The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
It's August 1997 and our hero - one of those mass-produced NGO men in suits earning fat salaries to stomp about the Third World doing nothing much - gets knocked out in a certain car crash in a certain Paris underpass.
Thrown from a helicopter into the sea he wakes to find himself chained down by hordes of tiny people in smiley-face masks.
They seem to have mistaken him for an ancestor he wasn't even aware of.
And off he goes on a whirlwind tour of fantasy lands much scarred as a result of his ancestor's blunderings through their territory 300 years ago - and eager to tell Gulliver exactly what they think about that.
So begins this version of Jonathan Swift's classic satire, "adapted and updated" by the scabrous pen of Star cartoonist Martin Rowson.
In truth Rowson deserves at least a co-credit. The world may be half-inched from Swift - Lilliputians, Laputans, Brobdingnagians and all - but this graphic novel is a thorough reworking rather than a hasty retread.
The satirical barbs are just as deadly but they're aimed at Rowson's favourite, and very deserving, targets.
His New Lilliput is a Tescopoly under an ever-smiling leader with a suspiciously familiar line in grand orations full of words like "change, choice, healthy, safe, prudent, compliant, sustainable and renewable, restructured and modern."
His Blefuscans are fond of hooding, shocking, waterboarding and rendering their prisoners, his Laputa would make Ban Ki Moon's ears burn, and the Houyhnhnms ... well, let's just say they've found an elegant free-market solution to the problem of the Yahoos.
As in the original, Gulliver's a hapless everyman staggering from humiliation to horror.
Rowson's inventive illustrations crackle with dark energy and make a perfect match for long-suffering Gulliver's dry-as-bones narration, delivered with a razor wit that'd do old Dean Swift proud.