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[Editor's note: Click the arrows above to see 12 Raeside classics and his comments about them.]

A lot has changed since Adrian Raeside took up his craft more than 35 years ago. In those days, editorial cartoonists fiercely stalked the land, sustained by flourishing newsprint.

Now Raeside considers himself one of an endangered species. "I think, statistically, there are more panda bears that can juggle running chainsaws than there are editorial cartoonists," he said. "Unfortunately our habitat, which of course is mostly bars and strip clubs, is not being protected by the government, which I find appalling."

Raeside draws his cartooned barbs for the Victoria Times Colonist, and has collected quite a few in a new book, The Best of Adrian Raeside, published by Harbour. Raeside told The Tyee he produced the book "to make money and meet girls" -- but also to serve as a time capsule of three decades of B.C. political history, as well as for editorial cartoons as a medium. Fifteen years from now, he mused, "there may not be editorial cartoons."

If that future were to come to pass, it would be a great loss to the public conversation. Editorial cartoons can "cut closer to the bone" than columns or editorials, Raeside said, because they're so instantly understandable. The best editorial cartoons take only a few seconds to read and understand, and can show premiers as complete idiots without having to come out and say those words, he said.

The death of editorial cartoons would be an even greater loss to a province as eminently lampoon-able as B.C. People here are passionate about so many things that there's always a controversy to weigh in on or make jokes about, Raeside said. "People come out on the streets because they really care about stuff here, and that's what makes this province interesting."

Increasingly, people gather on Twitter feeds and Facebook networks, too. Maybe that will keep his species alive, if it can adapt. "I hope that people are still going to want to get their news online and get their cartoons online," Raeside reflected.

"I've got a few more years yet, so I hope to be part of it. It's up to the industry and how it evolves as to what role I'll play in it."

Cartoons from The Best of Adrian Raeside are republished here with permission from Harbour Publishing.  [Tyee]

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