Who doesn’t hate AIG?

“Now I’m confused. Is that a black hole, or the maws of AIG?” Cartoon ?D. Barstow 2009

NOTE: My political cartoons for Slate have all been moved to The Opposite of Wrong, where I skewer all the cartoons!

Who doesn’t love a cartoon bashing AIG, the worst insurance company of all time? And there’s a dog in it for you, too.

I’m choosing this cartoon for the Illustration Friday assignment, Subtract. All artists know that to subtract means you better deal with the negative space, dude! (subtract it) This was for Slate, and I did it right before the big news broke about AIG asking for even more money, for those f-ing bonuses. On this day it was just “normal” money they wanted.

I thought AIG was an insurance company, but I? think it’s an insurance company FOR banks. But this whole idea that the world’s economy will collapse if AIG dies is a bunch of baloney. Insurance companies are always up to no good.

The Drawing

I had a somewhat modified version of this cartoon that I did years ago, when I did a whole bunch of astronomy cartoons. I knew a couple of cartoonists – Sidney Harris and Nick Downes – who were doing pretty well doing cartoons for science magazines. (And books: Whatever Happened to ‘Eureka’?: Cartoons on Science and Einstein Simplified, Revised Edition: Cartoons on Science!)

I never did do many science cartoons – just didn’t have the passion that Nick and Sidney did, I guess – but I’ve always been interested in ( amateur) astronomy, so I went to the Griffith Observatory and read some books on astronomy and physics. I won’t tell you the original caption of this cartoon, but it was about comets! What, you think cartoonists just pull the ideas out of the sky?! Research, kiddo.

Anyway, I struggled with how to paint a dark sky with stars, black hole, etc in it. I don’t usually use white paint to make stars, and night skies (or any white on black) can end up looking like a mess!

I’ve had to learn Photoshop pretty damn quickly when I’m working for? Slate all the time, but this is the first time I tried using the Lasso tool to circle chunks I wanted to paint, and filled them with the Paint Bucket, instead of painting with a brush. Wow! I really liked the big rough-edged sky – solid grey was just right for making the black hole stand out.

In this case, my negative space (Subtract!) is white. I really love using a lot of white! I don’t mind floating elements, either. :)?? I was thrilled with how this turned out.

Anyone can make comments on GoComics, where you can see this same cartoon, with comments, as well as archived cartoons. And you can check out Slate to see all my editorial cartoons as I finish them. After this, all my political cartoons will be ONLY at my editorial blog, The Opposite of Wrong. See ya there! (this cartoon originally appeared there, too.)


  1. ann marie said:

    Great cartoon! I agree that everything looks grounded even with all the white space. AIG could sure use some grounding, too!

    March 27, 2009
  2. Thanks, Ann Marie! I guess the design maxim of Alignment (align all elements for good design-in this case, lining up the dog, chair, feet) helped do me right here, but thanks for giving me another artist’s take on it.

    March 27, 2009
  3. marc said:

    first AIG is an insurance company not a bank and they completly paid off their government LOAN!!! not bailout most branches are actually doing well and by the way its spelled balogna not baloney

    October 26, 2010
    • Sorry for the delay in reply.
      Yes, I said AIG is an insurance company. It’s called a bailout, not a loan. Did they pay off all the interest from that, too? I don’t know.
      But insurance companies get the biggest tax breaks of all, and I hate that.
      Also, Wiki says baloney is the common spelling, although yours is okay, too.

      November 8, 2010

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