Picturing the Game

by Don Weekes (CA)

$37.74 ISBN: 9780228018735

Hockey has a curious connection to editorial cartooning and sports illustration, one as old and storied as the game itself. Many writers and photographers have told the story of game play, but never from such an original, unvarnished perspective as the cartoonist’s.

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 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.

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