Throwback Thursday: 7 cheeky covers and comics from the early '70s

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      In its infancy, the Georgia Straight dedicated a large portion of each publication to illustrations and comics.

      Like most of the content the Straight published at the time, the paper's art was over-the-top, outspoken, and, in the eye's of the Vancouver Police Department and then-chief city prosecutor Stewart McMorran, obscene.

      Here are a few witty pieces of art that graced the pages of the tabloid in the early '70s, when a multitude of charges were laid against the Straight, its publishers, distributors, and employees.

      The cover of the Georgia Straight's September 7 to 13, 1973 issue. It references a series of charges laid against the paper and its affiliates by Stewart McMorran.

      In response to charges laid against the Straight, comic artist Craig depicted editor Dan McLeod (centre), distribution manager Lloyd "Sharkie" Robinson, and Grasstown Bookstore sales clerk Linda Harris as cheerleaders on the cover of the Straight's September 7 to 13, 1973 issue. In a front-page story titled, "We're not saying we're harassed, BUT...", 14 different charges involving possession, distribution, and sale of "obscene" comic books are outlined in detail. In it, the author offers details about who was behind the charges: "Stewart McMorran, Vancouver's chief city prosecutor; the man responsible for all previous criminal charges against Georgia Straight, a crusader against all forms of "filth and obscenity" because he mistakenly believes it is all Mafia controlled; Vancouver's own G. Gordon Libby."

      This ad was part of the centerfold in the Straight's September 7 to 13, 1973 issue. All funds raised from the Policeman's Balls were used to cover legal fees in the Straight's "comix bust".

      The Policeman's Balls was held to raise money to cover the Straight's legal fees, but the ad for the event was every bit a ploy to make fun of local police officers as it was an advertisement for the event.  

      The cover of the Georgia Straight's October 4 to 10, 1973 issue. This was the first week that a free University Edition of the Straight was made available to UBC students, but UBC's AMS Society and student paper, the Ubyssey, attempted to ban distribution due to fears that it would take away from the Ubyssey's local advertising.

      It appears that we've always been good at sarcasm. This image appeared on the cover of the Straight the week that 26,000 free copies of a special University Edition were distributed to local universities. The paper was much larger and featured more coverage, but also more advertisements. After outcry from The Ubyssey's advertising manager John Dufort over concerns that Straight distribution would take away from the student paper's local advertising, a cover story titled "If dogs run free, why can't we? UBC attempts Straight ban" had this to say about the whole debacle: "13,000 copies of the University Edition of this newspaper are being distributed free to UBC students today and we say piss on the AMS constitution if it tries to stop even one student from deciding for him or her self what newspaper to read or not to read."

      A comic strip discussing Vancouver's fate in the January 31 to February 7, 1974 issue of the Straight, illustrated by comic artist Craig.

      The above comic is loaded with subtleties about Vancouver's identity as a little 'Big City'. Think big tourist attractions, big buildings, big buses, big entertainment, and big people. (Seriously, enlarge the image above and have a read. It's a little scary how some of the sentiments in Craig's comic ring true today.)

      The cover of the Georgia Straight's February 7 to 14, 1974 issue. Illustrated by Rand Holmes, it references his well-known Harold Hedd comic strip, which was published inside.

      Rand Holmes began working with the Straight in 1969. The above cover, featured on the February 7 to 14, 1974 issue, was dedicated to Holmes' comic strip, The Adventures of Harold Hedd. Holmes went on to create hundreds of covers, comics, and story illustrations for the Straight, and released two volumes of The Collected Adventures of Harold Hedd in 1972 and 1973. He was inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame in 2007, five years after his death.

      Rand Holmes' Harold Hedd comic strip, published in the Straight's February 7 to 14, 1974 issue.

      The above comic was featured in the February 7 to 14, 1974 issue of the Straight. I'll save myself the trouble of describing the common male problem depicted and let you do the reading...

      A particularly lewd cover of the Georgia Straight from 1975, illustrated by Rand Holmes.

      This 1975 cover by Rand Holmes corresponded with a story about sex tabloids. Like much of Holmes' work, the hilarity is in the subtle details, like the writing on the walls and the cover of the newspaper the subject is reading.