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.
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."
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.
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."
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.)
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.
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...
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.