Steve Bell’s If … Won’t Quite Reach 40 Years

Steve Bell’s If …, the Monday through Thursday comic strip for The Guardian, will end on Thursday, April 29, 2021 after nearly 40 years.

From The Press Gazette:

Monday’s column teased the impending end to the long-standing political cartoon, which began in November 1981, with the final edition to be published on Thursday.

Bell, whose annual freelance contract was up for renewal this month, estimated he has penned more than 8,300 If… strips for the Guardian (starting with six a week and ending with four) and 4,600 editorial cartoons.

Last year the thinking was that The Guardian wouldn’t renew Steve Bell’s contract when the time came, apparently a new contract will be signed ending Steve Bell’s If … and halving his editorial cartooning output.

More from The Press Gazette article:

A Guardian News and Media spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Steve Bell’s If… column will be coming to an end, but he will continue drawing regularly for the Guardian’s comment section.”

He will continue providing large editorial cartoons for the leader page – two every other week and one on alternate weeks, down from his current three per week.

Bell told Press Gazette his work had in fact been cut down due to cost reductions, noting that his price had gone up incrementally over his many years with the paper, which likely wanted to find someone cheaper.

[Bell] added: “Maybe I’m out of kilter with the zeitgeist. My stuff is probably too vulgar for the current regime. I will be interested to see what the response of the readers is.”

The Press Gazette article details Steve Bell’s past of “afflicting the comfortable.”

The Guardian has a 13 year archive of Steve Bell’s If … including the most recent.
© Steve Bell