy.
posted by Phanx at 1:59 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

The art is really pushing that Calvin & Hobbes comparison, but yeah, it doesn't seem appropriate here, not unless Gil-Galad is really the wisest one, which isn't what I think it's leading up to.
posted by JHarris at 3:56 AM on February 19

I like this a lot. I'm going to continue telling myself that Tom only figured out to make lines scan in the third age (when he also switched to UK spellings).
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 5:23 AM on February 19

(Also, doesn't fix being on Reddit but does at least reclaim some of the screen space)
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 5:24 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

Aw, for cute!

"Tell me, Tom, do you ever tire of this life,
In your dull little land, free of all strife?"
"Mairon ... have you met my wife?"

I'll follow the rest! I think kids would like it, although of course it couldn't be sold as a book and you can hardly let them page through Reddit for it.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:11 AM on February 19

Tom Bombadil is arguably the most interesting character in the JRRT corpus.

I am not totally on board with this interpretation, but I agree that Goldberry is hot.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:15 AM on February 19 [2 favorites]

This is delightful! I hope the author finishes the story and it's published somewhere as one piece. I was prepared to dislike it; I'm not a Bombadil fan and the cutesy art and rhyming put me off. But the last line of the first page grabbed me, the existential horror of The Ring is a great contrast to Bombadil's silliness.
posted by Nelson at 7:23 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

The art makes me think:

Calvin - Tom Bombadil
Hobbes - Goldberry
Cavlin's Dad - Gil-Galad

But it has been a while since I read any Calvin and Hobbes.
posted by eckeric at 7:29 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

Neither Goldberry nor Gil-Galad seems to fit hte role of Hobbes.

But given that Tom and a certain other character have a history...

I wonder...
posted by BiggerJ at 5:51 PM on February 19

After reading the first one I didn’t think I’d like it but decided to move on to the second, which became the third and then the fourth. I agree that Bombadil is very Calvin but I’m not sure that there’s a Hobbes, although the first panel on day 4 has a Hobbes twin. Good stuff.
posted by ashbury at 6:18 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]

The author conveniently pins a First Previous Next post so following along from the First is easy
posted by achrise at 6:25 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]

But given that Tom and a certain other character have a history...

...Old Man Willow?
posted by JHarris at 9:04 PM on February 19

The comic's reached its 26th and final page! Links (old.reddit):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 2:20 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]

I thought it was a fairly underwhelming and predictable ending, which I only mention because I really wish they had followed through with more on the idea of Sauron forsakng his war against Middle Earth and opening up a store somewhere, that's a fun idea. Where would the Nazgul be in that, salespeople? Would Melkor/Morgoth be the CEO of the chain that owns his store?

Instead, I get the sense that the creator thinks the elves were somehow wrong to fight against Sauron. It seems like this version of Tom Bombadil fundamentally doesn't understand that the forces that are overwhelming the world don't care about his innocent whimsy, and will eventually march their armies into his forest.

Now it's possible that Tom's mojo will affect them too, I can't speak for the creator of the images, or Tolkien himself either. But Tom Bombadil, Gil-Galad, Sauron, the Old Forest and Middle Earth are all fictional anyway, and anyone can put words into their mouths/events in their places. I could write a story where Tom is a hobo living in a vacant lot by the train tracks, Gil-Galad is a duck in a nearby pond, and Sauron is the real-estate developer who threatens both the lot and the pond with his plans to put in a strip mall. Or I could shuffle those roles between the characters randomly, or come up with entirely different ones, and I feel that it would be about as true to the characters and setting as this was.

If you enjoyed it then fine, I'm not trying to take away from that or be Mr Grumpy Pants, it has its fun moments. But it is a bit of a trifle when I thought, where it was going, it might end up saying something more profound.
posted by JHarris at 7:59 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]

JHarris, I think where the author was going with his view of eviis revealed in Tom's conversations with Sauron. In Tom's point of view, evil is just a painful distortion of nature, it carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. The author points out that the forest unites against Sauron only after he cuts off a tree branch in the fight. Gil-galad may be right that evil's self-destruction is not inevitable. Standard Tolkein-inspired fantasy worlds have the troubling conceit that orcs are just plain evil and the good guys should kill them whenever they find them because, duh, orcs are evil. The comic holds out the possibility of redemption and rejects that evil is an inborn trait. Tom's finding Sauron turning over a new leaf insincere is partly because the comic has to revert to the status quo (Sauron evil, ring lost) to mesh with the Lord of the Rings universe.
posted by Schmucko at 8:05 AM on February 29 [1 favorite]

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