The Best Cartoons of 2019

It has become tradition to end the year with a top 10 of cartoons. With almost 200 published cartoons on our homepage and thousands of cartoons uploaded to our website in 2019 this is a very difficult and somewhat arbitrary selection, given the wealth of high-quality material to choose from.

If you are so inclined you can check out the previous top 10s here (2018) and here (2017).


1. Dino - The Face of Hate

2187-190318 Hate (Dino)_small

We love beatiful and detailed draings, but perhaps we love simplicity even more here at Cartoon Movement. And it doesn't get much simpler than this.

Published in March 2019.

2) Gatis Sluka - Lungs of the City

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Year after year, the environment remains a popular topic among cartoonists. We really liked this cartoon, which needs no words to explain the necessity of nature.

Published in April 2019.


3) Mary Zins - Ownership

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A beautiful illustration by US cartoonist Mary Zins about the right of women to make decision about their own body. Mary sadly passed away earlier this year; the loss of such a gifted artist was felt throughout the international cartooning community.

Published in May 2019.


4) Anne Derenne - Jenga

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Jenga! Do we need to say more?

Published in May 2019.


5) Mahmood Rifai - VR

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Hunger, poverty and inequality are some other staple ingredients for any cartoonist. To make an original cartoon about hunger is quite a challenge, but Mahmoud Rifai succeeded (we think) by combining the issue with the technical possibilities these days.

Published in June 2019.


6) Falco - The No York Times

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The summer, the international edition of the New York Times decided to stop running cartoons. A short-sighted and downright dumb decision, making the newspaper losing its sharp edge, as Falco so brilliantly illustrates here.

Published in June 2019.


7) Vasco Gargalo - Security Decree

2236-190620 World RefugeeDay (Gargalo)_small

Italian right-wing politician Matteo Salvini has figured in many cartoons this year, but none so popular as this one by Portuguese cartoonist cartoonist Vasco Gargalo, illustrating a new law (introduced by Salvini) that makes it illegal for NGOs to rescue migrants at sea.

Published in June 2019.


8) Halit Kurtulmus - World Politics

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2019 was again the year of men in power competing for dominance. This picture says it all.

Published in July 2019.


9) Marco De Angelis - Brazilian Flag

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The fires in the Amazon were in the international headlines for weeks, and lead to hundreds of cartoons. This one By Marco De Angelis from Italy is not only beautifully done, it also shows how the current Brazilian politics are responsible for the fires.

Published in August 2019.


10) Mello - Friendship

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Friendship can transcend boundaries. And cartoons that show this without needing words can also transcend boundaries.

Published in November 2019.

Basque Police Union Mad About Human Rights Cartoon

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Our 30 cartoons about the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  - made last year in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Office - are currently on display at a UNESCO exhibition in Getxo, a town near Bilbao, Spain.

ERNE, the police union of the Ertzaintza, the atonomous Basque police ,has protested against the cartoon illustrating article 5 (no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment). The cartoon by Brazilian artist Elihu Duayer depicts three policemen in riot gear laughing about human rights, as if they were a joke.

ERNE has demanded this cartoon be taken out of the exhibition, because they do not like to be linked to torture. However, the Getxo City Council has replied to the union that it does not intend to remove the cartoon from the exhibition, stating the vignette does not refer to the Ertzaintza, but alludes to police brutality in other countries.

ERNE will today (December 3) file a formal complaint. Read more about the controversy on this website (in Spanish) or watch this video (also in Spanish).

Talking about Cartoons at the UN

Last week, CM editor Tjeerd Royaards was invited by the Permanent Representation to the UN of the Netherlands to participate in an event at the Palace of Nations in Geneva. He talks about his experience with talking about social satire at the United Nations:

My talk focused on the shrinking space for freedom of expression in general, and for editorial cartoons in particular. Not only do we have many leaders in power that do not like to be mocked, newspaper editors seem to be getting more timid when it comes to publishing political satire (just look at the decision of the New York times earlier this year to stop publishing cartoons altogether).

To illustrate my point I made a video showing a cartoon about the current situation for cartoonists:

Now the thing about the UN is that within the halls of UN buildings you are not allowed to insult political leaders. I had hoped to get away with it by drawing a lot of them in one cartoon, but the organization that invited me was afraid they might never be allowed to host an event at the Palace of nations again if I were to show the cartoon above. So I was faced with a choice; either withdraw from the event, or censor my own work.

I try to take any opportunity I get to talk about the importance of cartoons and freedom of expression (especially at international level), so I was reluctant to cancel. Instead, I tried to think of a way to work around the constraints while still making the same point. Here's what I came up with:

In the end, there is little difference between kings fearing the jester mocking them and (authoritarian) leaders fearing the cartoonist's sharp pen. And I'm quite sure those in the audience will have recognized many of them in my altered version. Here are the two of them side by side:

191031 Tolerance

Blocked in China, Iran, Russia and Turkey


If you can read this post, you are part of the diminishing group that enjoys free access to the Internet (or using a VPN). An old saying about cartoonists states that a good cartoon always needs to piss off someone.

We tend to agree, and it seems we are doing a good job pissing off those in power, especially those despots who fear a few lines will make them lose their power. How do we know this? Cartoon Movement is currently blocked in China, Iran, Russia and Turkey.

Source: Comparitech