Vaughn Bode: Wikis

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Vaughn Bodé article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vaughn Bodé

Born July 22, 1941(1941-07-22)
Utica, New York
Died July 18, 1975 (aged 33)
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist
Notable works Cheech Wizard
Awards Hugo Award, Best Fan Artist, 1969
Yellow Kid Award, 1975.
Official website

Vaughn Bodé (pronounced /boʊˈdeɪ/; July 22, 1941 - July 18, 1975) was an artist involved in underground comics, graphic design and graffiti.[citation needed] He is perhaps best-known for his comic strip character Cheech Wizard and artwork depicting voluptuous women. His works are noted for their psychedelic look and feel. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame for comics artists in 2006.[1]


Early life

Bodé was born in Utica, New York, and started drawing as a way of escaping a less-than-happy childhood.


In 1969, Bodé moved to Manhattan and joined the staff of the underground newspaper the East Village Other. It was here that Bodé met Spain Rodriguez, Robert Crumb and other founders of the quickly-expanding underground comics world. At EVO, he introduced Gothic Blimp Works, a comics supplement to the magazine, which ran for eight issues, the first two edited by Bodé.

Bodé’s most famous comic creation is the Cheech Wizard, a wizard whose large yellow hat, covered with black and red stars covers his entire body except his legs, and big red feet. He is usually depicted without arms. Cheech Wizard is constantly in search of a good party, cold beer, and attractive women. It is never actually revealed what Cheech Wizard looks like under the hat, or exactly what kind of creature he is. Characters pressing the issue generally are rewarded with a swift kick to the groin by Cheech.

In an early comic, Captured by Morton Frog, 1967, Cheech takes off his hat for a police officer, a priest and a political leader. You can clearly see him holding his hat in his hands, away from the rest of his body. The face is hidden by the speech balloon, but you can see glimpses of hair on top. All three persons witnessing his face fall into cataleptic states forever. Cheech walks away from their fortress claiming that "Their primitive minds couldn't accept da truth". In a later comic, Who is C.W.? (1974), one of Cheech's lovers insists on seeing his true face. Cheech claims that she will die instantly, or go insane. After having her sign a waiver freeing him of legal responsibilities, he agrees to take off his hat. The comic ends abruptly at mid-page with Cheech saying "Okay! Here goes, but I bet you go blind!", followed by a blank (white-out) panel.

The post-apocalyptic sci-fi action series Cobalt 60 presented an anti-hero named Cobalt 60 who wandered in a devastated post-nuclear land, seeking to avenge the murder of his parents.

Other Bodé creations include Deadbone (the first testament of Cheech Wizard, the cartoon messiah), the adventures of the inhabitants of a solitary mountain a billion years in the past; and War Lizards, a look at the Vietnam War reflecting the hostile stance of the period's counterculture. It is told with anthropomorphic reptiles instead of people.


Common themes in Bodé’s works include the use of lizard-like creatures as stand-ins for "real" humans (though most of his female characters are quite human) and the use of urban dialects and slang for the speech of the inhabitants of his cartoon worlds. Like those of other underground cartoonists, Bodé’s comics illustrate many aspects of the counterculture, such as sexual experimentation, drug use, and an overall relaxing of social taboos.


Towards the end of his life, Vaughn Bodé toured with a show called the Cartoon Concert, that featured him vocalizing his characters while their depictions were presented on a screen behind him via a slide projector. The first of these was presented at Phil Seuling's convention on the July 4th weekend at the N.Y.C. Comic Con in 1972. Obsererving the crowd reaction, The Bantam Lecture Company immediately signed him on. This show became very popular on the college lecture circuit, beginning with his debut at the Bowling Green University, in Ohio. He considered it his "good-luck charm" for the rest of his life. He eventually performed his Cartoon Concert at several Comic book coventions, culminating in a show at The Louvre, in Paris. At this time, Bodé's career was managed by David Ferguson.[citation needed] Ferguson was represented in his client's cartoons as Rumplebucks, Cheech Wizard's manager, a lizard with an ever-present dollar sign above his head.[citation needed] Bodé dedicated his final cartoon, which appeared in National Lampoon, to Ferguson.[citation needed]


Bodé's death was due to autoerotic asphyxiation, or perhaps the use of asphyxia as a meditation aid: his last words (to his son) were, "Mark, I've seen God four times, and I'm going to see him again soon."[2] He left behind a library of sketchbooks, journals, finished and unfinished works, paintings, and comic strips. Most of his art has since been published in a variety of collections, most from Fantagraphics.


Bodé's influence continues to be seen today in the numerous graffiti artists copying his lizards, and the tributes/ripoffs of his style in many 'rave' graphics and flyers.

Bodé was a friend of animator Ralph Bakshi, and warned him against working with Robert Crumb on the animated film adaptation of Crumb's strip Fritz the Cat.[3] Bodé has been credited as an influence on Bakshi's films Wizards and The Lord of the Rings.[4][5]

His son Mark Bodé (born 1963) is also an artist, often producing works similar to the elder Bodé’s style. Recently Mark completed one of his father’s unfinished works, The Lizard of Oz, a send-up of The Wizard of Oz, starring Cheech Wizard one more time.


  • Das Kämpf, self-published in 1963, considered to be one of the first underground comic books.
  • Deadbone appeared monthly in the science fiction magazine Galaxy from 1969 to 1971. << Though his artwork appeared in GALAXY and IF, "Deadbone" (a b&w strip) and "Deadbone Erotica" (a color strip) appeared in the men's magazine Cavalier. >>
  • Junkwaffel. Issues 1-4 first published by Print Mint from 1971 to 1974. The final issue, number 5, appeared in Last Gasp along with reprints of the first four.
  • Cheech Wizard ran monthly in National Lampoon from 1971-1975.
  • The Man, 1972, an independent comic about a cave man who accidentally made important observations about life.
  • Sunpot, appeared in fantasy/science fiction publication Heavy Metal, April through July 1977.
  • Cobalt-60. Book one created by Vaughn Bodé, illustrated by Mark Bodé, written by Larry Todd. Northampton, Ma.: Tundra Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1879450356
  • The Purple Pictography, with Bernie Wrightson

Reissue - The Complete Collection

Assorted collected stories, artwork and sketches republished by Fantagraphics, including volumes as:

  • Deadbone
  • Erotica Vol. 1
  • Erotica Vol. 2
  • Erotica Vol. 3
  • Erotica Vol. 4
  • Cheech Wizard Vol. 1
  • Cheech Wizard Vol. 2
  • JunkWaffel Vol. 1
  • JunkWaffel Vol. 2
  • Lizard Zen
  • Poem-Toons
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sketchbook Vol. 1
  • Sketchbook Vol. 2
  • Sketchbook Vol. 3


The Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist was bestowed upon him in 1969, and he was nominated for Best Professional Artist the following year. He also won the Yellow Kid Award, Italy's award for illustration, in 1975. He was a finalist for induction into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 1998 and 2002.

Cultural references

Vaughn Bodé and Cheech Wizard are mentioned in the 1993 Beastie Boys song "Sure Shot".

A scene in one episode of the TV series Burn Notice featured an 8-foot-tall Cheech Wizard graffiti on a back wall.


  1. ^ "The 2006 Eisner Award Winners". San Diego Comic-Con. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  2. ^ Frucci, Angela (2004-05-31). "Following a Wiz to a Far-Out Oz; A Son Completes the Legacy Of an Underground Cartoonist". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  3. ^ Gibson, Jon M.; McDonnell, Chris (2008). "Fritz the Cat". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. Universe Publishing. pp. 63. ISBN 0789316846. 
  4. ^ Beck, Jerry (2005). "Wizards". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. p. 317. ISBN 9781556525919. 
  5. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (2006). "Bakshi, Ralph". Who's who in Animated Cartoons. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 15. ISBN 155783671X. 

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address