Can you spot every 2015 pop culture reference in this giant illustration?

Face front, true believers! Beutler Ink has once again gathered the biggest stories of the past year—from soaring triumphs (Pluto flyby) to sobering tragedies (Paris attacks) to stomach-turning travesties (Go Set a Watchman)—and packaged them together into a single, sprawling illustration. Loyal readers will note that this is our third such end-of-yearvisual compilation. Our best ever? Your words, not ours, friends. The glorious graphic is embedded below. Click here to purchase a copy. And scroll further down to learn how our team of top talent decided which heroes and villains made the cut, and to see an illustrated answer key identifying all of the depicted characters and events.

Excelsior, — Beutler Ink

[click image to enlarge]

Behind the scenes

Our list of pop culture-and-news items for 2015 began developing as soon as our "Here's to 2014!" graphic was posted last December. Viral content never sleeps, after all, and our team of bleary-eyed news hounds and social sleuths were adding items to our shared Google Doc as far back as Left Shark. The list really started coming together over the summer, and by the fall we were ready to start to upvoting the best and saying sayonara to the rest (we miss you already, Crying Jordan meme).

Screenshot 2015-12-08 09.51.28
Screenshot 2015-12-08 09.51.28

Characters and events

We made a special effort this year to include individuals—particularly women—who might be overlooked or simply ignored in other year-end wrap-ups. For example, we knew we had to include B.B. King in the "RIP" section at the bottom of the graphic. But we decided that the lesser-known musician Jean Ritchie—who became known as "The Mother of Folk" in the 1950s—should be highlighted alongside him. Ritchie's status at the time of her death was much smaller than King's, but her contributions to Appalachian music and scholarship shouldn't be overshadowed.

The inclusion of activist and civil rights pioneer Grace Lee Boggs in the same RIP section (back row to the right) reflects a similar appraisal. The New York Times, Washington Post, and event President Obama—a fellow community organizer—recognized the passing of Boggs in early October with kind words and praise. But most year-end retrospectives will ignore her in favor of more familiar celebrities. This is unfortunate, as Boggs' accomplishments deserve to be better known and studied by citizens interested in social movements and the fight against inequality.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 09.51.42
Screenshot 2015-12-08 09.51.42

Backdrop

Next, we decided on a setting. We were torn between a Mad Max-esque desert vista and the tropical island from Jurassic World. It would have been fun to incorporate different characters and events into the Mad Max caravans—e.g. Left Shark could have taken the role of the flaming guitar player, and Donald Trump would have been a natural Immortan Joe. But we ultimately chose the "Main Street" setting from Jurassic World as it allowed us maximum flexibility in depicting a wide variety of characters and events.

For example, no matter what setting we chose, we were struggling to figure out how to best depict the 2016 presidential candidates—especially the sprawling GOP field, which at one point featured fifteen would-be nominees. The park setting provided a fun solution: we placed the candidates’ heads in jars—Futurama-style—that resemble the incubators within the Hammond Creation Lab.

The Main Street-setting also let us use a newsstand to depict some of the year's bigger news and media stories via recognizable magazine and book covers. We included the New York magazine cover featuring 35 of Bill Cosby's accusers, the Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair cover, the David Beckham "Sexiest Man of the Year" People magazine cover, the Paper magazine Marilyn Manson issue (one of the year's more visually distinct covers), and copies of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman and Jonathan Franzen's Purity. We also included a magazine version of the Drudge Report's bear vs. Leonardo DiCaprio freakout.

With the characters, events, and setting selected, it was time to move into illustration. Our previous two "Here's to" graphics each had a unique visual style reflective of their different artists—Mario Zucca in 2013 and Noah Smith in 2014. This year, we hooked up with the very talented Luke McGarry, a Los Angeles-by-way-of-London-based designer who has done previous collage-style work for OC Weekly and Goldenvoice. Luke has a magical ability to make every single character he draws pop off of the page, as his work here clearly demonstrates. His early sketch of the graphic hit all of the marks we were hoping for, and as his submissions progressed from pencil to pen it was obvious to us that the graphic was going to look amazing.

afb147490178582ee2ac35345463c6b6
afb147490178582ee2ac35345463c6b6

We always have fun putting this project together, and we're very proud of this one. Please get in touch with us if you liked the graphic, hated the graphic, or just want to talk to us about our work more generally. We love producing fun content that gets brands noticed—just like the Boston Man noticed an amazing "sea monstah" on a magical September afternoon. Look at this thing, Jay! We gotta call the aquarium or something, bro. That thing's just dead.

An illustrated answer key is included below, along with a full list of people and events included in the graphic. How many can you identify?

2015guide
2015guide

 

  1. Robert Durst admits to murder in HBO documentary The Jinx
  2. Fetty Wap
  3. Mr. Robot debut
  4. Jon Stewart leaves The Daily Show
  5. David Letterman leaves The Late Show
  6. Stephen Colbert takes over The Late Show
  7. RIP BB King
  8. RIP Jean Ritchie
  9. RIP Jackie Collins
  10. RIP Leonard Nimoy
  11. RIP Stuart Scott
  12. RIP Yvonne Craig (Batgirl)
  13. RIP Wes Craven
  14. RIP Christopher Lee
  15. RIP Yogi Berra
  16. RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper
  17. RIP David Carr
  18. RIP Darryl Dawkins
  19. RIP Moses Malone
  20. RIP Grace Lee Boggs
  21. RIP Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (Motörhead drummer)
  22. RIP Scott Weiland
  23. RIP Oliver Sacks
  24. Google creates its new parent company, Alphabet Inc.
  25. Paris Terror Attacks
  26. Charlie Hebdo Attack
  27. UCC Shooting
  28. Black Lives Matter campaigns against violence
  29. Starbucks red cup controversy
  30. #NetflixAndChill
  31. All 10 seasons of Friends released on Netflix
  32. Drake accused of having ghostwriter, but “Hotline Bling” still breaks the internet
  33. Future tops charts with What a Time to Be Alive and DS2
  34. Ryan Adams covers Taylor Swift's 1989
  35. The Weeknd tops the charts
  36. Adele releases huge album after three-year hiatus
  37. Ronda Rousey knocked out by Holly Holm, ending Rousey's 3-year reign as champion
  38. Patriots win Super Bowl amidst DeflateGate allegations
  39. Left Shark dances to its own drummer
  40. Controversy surrounds publication of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman
  41. Drudge Report claims Leonardo DiCaprio is 'raped by a bear' in The Revenant
  42. Caitlyn Jenner completes transition
  43. Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Purity, is released
  44. David Beckham is People’s “Sexiest Man Alive”
  45. Women who were drugged and assaulted by Bill Cosby pose together for New York magazine
  46. Marilyn Manson on the cover of Paper Magazine
  47. David Cameron’s “Piggate” scandal
  48. Taiwanese Animators tackle Gawker's editorial implosion
  49. Minions released
  50. Syrian refugee crisis
  51. Mars Rover discovers water
  52. The four stiffs that also play for the Cavaliers
  53. FIFA corruption case
  54. Pitch Perfect 2 (depicted: Fat Amy)
  55. Reddit becomes obsessed with a button, panics after AMA coordinator Victoria Taylor is fired
  56. True Detective 2 is disappointing
  57. Boston man can't comprehend a sunfish
  58. Matt Damon stars in The Martian
  59. LeBron James nearly wins NBA championship by himself
  60. Warriors win NBA Championship
  61. Serena Williams completes “Serena-slam” (four Grand Slam victories in a row) before finally losing in semifinals of US Open
  62. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden decides not to enter the 2016 race
  63. Dem candidate Martin O’Malley
  64. Dem candidate Bernie Sanders
  65. Dem candidate Hillary Clinton (reading The Skimm)
  66. GOP candidate Rick Perry
  67. GOP candidate Marco Rubio
  68. GOP candidate Rick Santorum
  69. GOP candidate Donald Trump
  70. GOP candidate Scott Walker  
  71. GOP candidate Lindsey Graham
  72. GOP candidate Mike Huckabee
  73. GOP candidate Bobby Jindal
  74. GOP candidate Rand Paul
  75. GOP candidate George Pataki
  76. GOP candidate Jeb! Bush
  77. GOP candidate Ben Carson
  78. GOP candidate Chris Christie
  79. GOP candidate Ted Cruz
  80. GOP candidate Carly Fiorina
  81. Chris Paul rides banana boat
  82. DeAndre Jordan free agency saga plays out on Twitter
  83. Chandler Parsons' airplane emoji tweet
  84. Chandler Parsons
  85. Kylie Jenner runs social media
  86. Cecil the Lion killed by American dentist
  87. Mad Men finale
  88. Jon Hamm & Jennifer Westfeldt split
  89. Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale split
  90. Jon Snow seemingly dies in Game of Thrones
  91. Kermit & Miss Piggy split
  92. Zayn leaves One Direction
  93. Bill Simmons throws bombs at NFL, fired from ESPN
  94. Anti-Vax crusaders bring us back to 19th century
  95. Fifty Shades of Grey hits theaters
  96. Jurassic World hits theaters
  97. Mockingjay Pt 2 / Jennifer Lawrence
  98. Amy Schumer has a great year
  99. #squadgoals
  100. The shifting identities of Rachel Dolezal
  101. Ta-Nehisi Coates wins Genius Grant, authors Black Panther comic
  102. Apple Watch
  103. Ashley Madison leak
  104. The Dress sparks internet-wide debate
  105. #FreeTheNipple
  106. Planned Parenthood defunding / Colorado PP shooting
  107. Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet is awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize
  108. Super Mario Maker
  109. Tu YouYou awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine
  110. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  111. Apple Pencil released
  112. Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood”
  113. Kendrick Lamar releases To Pimp a Butterfly and is featured on “Bad Blood”
  114. Supreme Court ruling makes same-sex marriage a right
  115. Empire debuts and is smash hit
  116. Narcos debuts
  117. Viola Davis makes moving Emmy speech
  118. Llama chase
  119. Straight Outta Compton released
  120. Pope Francis visits Cuba and U.S.
  121. Kim Davis refuses to issue marriage licenses, maybe meets Pope
  122. Boston breaks winter snow records
  123. Ahmed Mohamed, the “clock kid”
  124. California drought forces water rationing
  125. USA wins Women’s World Cup
  126. Kansas City Royals win World Series
  127. Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup
  128. Margarita Guy aka Jimmy Buffett cameo in Jurassic World
  129. Mad Max released (depicted: "Doof Wagon")
  130. New Yorker article about the Cascadia Subduction Zone terrifies the Pacific Northwest
  131. Brian Williams (NBC News) and Bill O'Reilly (FOX News) face fabrication charges
  132. American Sniper is a huge hit
  133. Pentagon opens all combat positions to women (depicted: first two female Rangers)
  134. Iran Nuclear Deal
  135. Greece's Debt Crisis
  136. Pizza Rat
  137. Ant Man released
  138. New Horizon probe completes a Pluto flyby
  139. Nepal experiences deadly earthquake
  140. Birdman wins Oscar
  141. Grantland closes
  142. Kobe announces retirement
  143. New Star Wars film: The Force Awakens