This is amazing news - one of my favourite cartoonists finally receives his due. I was starting to think that he had slipped through the cracks of cartoon history. From Fantagraphics:
Rand Holmes was Canada’s most revolutionary artist in his heyday, the star cartoonist at the Georgia Straight newspaper in British Columbia during the 1970s. His hippie hero, Harold Hedd, became the spokesman of the emerging counterculture as he avoided work, explored free love, and flouted drug laws. The Adventures of Harold Hedd spread across the globe in the wave of underground comix and newspapers of the era and Holmes became famous — or at least notorious. While his comic character was bold and blatant, the artist was shy and quiet, well on his way to becoming a complete hermit.
Holmes’ life story is richly illustrated with drawings, comic strips, watercolors, and paintings that span his whole career, from the hot rod cartoons he drew as a teenager, dozens of covers for the Georgia Straight, pornographic cartoons for the sex tabloid Vancouver Star, to complete comic stories from Slow Death Funnies, Dope Comix, All Canadian Beaver, Death Rattle, Grateful Dead Comix, and many more.
My crazy hippie parents had a copy of this Herald Hedd collection lying around for years and in between consuming Mad magazines and National Lampoons, I would often thumb through it and marvel not only at the way-out humour, but also Holmes' amazing cartooning ability. The guy was a fantastic draftsman, surprisingly old-school, and his meticulous inking something that I could only ever hope to dream to aspire to.
It's probably no coincidence then that I basically followed in his foot-steps as the unofficial house cartoonist for the Georgia Straight starting back in the 80's a few years after he'd flown the coop to homestead in the Gulf Islands. In many ways my character Wombat was a new wave cousin to Harold Hedd - a trouble-making loafer and status quo convention-flaunter with a penchant for getting fucked up - but again, rendered with decidedly less than his genius drawing talents. But I like to think that I was keeping the torch alive, however inferior the flame.
Tattered and yellowed with a few dubious (doobie-ous?) stains gracing its interior, I still have the comic, saved at the last minute from a trip to the trash bin in the days my parents started ditching the bell bottoms and macrame owls.