“Down with the causeway!” That refrain became part of Cape Breton vernacular through the comic stylings of General John Cabot Trail, a.k.a. the late Dave Harley, of the satirical Cape Breton Liberation Army (CBLA).
The CBLA and its generals were the brainchild of Sydney Mines native Paul “Moose” MacKinnon, whose self-published Old Trout Funnies satirized Cape Breton politics and popular culture during the Island’s cultural renaissance of the 1970s and 1980s.
MacKinnon also created annual CBLA calendars, between 1979 and 2000, lampooning and lamenting hundreds of well-known Cape Breton personalities through detailed caricatures.
The Funnies, the calendars and other of Paul MacKinnon’s comic creations are the subject of a new book from CBU Press: Old Trout Funnies: The Comic Origins of the Cape Breton Liberation Army (now in stores).
Introduced, contextualized and annotated by folklorist Ian Brodie (Cape Breton University), the book reprints all three issues of the Funnies, the lesser-known series Old Trout Minis, the CBLA calendars and some one-off cartoon strips, all by Mr. MacKinnon.
The CBU Art Gallery is currently exhibiting select images of MacKinnon’s work.
The official launch of the book will take place at McConnell Memorial Library in Sydney on Wednesday, December 16, 7-9 p.m. Mr. MacKinnon will also be at the Martha Hollett Memorial Library in Sydney Mines, on Thursday, December 17, 7-8 p.m. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Everyone is welcome.