Thursday 29 December 2011

2011 in review

This is the time of year when all the News Channels forget that they are meant to deal with the present and future tense and go into an annual nostalgia-fest for all the big stories of the year.  Following suit here at I give you a retrospective about what events I termed news worthy this year as well as a look at why cartoonists try to be topical.


Andy Gray and Richard Keyes fired from Sky for sexiest comments.
The first rule of topical cartooning is to draw what is in the news.  You may find an obscure world news item about Elephant trafficing interesting but the bigger the story the bigger the audience for it.  The story about the sky commentators is really a minor HR issue in the grand scheme of things but it filled the news cycle for several days and that made it cartoon worthy.


The Arab Spring
Generally topical cartoons take the mickey out of current events which is harder when serious issues and lives are at stake.  Often a way round that is to contrast that with events back home as I attempted to do here with this strip about democracy and Reward Stickers.


Japanese Tsunami
No other news story of 2011 affected me as much as the Japanese tsunami.  It stopped me cartooning for days as it didn't seem right to be making jokes after such a huge tragedy.  When I did try and cover it again I had to contrast it with what was happening back here.


Sometimes you just go for the obvious joke.  At the time I did this one on Super Injunctions I thought it was rather lame until I saw a similar gag got published in Private Eye.


AV referendum
I managed to get a series out of the AV referendum attempting to cover all sides which I hope to reuse when Nick Clegg becomes Prime Minister and holds another AV referendum.

Osama Bin Laden capture
Topical cartoons I like often combine two news stories in unexpected ways such as this this one on Osama's capture and the iPhone privacy issues.  Matt from the Telegraph often pulls this trick off very well.


The Rapture that wasn't
Poor Harold Camping declared the end of the world on his radio show and thanks to global media became a global figure of ridicule for several days.  However as I was to learn in this entry to the CCGB caption compedition just because something is topical doesn't make it funny.


Retirements of Space Shuttles by NASA
Talking of CCGB caption compedition entries sometimes the caption lines up so neatly with current events you have to go with it.  One of my favorites from this year (it did well but didn't get a podium place).


Start of Market Meltdown / Quantitive Easing
Another compedition entry which was the first of several economic themed cartoons.  This one predicted Quantitive Easing (QE3) was about to be announced by the US Federal Reserve - it didn't and still hasn't which just goes to show you shouldn't rely on pundits for the topical topics.

Steve Jobs steps down as Apple's CEO
I never did a tribute to Steve Jobs after his death - this was the closest I came.  Certainly his passing was big news in 2011 although the IT industry lost several other unheralded pioneers as well this year.


Satellite falling from sky doesn't hit anyone
Another topical news story about something that sort of didn't happen.  The UAR satellite had a small chance of falling on a populated area and making news but sadly for the 24 hours news machine it didn't.  You sense that every time a space agency announces a major object falling from the sky they seize on it to make us all afraid.

Carlos Tevez doesn't come on as a substitute in Bayern Munich game
My attempt at a sports story when Carlos Tevez appeared not to want to come off the bench when Mancini told him to.


Markets still in freefall
Mining the rich vein of economic gloom again with this cartoon which features two prime ministers from Greece and Italy who were removed in EU-led coups.


Euroland crashing
Perhaps my favourite economic cartoon of the year but mainly because it references another older cartoon.  It took many attempts to get Angela Merkel this wrong.


Polar Bears not born in North Pole
During advent it is all Santas and nativity but here is the closest I got with a story that TV is sometimes faked.

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