420 special: The Top Ten Pot-Heads in Comics

It’s 4-20 you degenerate low-lives.

Welcome to my blog.

It's "Mary Jane" and her dreaded catch phrase. We all know what it means.

As a straight laced kid from the suburbs growing up in the late sixties, I never cared much for the drug culture or its humor.  I didn’t like Cheech and Chong records or Wonder Warthog comics, and the Grateful Dead were for those bigger kids who skipped auto-shop a lot.  But around the time I turned 18, Paul McCartney was busted for possession of one hundred and thirty-eight kilos of wacky weed in his luggage by the Japanese, and I figured pot smokers can’t be all bad.  The man wrote Hey Jude, for God’s sake.

My drugs of choice turn out to be caffeine and sugar, conveniently blended into a Coca-Cola, which I treat like a life altering addiction, but in celebration of today’s hippie holiday, for all the great music that cannabis brought my generation, and in some sense of minor protest for all the poor innocent people in jail because of insane prohibition laws, I present to you…

#10- Buddy Bradley

It's morning in America.

As our art-form’s most self-destructive asshole (and I’m including Doctor Doom in that), Peter Bagge’s delightful anti-hero, Buddy Bradley obsesses over old records, argues with everyone he knows, and gets high a lot.  That thrilling lifestyle has sustained the character for decades of a drain circling angst-com unfolding in various series alternately named “NEAT STUFF” or “HATE”.    Lately, Buddy’s dream is to become the crazy, one-eyed, old man who lives at your local junk yard, proving that stoners don’t always let their ambitions atrophy.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Peter Bagge has said Buddy is part auto-biography, so when visiting Peter, bring thai stick and an eye-patch.

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#9 – Tank Girl

It's impossible to find an image of Tank Girl without some smoke in her mouth.

Like most of the young women you know, Jamie Hewlitt’s Tank Girl lives in an armored assault vehicle in a post-something Australia, devotes herself to anarchy, smokes da blunts like Snoop Dog’s chimney,  and dates a mutated kangaroo. Tank Girl comics are exercises in delightfully surreal nonsense with no discernible point, which is also what you get after a good drag of some Toledo Window Box, so I’m told. The 1995 motion picture (starring Lori Petty) turned this obscure cult character into a much more famous obscure cult character.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Mr. Hewlitt also created a fictional cartoon band called the Gorillaz which made some amazing albums and videos about ten years ago.

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#8 – Jughead Jones

He barely opens his eyes, he’s lazy and aimless, he plays a musical instrument, he’s constantly got the munchies and has a strange disinterest in his sex drive….when you add that to the fact that “jug” and “pot” are almost synonyms, Pothead Jones has been hiding in plain sight for decades.
There are moments where he believes he talks to his dog.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

He’s been so blitzed for fifty years, Jughead never noticed other  people stopped wearing that hat.

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#7 – Spider Jerusalem

Created by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson in 1997 for a series called TRANSMETROPOLITAN, Spider Jerusalem was reportedly inspired by Doonsebury’s Uncle Duke, who was originally inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, who was entirely inspired by illegal substances.  Spider lives in a futuristic world that has eliminated the bad side of drug use, including addiction and lung cancer, so every citizen is free to smoke the remains of Keith Richards if the mood hits them, and with Spider, it often does.  In between trying a little of every chemical he can find, Mr. Jerusalem is a cyberpunk/gonzo journalist that topples governments with his columns, all created while he’s so baked he has no hope of remembering a word he’s written by the next day.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Before Spider shaves off his beard and gets a haircut in the first issue, he resembles legendary grass-ingester, Alan Moore.   It’s a “tribute”, apparently.

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#6 – Fritz the Cat

Robert Crumb’s iconic underground comic character became iconic because it was adapted into an iconic underground movie by Ralph Bakshi a few years after the not-so-iconic comics came out.  A casual glance at anything Crumb worked on at the time involved illicit sex, racist imagery, misogyny and drug use on nearly every page, so Fritz wasn’t especially important in the grand scheme of things.  But the animated film blew America’s mind when movie-goers across the heartland watched a cartoon cat do this in 1972:

Pictured: Things Sylvester Pussycat did not do.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

After the film came out, Crumb was so disappointed in it, that he quickly killed off Fritz the Cat with an ice-pick to the head, delivered by an groupie/obsessed fan who loved Fritz’s movie and didn’t take rejection well.  She was also an ostrich.

————————————————————————————

#5 – Bluntman and Chronic

Artwork by Mike Allred

From the moment he released his indy-darling uber-movie, CLERKS, Kevin Smith has been associated most prominently with his on-screen and in-comic book alter-ego, “Silent Bob”, a pot dealer with conversation issues.  In the film CHASING AMY, the already fictional alter-egos of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are turned into fictional alter-alter-egos in comic book character form.  To add to the meta-textual confusion, both Jay & Silent Bob and Bluntman and Chronic became actual comic books, published in the real world.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Kevin Smith still makes films, but no one sees them anymore.

——————————————————————————————-

# – 4  Marijuana Man

Created by multi Grammy award winning recording artist Ziggy Marley, (son of the equally legendary Rita Marley), written by Joe Casey, illustrated by Jim Mahfood, and published (theoretically) by Image Comics in 2011, Marijuana Man is an alien from the planet Yelram (spell it backwards and be amazed!) who is traveling the universe to bring back life giving THC to his dying planet.  I swear to Rasta I’m not making this up.  I’ve never actually seen a copy, though there are a few articles online from last year promising the issue is just about to come out.  If it did, I didn’t see it.  Perhaps the creative team got distracted by something…

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Ziggy insists the character can’t be considered a bad influence on readers because Marijuana Man doesn’t actually smoke the ganga. He gets his superpowers from mystically “connecting with it” through contact alone.

——————————————————————————————-

#3 –   Zonker Harris 

If Peter Pan had never grown up in the 1970s, instead of not growing up in the 19th Century, he would be Zonker Harris.

One of the original lead characters in the long running Doonesbury comic strip by Garry Trudeau, Mr. Harris is a full time professional slacker who has been a competitive sun-tanner, low-stress nanny, and outspoken advocate for hemp since the early days of the series. And Zonker shows no sign of stopping in his lifestyle choices as of 2012.

He started off as the crazy roommate everyone had in college, and evolved into the crazy unmarried uncle that can’t hold down a job.   I’m waiting for the day that Garry Trudeau writes a series of strips where Zonker is actually arrested and put in jail for his lifestyle, to give America a taste of how horrible and unfair it would all be to see it happen to someone you know and love.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

Lest you think America’s favorite cartoon deadhead is exclusively a comic STRIP character, he and a friend appeared in Spectacular Spider-Man #56.  Check out the bottom right corner, it’s Zonker and Mike Doonsebury, courtesy of John Byrne.  You’ll notice someone is enjoying some Mary Jane, man.

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#2 – The  Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

The clown princes of comix, Gilbert Shelton’s Freak Brothers appear in stories that are exclusively about the finding of, purchasing of, and smoking of weed.  I think there’s ONE story that focuses on their car breaking down, but it was driving to their dealer to buy weed when it did.  Just so you don’t think they’re a one-joke idea (and that idea is weed), Fat Freddy is often looking for things to eat, and he has a cat that spends a lot of time confronting his poop issues.  But other than that, it’s about weed.

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with all their noses?

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YINWUjFQRDU

There’s actually a few minutes of a stop motion Freak Brothers Film online.  It  was in motion for a while, but it stopped.

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#1 – This Guy

This single one-page gag strip by Crumb features the anonymous comic character most associated with getting high for an entire generation.

I saw this poster in a thousand bedrooms when I was a teenager.  It was certainly my first head-on encounter with the work of Crumb, Comix and nefarious, unauthorized behavior that was rampant in the early 70s.  Even though I never smoked those awful doobies as a teenager, and was suspicious of people who did, this poster was somehow very appealing.  I hope it wasn’t the obvious limp phallus in panel four.

Maybe it was simply a choice of this poster, or the one with the cat gripping a metal pipe,  saying “Hang in there, baby.”

That decade was difficult.

FUN FACT POT-HEADS WON’T REMEMBER TOMORROW:

In the over a thousand viewings I have had with this comic strip, I did not notice until today that the second word is misspelled.  That’s how observant I am when I’m sober.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, you comic book stoner bonus moment.

Not just cocaine, but HITLER'S cocaine. I wouldn't mess with that stuff...

18 responses to “420 special: The Top Ten Pot-Heads in Comics

  1. Paul the Curmudgeon

    But, but….what about Willie Murphy’s Dopin’ Dan? (the counterculture’s reply to Beetle Bailey)

    • I kept Underground Comix entries to just the biggest ones. Of course almost everyone who ever appeared in a issue of Bijou or XYZ sucked the Cornwall Carrot, so it was only the ones that really stood out that made our list.

  2. Absolutely brilliant commentary, Ty. You are a breath of (CHOKE! COUGH!) fresh air!

  3. And another production of note (all the way from the land of BC bud!) is CAPTAIN CANNABIS by my ol’ bud, Verne Andru … http://www.captaincannabis.com/CC.cfm … a former studio mate of the illustrious co-creator of CAPTAIN CANUCK, Mr. Richard Comely (who I’m certain never inhaled!) … ;)

  4. I have a feeling the comments on this one will give a long list of “Hey, what about…”.

    Well, while on the subject, we must have Ganjaman:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ganjaman-Comic/113604192038330?sk=wall&filter=12

    Cheers!

    Steven Willis
    XOWComics.com

    • IS Ganjaman a real publication? I saw some strips and some covers, but it looks mostly online. (Though the covers feature the Freak Brothers, so I wonder….hmmm?)

      • I am just guessing, but I believe there are a few actual issues that exist of Ganjaman Presents. I get the feeling they may be POD, but that still counts. I have been trying for a few weeks now to get definitive details on this title.

        Cheers!

        Steven Willis
        XOWComics.com

  5. I’m just impressed you were in 1000 bedrooms when you were a teenager. Dawg.

  6. Oh hell yeah, baby. You got my hidden meaning.

  7. I have been smoking large quantities of cannabis for decades. Firstly, hardly anyone calls it pot anymore, but “jug is synonymous with pot”? Where the hell did you get that from? I have never, ever heard of it.

    • Pots and jugs are both containers for liquids. And no one calls it “pot” any more? That’s the only thing my dealer calls it…that, and “goofy gas”.

  8. Jim 'zilch' Doty

    You forgot two of the first potheads in comics…
    Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado
    and
    Irving Forbrush!

    Bwa ha. ha.

  9. There’s an issue of the Incredible Hulk (233-234-ish) where the blond “hippy”, Fred is helping Hulk escape in an old VW bus, and he needs to calm down. He’s smoking an oddly drawn cigarette (not really cylindrical, sort of bent and pointed at the ends). The smoke crosses Hulk’s face and soon even he is calm enough to become Banner. IIRC, Banner even mentions being hungry. I take that as “not even really all that subtle”. :p

    • I vaguely remember the issue. “Battle For Berkeley College” or something like that. There’s also someone smokin’ da skunk in a swamp thing or two, there are many single tokers in comics. I was trying to focus on the habitual dope fiend characters, you know, like the characters in Reefer Madness. I have an equally vague recollection that Luke Cage smoked some blunt in his Marvel Max Miniseries. Of course, later editors can claim he didn’t inhale.

  10. Pingback: Comics A.M. | The state of the French comics tradition, post-Moebius | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  11. Pingback: Ohio Locals | Blog | Comics AM | The state of the French comics tradition, post-Moebius

  12. I´m a Pothead for life, but i remember every one of your facts…

  13. I just had to do a Google search for the Marijuana Man comic book and, jinkies, it really does exist! It’s even on sale at Amazon…

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