The cartoon mayor

Rob Ford by Toronto Star's Theo Moudakis

This Toronto Star editorial cartoon of Rob Ford reminded me of a story I wrote earlier this fall for J-Source:

Not since Mulroney’s chin has a Canadian public figure excited editorial cartoonists as much as Toronto’s new mayor-elect Rob Ford. Ford is easily cartoonable, as the abundance of editorial illustrations have already shown: take the Torontoist’s Rob Ford Gaffe-O-Meter, or anything by Brett Lamb. Writing about Ford’s appearance has already gotten the Globe and Mail some unwanted attention.

The antics of all the candidates even inspired National Post illustrator Steve Murray to run for office, albeit several days too late to qualify (watch his gracious concession speech). Since he’s already drawn many of the candidates, J-Source asked him what excites him about drawing Ford as mayor. “Cartoonists generally love shortcuts,” Murray said. “A Mulroney chin, a Reagan hairdo, these things are gold for quick identification. Ford has kind of a, um, jolly … rubenesque … kind of, uh, pleasantly round … He’s fat, okay? He’s fat and that’s easy to draw. I don’t want to lose my job, but really, if my job is to draw a fat guy, I’m going to make him fat. Miller had big hair, a bit of a death-face and bad teeth, so that’s what you play up. Ford is plump, reddish, with weird brow folds and strange little teeth. It’s not a political statement to draw him that way, it’s a cartoonist’s statement. If Smitherman won I would have gladly drawn that weird bullet-head (like one of those Mario video game bullets) with those little beady eyes that have forgotten how to smile.”

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About Dana Lacey

Freelance writer, editor and photographer
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