2014 Seen Through Cartoons

So, 2014. It wasn’t the world’s best year. But, it was a great year for technology, ISIS, Putin, botched executions, belligerent soldier-cops, weed, terrible politicians, Ebola, and perpetually Bad Media.

Feeling nostalgic, already? Here are the highlights—in cartoons, of course — from this year’s top stories.


Advances in technology were particularly significant this year. Google continues to swallow companies and expand its empire. The devices we hold close are becoming part of our anatomy, and they contain our most important and personal information.

Technological progress is largely encouraging — it’s helping people organize for good causes all over the world. What’s concerning is what happens when this technology is used to repress us.

A Cross-Section of Google Search Engine — Click here for annotations

International Politics

2014 saw the entrance of ISIS into the political arena, embodying medieval principles of religious extremism and demonstrating a striking tech-savviness as they took over large swaths of Iraq. If anyone still had their doubts, the rise of ISIS highlighted how tragic the legacy of our occupation continues to be there. Initially hoping to distance the U.S. from the consequences of our invasion, the Obama administration decided to try and solve Iraq’s issues with more bombs. Our nation’s short-term memory problems were clearly seen when Secretary of State John Kerry tried to shame Putin for his intervention in Ukraine.

The incompetency at the Veteran’s Administration showed that when soldiers return, we never stop lying to them.

National Politics

In the U.S., rampant issues with police brutality and racism within the justice system were particularly visible this year. At the same time, the nation realized how dangerous it is to have the police being trained and armed like the military.

And in spite of our widespread sense of moral superiority when it comes to justice in America, a number of cases showed how cruel and unusual the death penalty in the U.S. can really be.

In cases like the expanding “Stand Your Ground” laws, it’s important to look for whose interests are really being represented.

It was a good year for weed. But it’s also been a great year for the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries that are about to make bank off it.

It’s all about that green.

Early this year, David Brooks wrote about how he thinks pot (but not prison) could be a moral hazard to our youth.

In U.S. elections politics, the Supreme Court continued on its bullshit trajectory of allowing more representation to those who can afford it and less representation for those who need it most.

One good reason to vote — THEY don’t want you to.

On immigration policy, our politicians—especially those in the GOP—seem to be confusing some of our oldest values as a nation in their attempts to block children from Central America from entering the country.

I may have been reading a lot of Joe Sacco around this time.

The Media

The media found a lot of really great stories to misreport on this year, and I found a good character to represent them and their incompetence as they reported on stories like the missing Malaysian airliner, Ebola, and Ferguson.

Missing Malaysian Airliner

The Ebola Outbreak


Regardless of the trash-quality content of the news, I’ve had a great time drawing cartoons about it this year. Working part-time has given me a good space to work at becoming a better cartoonist and artist.

I plan to continue drawing regular political cartoons, but I’m also looking forward to expanding the types of projects I work on. I wrote and illustrated an editorial on “Our Responsibility to Iraq,” after the rise of ISIS but before the U.S. announced military action. I tried my hand at infographics this year, illustrated a childrens book, and I’m also working on a graphic adaptation of a George Orwell story.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my cartoons and writing and given me feedback. You can follow my work here on Medium or at my website, dannott.com.

Here’s to a better year in 2015!

-Dan Nott