September 23rd 1968  (Age 53)

<< August 2007 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 01 02 03 04
05 06 07 08 09 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Your messages are being regularly deleted.

RSS feed

Check out some
of my travel photos...
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from cartoonist2006. Make your own badge here.

Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website:

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Winston Churchill

MacKay's cartoon archive
Who is Graeme MacKay?
MacKay's Photo Album
MacKay's Blog
MacKay's miscellaneous caricatures
Canada Gallery
Ontario Gallery
Hamilton Gallery
USA Gallery
World Gallery
Iraq Gallery
Stephen Harper Gallery
Paul Martin Gallery
Sheila Copps Gallery
MacKay's old comic strip
Buy a MacKay reprint
Add a cartoon to your blog
See my old list of links
Tips for aspiring cartoonists


Custom Search
Inaugural Front Pages
Judging Presidents
Presidential Gathering
2008 Review
The Ignatieff Era
RIP: Stephane Dion
Wreckless Coalition
U.S. Day of Decision
Election Prediction
'08 Federal Election HQ
Election Whining
ACEC Banff Convention II
ACEC Banff Convention
Canada at the Olympics
Cartoon Clichés
Radovan Karadzic
Zimbabwe's Mugabe
The Bay Sell Off
The New Yorker Controversy
Hugs for Hamilton
Green Shift
George Carlin
Apology to Natives
Hillary Clinton
Holmes on Harper's Home
Know Your Famous Cartoons
Harry Stinson Strikes Back
Pope Benedict's Red Shoes
Trevor Garwood-Jones
Germany and Afghanistan
Parallel Shepherds
A Cougar Cartoon
Ye Olde Pot and Kettle cliche
Clinton and Obama VS. Canada
The Great Bagel War Part II
Vote for me
Afghanistan and Petty Canadian
The Montreal Bagel Challenge
Ken Dryden visits
The Manley Report
Save the Lister Block
Campaign 2008 Begins
Editorial Cartooning Q&A
Cartoon year in Review: Canada
Cartoon year in Review: Ontario
Cartoon year in Review: Hamilton
Spelling disasters and Isotope
Jean Chretien and Global Warming
The Chocolate Cartel
Karlheinz Schreiber goes to Ottawa
Remembrance Day Confusion
Ottawa Halloween
Editorial Cartooning 101
Dion in the dog house
Gore gets a cold shoulder
The day after the election
Election Endorsement
Hitting the nail on the head
Ivor Wynne neverendum
Greg Sorbara, Puppetmaster
John Tory: Up Close
Mulroney vs. Trudeau
Canadian War Museum Bombing
Gridlock: Hammercab
Alas & Alack
The Cold War Then and Now
Death of a Cliche
Le Tour de Farce
The Games of Hamilton
The Anti-Editorial Cartoonists
Life and its Lessons
The 50th AAEC Convention
Onward Ho...
Front Pager
Rahimi Benefit Review
The Pope's Driving Commandment
Elizabeth May at the Spec
The Advance of Balsillie
McGuinty comes to work
The Rahimi Family Benefit
Feedback from a school tour
Are the politicians crazy?
Picking the ripest of the crop
From a Global Warming Skeptic
MacKay in China
Not so bright light bulbs
Green Stuff
Boris Yeltsin
Killed Cartoons
The Theatre of City Council
Presenting your caricature
Attack Ads
Attracting the french audience
Drawing on the world
Creating a combo cartoon
YouTubing Animation
Budget Day Revision
Roll up the rim rant
St. Patrick's Day
Pipe Dream Capital of Canada
Our Anglican at Lambeth
Ad Parodies
One year of Caledonia
Drawing Terrorists
David Suzuki Event
Groundhog Day
A Hamilton East Cartoon Chronology
Roy Carless Book
The Greens conquer cartoons
Bollywood Dalton
From the mailbag
Nice Way to Start the Year
A Year in Review II
A Year in Review
Cartooning Stephane Dion
Stephane Dion
Farewell Paul Martin
Stan Keyes Weighs in?
Missing the boat
Turkey time
Outrage and Congratulations
Worth Repeating: Justin Trudeau
Harper and the Chinese
Evolution of a cartoon
Raising the Hammer on Satire
Failing to Predict an Upset
Executing a Hanging
Income Trust Glaze Over
A lefty rant... against guess who?
Rant, Rant, Rant...
Iraq's Turning Point
Caledonia Cartoon Outrage
Drawing from life
The Ups and Downs of Stan Keyes
Caledonia Freedom March
Retraction and Distraction
Conservative Environmentalism
Municipal Disgrace
Lib. leadership by the numbers
Drawing on the Liberal Leaders
Cartooning in 2006: Reuse, Recycle
Low Points: Cartooning
Pinning down the issue du jour
Pete and Condi's Pictou Coffee
NDP Stupid Gas
Happy Anniversary
The loosened tie of Dalton McGuinty
Joanna Chapman
Cartooning the Crocodile Hunter
Canada's Buffoon Leader
Cartooning the Future
...And another Pet Peeve...
Icicle Lights Rant: 2006 Edition
"Entertainment Tonight" news
What the?
A Three Cartoon Day
Fairy Tale Series
Blogging Who's Who
Fun with Logos
Measured cartoon
Floyd Landris' Package
Advanced drawing
The August Long Weekend Monday
MacKay's Atlas of the world
A coffee rant
Common Cliches, and Metaphors
The new Dalton McGuinty Gallery
Conference Tables
Dalton Assad? Bashir McGuinty?
Scene of a newspaper
The Pot God of Hamilton
Not so nuanced on complainers
A nation of complainers
Ticat Critics
France versus Hamilton
Peeing up a storm
Pope Cartoons
The background on backgrounds
What to draw when politicians
Jumping the Shark
What to draw?
World Cup Disconnect
The Lister Saga
Still recovering after Denver
A half baked Cartoon
Sex, drugs, and watering down
 Local Cartoons
The joys of Photoshop cheating
Blog Rejig
Anger Management
Pushing the Envelope
Who's Dog the Bounty Hunter?
Heightened Editorial Sensitivity
Go ahead and 'Bite Me'
The Beginning

If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

rss feed

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Gridlock: A cartoonstrip featuring Hammercab

Above: celebrating New Years the staff of Hammercab, from left to right: Sammy Singh, Bev, Edward (aka Edgar), and Eddie Wight, a.k.a. Whitey

Speaking of past cartoon strips I have drawn, here's a more recent strip that ran between 1999 and 2003. Gridlock featured 5 characters who worked at a fictitious local taxi company called Hammercab. Like Alas and Alack, Gridlock's creation came about through a partnership, with me as illustrator, and Spec colleague Wade Hemsworth who wrote the scripts. On its first day of printing, on July 3, 1999, editor-in-chief Kirk LaPointe introduced it this way,

"We are one of the few papers anywhere to attempt such a portrait of its communities. Our belief is that our region offers great source material. We can afford to laugh at ourselves without getting mean-spirited, and Gridlock is one way we'll share a chuckle at our plight...The aim is to keep the cartoon current. Whatever afflicts or infects the region, positively and otherwise, will make its way into Gridlock. But there will be time and room for general musing, too."

Since it was born over the Canada Day weekend, we commemorated each anniversary of Gridlock with a song as shown above and below.

The strip went through an evolution of different shapes and frequency. In the beginning it was a three or four panel black & white strip published 3 times a week. Then, it moved to the front page, became colour, and took on a rectangular gag cartoon shape. We can actually blame 9/11 for removing it from the front page, when the Spectator higher uppers felt it wasn't the right time to put humour on the cover. After 9/11 Gridlock took on the large multiple panel strip shape you see from the examples.

The above cartoon features me as the customer being rushed to the hospital for the birth of my first daughter, Gillian. It's a favourite of mine since it ran around the time she was actually born -- now Gillian's approaching her sixth birthday.

The above cartoon was also one of the last Gridlock strips. Since creating the strip was a freelance gig requiring several hours outside work to illustrate, I found it a bit frustrating to draw. I'm not too fond of drawing cars, and the composition of the strips relied on templates with some photoshop tweaking here and there. It became creatively limiting working within the confines of scripts and I found, as an editorial cartoonist with solitary instincts, quite bored with Gridlock.

When plans were made to trim the alloted space we were used to getting it was decided to unceremoniously end Gridlock for good. There were no tears, no replacement, no letters from the public. 

Looking back though, I'm discovering appreciation for the old strip. Many remain timeless. Others remind us of people and politicians who are no longer around. Some other favourites of mine which feature every day things and special guests:

The 407 ETR
The Hippy
The Peregrin Falcon
Pope John Paul II
Martha Stewart
Prince Charles

Of course you can always check out more on the old Gridlock website.

Posted at 10:22 am by Graeme_MacKay


Leave a Comment:


Homepage (optional)


Previous Entry Home Next Entry