Around New Year many editorial cartoons use the convenient trope of Father Time as the personification of the previous year (or "the Old Year") who typically "hands over" the duties of time to the equally allegorical Baby New Year (or "the New Year"). Father Time is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, somewhat worse for wear, dressed in a robe, carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (which represents time's constant one-way movement, and more generally and abstractly, entropy). This image derives from several sources, including the Grim Reaper and Chronos, the Greek god Lord of time in Greek mythology (source: Wikipedia).
In Chris Riddell's cartoon from The Observer the baby boy personifying 2012 is heading down a path which leads to a series of problems and crises shown on the signpost (North Korea, Eurozone Crisis, Climate Change, etc.). Father Time tells him, "Cheer up, kid. How bad can it be?..." The cartoonist seems to be suggesting very bad indeed!
• Schrank cartoon (The Independent on Sunday)