Big Bad World

Big Bad World

Still being trickled on from a great height

Drawing this latest 'Trickle Up Economics' cartoon for the October 2011 mag, I was very conscious that it was a kind of 'reverse riff' on my first ever Big Bad World cartoon for the NI. But I was then pretty gobsmacked to discover it's in fact almost exactly 20 years since that cartoon appeared- in the Sept 1991 issue.

Aside from all kinds of rushes of nostalgia about still having hair, and the pre digital age of actually posting the cartoons in the mail, it also struck me how relevant the original continues to be. Is that a sign that Big Bad World sometimes hits on a raw, fundamental truth... or is it an alarming reminder of how little things have changed?

Your move...

This one's passionately dedicated to the Arab Spring and Occupy the Square movements - some of the most exciting things to happen in radical politics for ages... unless your only source of news is the corporate media, who are studiously and blatantly following Chomsky's description of how they behave - to paraphrase - "Good censorship consists of mentioning something just a little bit, but mainly ignoring it ... particularly when it threatens your own vested interests."

Polyp's chess board cartoon, with pawns surround fallen kings

Despite its apparent simplicity, I can't remember the last time the editorial process for a cartoon was so complex - I got through about 6 different versions of this before it became fixed. Perhaps good ideas are the ones that, after an initial flash of inspiration, involve the most fussing and faffing..?

And that process hasn't stopped yet... it's proving as difficult to choose even an informal name for this, as it was to finalize it. Any ideas? I've a few, but hey, you're the audience... the comments form is below... your move!

By the way, this cartoon is 100% copyright free... please feel free to share it any way you see fit... particularly with all those fine rebellious pawns taking over the squares themselves...

Polyp is one of New Internationalist's regular cartoonists. His website can be found at

Bono: tax dodger

It really felt like sticking my neck out in 2003, having a go at Bono, Sting and St Bob in the following full page story in the NI’s music issue, and sure enough we got complaints…

By the time of Live 8 no-one batted an eyelid over this one of Geldof…

I’d previously ‘got away’ with having a go at a Sting type figure as well…

The new Bono cartoon was initially a rough for my Big Bad World strip, but Chris, my NI editor, felt that by the time the next available mag was published in Sept, it’d look old hat, what with uncut planning to protest Bono at Glastonbury this month…

Bono tax dodging cartoon by polyp

I put together the rough by lazily cutting and pasting Bono’s head from the Rock Star Kidnap strip, and once it was agreed it wasn’t going in the NI, a penny dropped and I thought UK Uncut would love it, so I drew it up using the old artwork for speed, and put it out as a freebie via facebook.

Today I got a message saying it’s being turned into a sticker for Glastonbury! Result!

Editor’s note: To enlarge images, use the option in the View menu of your browser, or click on them. For a closer look at the issue of tax avoidance, take a look at our October 2008 issue, and in particular its keynote article, ‘Tax justice and the global fiddle’. You may notice a certain Irish rock star lurking at the bottom.


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