Sherman’s Lagoon is an imaginary lagoon somewhere in the tropics, inhabited by a cast of sea creatures whose lives are curiously similar to our own. Through his comic strip, cartoonist Jim Toomey explores many of the issues that we face daily in our world on dry land. By putting them in a different context, he helps us laugh at ourselves. His characters attempt new business ventures, go on disastrous dates, try fad diets and read the latest best-selling books. But, they also have problems that are unique to fish. Should you bring shrimp to the holiday party? Will shrimp be there?
Sherman, the main character, is a great white shark who is completely unaware of how intimidating his species can be. He gets pushed around by the other characters, namely: Hawthorne the hermit crab, Fillmore the sea turtle, and his wife, Megan, who is another great white shark, of course.
There is also an educational aspect to the strip that gives it a unique place in the comics. Toomey explores environmental themes in a light, apolitical way. And, he takes his characters on road trips, where they explore different parts of the ocean and meet native animals along the way.
Sherman’s Lagoon appeals to adults and children alike. Children, pre-teens and teens enjoy its underwater theme and the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of life in the ocean. Adults enjoy the social commentary that is a common thread in the strip.
Awards and Distinctions:
Jim Toomey has been twice awarded the Environmental Hero Award, given by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “for using art and humor to conserve and protect our marine heritage.”
Sherman’s Lagoon has been made into a high school musical, which premiered at the Bentley School in Lafayette, Calif.
Toomey has currently published 18 Sherman’s Lagoon books through Andrews McMeel.
For the past 20 years, Jim Toomey has been writing and drawing the daily comic strip Sherman's Lagoon, which is syndicated to over 250 newspapers in North America, including The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Toronto Star. It also appears in more than 30 foreign countries, in French, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian and Swedish. Toomey recently completed his 18th book, published by Andrews McMeel.
Sherman's Lagoon combines two of his life-long passions: art and the sea. In addition to drawing his comic strip, Jim is active in marine conservation. The conservation message in his comic strip earned him the Environmental Hero Award, in 2000, presented by NOAA on behalf of Vice President Al Gore “for using art and humor to conserve and protect our marine heritage,” and again in 2010. His comic characters and other illustrations appear in educational materials published by NOAA, the United Nations, and a variety of non-profit organizations for the purpose of raising awareness of the oceans. Jim routinely speaks in front of younger audiences, at aquariums and conferences, using live drawing and humor to convey the importance of protecting our oceans.
In April of 2010, he was invited to join a group of noted marine biologists, Hollywood celebrities, and business leaders in an ocean-themed TED conference in the Galapagos. His TED Talk can be viewed at http://www.ted.com. He has given similar talks at a variety of venues, from the Royal Society in London to Harvard University to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to his daughter’s kindergarten class. Jim has been featured in many of his client newspapers, Wired magazine, National Public Radio and Discovery Channel’s "Shark Week."
Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Duke University, a Masters of Arts from Stanford University, and recently returned to Duke to earn a Masters of Environmental Management.
Jim currently lives in Annapolis, Md., with his wife and two children.
He's a happy-go-lucky shark who might share a popsicle with you one day and eat you the next. Being a great white shark, Sherman's hardware is daunting, however his software was never properly installed. The other Lagoonies take comfort in the fact that whatever intelligence he does possess is completely negated by his laziness. The only person Sherman manages to outsmart consistently is Captain Quigley, a crusty old fisherman who would give anything to see him stuffed, mounted, and hanging in a Red Lobster.
Size and attitude are oftentimes inversely proportional as the laptop crab with the mainframe disposition demonstrates time and time again. He's a toe-pinching, penny-pinching, party pooping, macho, beer can-dwelling, woke-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-life hermit crab who's a little too much crab and not enough hermit, thank you very much.
Inside that ruthless, man-eating exterior is a demure, nurturing woman trying to get out. Megan keeps her husband, Sherman, on a short leash.
Sherman's pensive sidekick provides the anchor of sensibility for an otherwise eccentric cast. Not that Fillmore is a normal, well adjusted sea turtle; far from it. He's bookish and slightly pompous, however he's sensitive and principled, and right most of the time.
Like a brilliant brain surgeon turned to safe cracking, Ernest channels his precocious intellect towards nefarious ends. Ernest is an inspiration to all nerds who have grown tired of video games and yearn for a more fulfilling level of destruction.
Bob feeds on garbage, small anchors, hand guns, and other assorted items that sink to the bottom. His tongue is always hanging out, his bug eyes are never quite lined up, and he communicates exclusively in burps and grunts.
The crusty peg-legged sea captain has an endless supply of elaborate traps to unleash against the Great White Shark but the beast continues to elude him. Years ago, Quigley lost a leg to Sherman (there's no free lunch) and now he's determined to exact his revenge.
He's the polar bear who's perpetually on vacation. Ever since Thornton floated into the lagoon on a stray iceberg a few winters ago he realized that life on the tundra is not all it's cracked up to be. He now spends all his winters on Kapupu Island where he lies on the beach reading Tom Clancy novels and sipping frozen fruit drinks.