Throwback Thursday – Aislin’s Still Nailin’ It

Aislin aka Terry Mosher, based in Montreal, is one of Canada’s best-known and most respected political cartoonists. And I was fortunate enough to work with him years ago, although “with” is a relative term. 

His latest collection (his 49th book!) is a career retrospective: From Trudeau to Trudeau – Fifty Years of Aislin Cartoons. I’d love to copy of some of his wonderful stuff here but I have a deep appreciation for copyright and a strong aversion to lawsuits. He’s easily found with a Google search. However, I can show you the drawings he did for the cover of Celebrity Tantrums: The Official Dirt, my first book, published in 2003.

cover is green with a yellow starburst and features bang-on drawings of Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Madonna, Bill Clinton, Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen

Each drawing hints at what the celebrity’s story is about. Bill Clinton’s saxophone serves as his favourite body part, Woody Allen’s wife is in the stroller and Mike Tyson looks pleased with the torn ear dangling from his teeth. I met up with Aislin at Moses Znaimer’s ideacity Conference in Toronto to preview his drawings on a laptop before the book was published. I was “approving” the artwork but in truth, I was over the moon that Aislin had been hired to do it. His vision – and mine – involved all of the characters lined up beside each other. I remember us both giggling as he proudly showed me what he had done. However, the publisher felt the cartoons would have to be too small to fit on the cover in one row, so they were split up. It didn’t really matter to me. I had a book! I was excited.

When the book came out, the publisher flew me to Montreal to do some TV and radio appearances and I did phone interviews all over Canada, the States and the UK for weeks and weeks. Conservative US talk show hosts forced me to comment on Canada’s lack of support for the war in Iraq. Most interviewers wondered how I’d react if one of the celebrities got in touch because they were upset about the book. My standard answer at the time: I hope to hear from Alec Baldwin and let him yell at me over dinner. It was a fun ride until the publisher’s partners split up, but that’s a story for another day.

To be able to draw well is one thing, but to have a wit and insight so quick that you can make a definite, sometimes definitive comment on a tough topic, such as Quebec’s new face-covering law, in just hours, is a talent few can master. Aislin is one of the few.

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