If... (comic)

If... is an ongoing political comic strip which appears in the UK newspaper The Guardian, written and drawn by Steve Bell since its creation in 1981.[1]


If... is a sharp and cynical satirisation of British politics and current affairs from a left-wing perspective, named after the famous Rudyard Kipling poem.[1] Suiting both Bell's anarchic artistic style and the paper's political stance, it consists of a short (usually three-panel) daily episode in each Monday to Thursday edition of the paper, with subjects usually covered in these 4-day-long segments. If... occasionally utilises wordplay and coarse humour - Bell is fond of using the pejorative British word "wanker" and its euphemistic variants, for example. With the Guardian's move to new presses, If... started to appear in full colour in September 2005. Initially, the title was reflected in the concept, with each week presenting a separate stand-alone story such as 'If... Dinosaurs roamed Fleet Street,' or 'If The Bash Street Kids ran the country'. This shifted into a different approach during the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas war, when Bell started to concentrate on two central characters: Royal Navy seaman Kipling and the Penguin he befriends.


Many of the political and other public figures who are lampooned gain in-joke characteristics, which often build into plot strands of their own. Examples include:

Prime ministers

Leaders of the opposition

Other political figures

Recurring characters

There are also numerous characters who come and go over time. These characters often have an exaggerated nonsensicality, fitting Bell's style - most obviously their politics, which are sometimes portrayed as hopelessly idealist. They include:

Over the course of the strip the penguin has brought in his partner Gloria and fathered several children and grandchildren, including Prudence who, in a reference to mixed race children, had a lovechild with a rat. (The Penguin disapproved but later flippantly revealed he was himself half-albatross when drunk on rum). Occasionally the penguins live on the island of Rockall, where they occasionally set up a socialist commune.


External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.