Thursday, August 24, 2023

"Picturing the Game: An Illustrated Story of Hockey"

 I've just received a complimentary copy of "Picturing the Game" a door-stopper that contains celebrated illustrations of our national game.

Very happy that my modest contribution was included along such an array of wonderful cartoons.

Picturing the Game transports fans into the mischievous world of caricature through the rough drafts of hockey history by Bruce MacKinnon, Aislin, Serge Chapleau, Susan Dewar, Brian Gable, and many other talented artists. 

They make us laugh by telling the truth and – perhaps – make us a little wiser about what we already suspect of the fools running the show. 

The earliest drawings collected here come from the anonymous early house artists who drew ancient play and its first audiences. 

Their work evolved into the cartooning of Arthur Racey and Lou Skuce, whose editorial and sports cartoons ran when newspapers had a virtual monopoly on news dissemination and belief in the printed word was absolute. 

Not surprisingly, the dailies became the medium that made hockey Canada’s national game.

Later, Franklin Arbuckle, Duncan Macpherson, and Len Norris animated the game’s advance through more meaningful allegory, humorous irreverence, and an underlying cultural bearing that gave each of their panels its own power and influence.

Don Cherry, commentator on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.
Bado, Le Droit, October 13, 2011

Don Weekes showcases the gifted, forward-thinking graphic journalists throughout hockey’s history whose bold aesthetic and deft draughtsmanship could always make the butt of their satire look perfectly asinine. 

Their ingenuity and perceptiveness paved the way for a journalistic showmanship that embodied a truly Canadian acerbic spirit. It was nothing short of groundbreaking, and Canada’s national game is all the better for it.

Picturing the Game: An Illustrated Story of Hockey
Don Weekes
McGill-Queen's University Press /
408 pages
460 illustrations
9"x 11"
Publication date: October 2023
ISBN: 978-0-2280-1873-5

Not included in the book is a cartoon by Aislin of yours truly lamenting the fact that the CBC would broadcast  the Leaf's games instead of those by the Montreal Canadians on Saturday night.

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