18 Jun. 2007

Steve Bell's War

You really should bookmark Steve Bell:

Bell is the UK Guardian's #1 cartoonist. Martin Rowson is not too far behind him.

I was unlucky enough to live in the UK for protracted periods during the long and dull post-Thatcher epoch known as The Major Years. In the cold dark days of a rather bleak London existence, Bell's cartoons became a bulkhead for my sanity. He drew John Major with a massive top lip (screaming out for a moustache), dancing around in over-sized Y-front underpants, which were worn on the outside of his suit. There were penguins from the Falklands War still wandering through his strips, and monkeys with attitude giving street-wise advice. I used to buy The Guardian newspaper every day, mostly for the cartoon, and part of me died whenever Bell took a vacation.

What's best about Steve Bell's cartoons is that they capture an idea which is almost always critical to a deeper understanding of the issues of the day (and frequently not evident in the press reports). It's one thing to be funny, but you need to be very well-informed on a wide range of subjects to keep coming up with cartoons like these day after day.