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Biography & Autobiography Editors, Journalists, Publishers

Professional Heckler

The Life and Art of Duncan Macpherson

by (author) Terry Mosher

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2020
Editors, Journalists, Publishers, Journalism
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2020
    List Price

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Duncan Macpherson (1924-1993) was one of the greatest of Canadian cartoonists. He began his career as an illustrator for the Montreal Standard and Weekend Magazine, then joined the ranks of Maclean's and finally the Toronto Star. He won six National Newspaper Awards and a Molson Prize, among other honours. A formidable and groundbreaking artist, he was also an alcoholic who struggled with many personal demons. Professional Heckler is the first biography of Macpherson. Written by Terry Mosher, well known under the pen name Aislin for his decades of cartoons in the Montreal Gazette, the book is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of examples of Macpherson's drawings, paintings, and cartoons, as well as archival photographs. Both an admirer of Macpherson's work and a longtime student of the art, craft, and business of cartooning, Mosher brings a professional expertise and encyclopedic knowledge of the history of cartooning that allow him to comment on facets of Macpherson's work from a practical standpoint. With humour and affection, he provides remarkable insights into the artist's character, style, influences, personal foibles, and way of working. A delight to read, Professional Heckler is a pioneering work on an influential and controversial cartoonist that makes an essential contribution to the history of visual arts in Canada.

About the author

AISLIN is the nom de plume that Terry Mosher has used for over forty years as the political cartoonist for The Gazette in Montreal. He is also President emeritus of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists and, in that capacity, he has recently served as a judge and observer at International cartoon events in Portugal, Turkey, China, Australia, and Cuba.

Terry Mosher's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Professional Heckler is a fascinating book, written in a conversational style that is quite familiar to me (and likely to many other journalists as well). It reminds me of the banter heard after a deadline has been met and the presses are rolling, when "deskers," "journos," and "photogs" finally leave their desks and wander down to the local watering hole to chat about life, and deadlines, and the next day's front-page news. Thanks to Mosher's book, we are now well-positioned to reacquaint ourselves with Macpherson's art, as well as with the joy, wit, and skill with which he lampooned many of Canada's most prominent people." Canada's History

"One maestro of satire salutes another and gives us the story not just of a life and a pen, but also of an era when Canadians relied on newspapers for informed and witty comment." Charlotte Gray

"I remember Duncan Macpherson's cartoons so well--the way he nailed the essence of a situation. What would he make of our politicians today? I often wonder."Margaret Atwood

"Duncan Macpherson was a Canadian natural resource, as important to us as softwood lumber or hydroelectric power. He had both a hand and an eye born for cartooning. We are lucky to have had him." Seth

"It is a measure of Macpherson's legacy that, many prime ministers later, it is his images that endure; the details forgotten, his subjects still resonate, as Professional Heckler shows. When he retired for the second time, in 1993, the Star published a special section. "A brawler and a gentleman," wrote one of his few close friends, the journalist Jack Brehl. One rival simply said, "He drew so bloody well."" Literary Review of Canada

"What makes Professional Heckler so engaging is the sense that it is written by no less a talent. With similar talents and demons, and both products of the same high school art program in Toronto, Mosher brings a blend of reverence, gratitude, envy and understanding of "Dunc's" career and often-mercurial life that only someone with five decades in the cartooning trenches could. A lighthearted visual romp through Canadian history and a nuanced, honest look at the life of a deeply complicated and gifted artist." Policy Magazine

"Professional Heckler is a fascinating book that gives Duncan Macpherson the enduring respect he so deserves as the dean of Canadian political cartooning. As well, it further reinforces Terry Mosher not only as the cartoonist who remarkably continues Macpherson's legacy, but also his reputation as an authority of the medium that has made him and his mentor so famous." Montreal Times

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