Molly Crabapple's Occupy Wall Street "Vampire Squid" poster, for your printing/stenciling pleasure

Artist Molly Crabapple created this downloadable, printable, stencil-able, remixable poster with an excellent reference to Matt Taibbi's classic characterization of Wall Street fraudsters: a bunch of vampire squids.


  1. I like the metaphor, but vampire squids don’t have prominent suckers or independent arms; they have webbed arms lined with sharp tooth-like structures.

    They are known for wearing top hats though.

  2. if I recall the proper quote; vampire squids should have blood funnels…for sticking into the money, yes?

    Instead: 6 and one half armed octopus with a top hat.  

    1. if I recall the proper quote; vampire squids should have blood funnels…for sticking into the money, yes?

      But bankers don’t so much suck out the money as receive it from their deluded prey. Maybe a G-string would be appropriate.

  3. There is a long and dark history of using “bankers” and octopi in propaganda (global zionist conspiracy, etc). People looking to discredit the movement will sieze upon these things. Surely we can find better metaphors without the history.

    1. Close, however the octopus was first used to represent corporations in the 1900’s. Specifically there was a political cartoon who labeled the oil industry as the oil octopus. This is because octopuses have many arms that control many different things, it’s a sane, cogent metaphor. 

      The crazies are just latching onto that, but that won’t discredit the movement, they latch on to every single possible metaphor. 

    2. Do you seriously think this is going to be successfully labeled as a grassroots anti-semitic uprising because of one metaphorical poster?

  4. Not directly stencillable in its present form, I don’t think.  Reworking into a stencillable form might not be too hard, but the white lettering on the cephalopod’s head would end up looking very different.

  5. Appreciate the thought, and the top hat is a nice touch, but the image isn’t very Vampire and isn’t very Squid, is it?

  6. I do like the poster, but does it really need a ‘Design by Molly Crabapple’ plugged into the corner? Probably every link to this is going to mention her, at least for a while. Just toss the thing out to the commons and let it go.

  7. Bloodsucking, many-tentacled vampire squid (or octopus, artistic license) seems very appropriate now.

    Feel free to create your own meme.

  8. This is disappointing and not even a decent metaphor, and a disservice to a really interesting animal. It’s not even a squid. Still, it gets us one step closer to #octopiwallstreet.

  9. as a jew organizing a yom kippur service friday night at OWS ( ), who organized a shabbat potluck last friday at OWS, and who has been fighting with neo-nazis in the OWS IRC chats on one hand, and with anti-zionist bloggers on the other over their insistence to flail anti-israel posters before tv cameras during the OWS protests, i’m particularly sensitive to the antisemitism issue. the use of this particular image is very unfortunate, though knowing that molly crabapple is herself jewish, it is clearly not intended to be antisemitic. there is actually a very interesting website called vulgar army ( ) that documents the use of octopi in political cartoons throughout history which clearly shows that the image has been used to tarnish far more than just jews, and thus could not be construed as being specifically antisemitic. however, it does conjure up various negative associations for jews and thus should likely be avoided should you desire to make them feel comfortable participating in the demonstrations.

  10. The “vampire squid” comment was very specifically aimed at Goldman Sachs, not Wall Street in general. The author of this article and the artist’s interpretation are wrong.

  11. uh oh. this one has a very high !!ouch!! factor for european ppl.
    hint: you must avoid everything which reminds the viewer of woodcuts / engravings / mainstream line art of the 30s ….yes, you DEFINITELY want to go for a polished 21st century look, everything else is, this google search:

    …while not containing a lot of kraken should give you a general idea of what images you are evoking here….scary.

    1. Wait, so all woodcuts and engravings are off limits?  A whole art form right out the window?

      1. yup, i’m afraid they are.
        bold strokes, energetic lines, angular shilouettes …. the whole stalin/hitler power-to-the-people-hail-to-the-ubermensch-leni-riefenstahl-does-olympics enchilada. oh – charcoal drawings, too. totally off limits.

        why, when it’s quite obvious that there’s nothing inherently wrong with it?

        because they have been used in progapanda before.
        it doesn’t matter if the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ side did use them, people still remember. it’s a meme.

        so, anytime i see a anthropomorphic squid crushing something, , i can’t help but think “jewish world domination as envisioned by the nazis” – the  handcarved 1920esque font doesn’t exactly help, either.

        it’s a natural reaction shared by anybody who has ever seen these disgusting posters – if you don’t believe me, ask yourself if these two ideas would work:

        semiotic transfer: bearded guy with a top hat, outstretched finger pointing at you. very starry and stripey. can you use him for whatever product you want, *** can you have him deliver ANY message without a lot of implicit connotations ?

        emblematic transfer:  a fat, jolly santa rendered in manga style. green hair. on a sled with a lot of speed lines, drawn by young girls in lederhosen and reindeer caps with antlers.
        *** do you still think “coca cola” ?

        final thought:
        OWS is not the dark side. the dark side uses images of the enemy to inspire hate and/or ridicule. the yoda side uses cute, fluffy imagery. 

        take a dollar bill, keep the outer border, lose the center image, fill center with a fluffy bunny nibbling a dandelion. have him wear the eye-in-the-pyramid as image on a basecap or on a chain around his neck.
        new world, new currency, new meaning.


        [/rant]   ;)

  12. I completely agree with some posters above who have commented about this possibly being seen as an anti-semitic image.

    I am very uncomfortable with the use of this image. It is bad enough that there has been a very deep current of anti-semitic feeling on both the left and right in these last few troubled years, and I think that it is time that people realize this.

    I fully agree that our system needs complete reform, but let us not resort to these tactics to win the battle.

  13. now if we could just find an image that everybody agrees is poli…OMFG it’s raping the word ‘OCCUPY’!
    Quick, somebody call Japan, La Blue Girl – Save us!!!

  14. This artwork comes pre-impeached.  

    It appears someone was offended when i linked the liability in using it to the liability attached to another pre-impeached icon, which itself is emblematic of getting stuck dealing with something one would rather be rid of.  something from the Br’er Rabbit stories.  You might want to reflect on that and your response to it.   The octopus icon is a bad idea for the same reason.

  15. Was Norris’s The Octopus, about the railroads choking out competition in California ca. 1900, anti-Semitic? I don’t think so.

    The OWS folks have been damn good, from what I’ve seen, about curbing the fringier aspects of the protest, BTW. I think they know what they’re doing, concern trolls concerns notwithstanding.

    1. If you say so.  I see the octopus icon, in this context, and I instantly thought of some virulent antisemitic artwork i’ve seen.

      Now you talk about concern trolls.  I am concerned.  Overnight, here, on BoingBoing, i’ve seen calls for (or sympathy or expressions of support for) placing caltrops in parking garages, throwing stones, rioting, and beheading.

      It’s  out of the ordinary.  In my mind it suggests a coalescing zeitgeist. 

      Then, on the photostream you linked overnight, the first picture i see has a guy holding a sign “Class War Ahead”. 

      Yes.  I am definitely concerned.

  16. like the #octopiwallstreet poster above, i think the message is clear:  the message couldn’t possibly be more muddled, therefore, a problematic, controversial, misidentified quasi cthuloid denizen of the deep is a perfect mascot– “Octie, the Wall Street Occupying Octopus”– if the protesters identify *with* a lovable, intelligent, curious sea creature, then reword the graphic, you have your ‘scary anti-zionist conspiracy imagery’ problem solved.

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