Since their creation, comic books have been used to spread PSAs encouraging kids to not engage in certain types of activities. One of those activities is smoking marijuana. But like most anti-drug PSAs, these anti-cannabis comic books are often totally ridiculous.
Here are five of the most ridiculous anti-marijuana comic books:
It could actually be argued that “Fastlane” is the most read comic book in Marvel history. For four months in 1999, every single issue of any Marvel comic received an eight page insert of “Fastlane,” an anti-marijuana comic that portrayed the drug as a gateway to addiction and deadly hallucinations. It was so over-the-top that apparently even comic book writers decided to discontinue it.
2. Spider-Man Fights Substance Abuse
Technically, this collection of Spider-Man stories are about drugs in general, although it does include the aforementioned “Fastlane” series. But the name is what puts its on this list, because it implies that Spider-Man is dealing with a major substance abuse issue and needs to go to rehab rather than fighting drug dealers, which is what the comic’s mostly about.
3. Captain America Goes to War Against Drugs
In this ridiculous comic, three drug addicts are abducted by aliens and given superpowers based on their addictions. One of the villains is called “Weed” and has the power to smhoot smoke. They also have to keep taking illegal alien drugs or they will die, which is perhaps the least subtle metaphor for addiction ever. It’s also ridiculous because the other villains are “Crack” and “Ice,” so the comic is once again conflating marijuana with much worse drugs.
4. Teen-Age Dope Slaves
On the front page of the first issue of this comic, a boy desperately holds on to a drug dealer (who’s dressed like a mobster) trying to get some marijuana while his mom pleads with him to stop. The comic also calls itself a “shocking dope exposé,” which clearly shows the writers know nothing about marijuana.
5. Users are Losers
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the government saw the popularity of comic books and decided to use the format to print their own anti-drug PSAs. They created ones such as “Hooked” and “Teen-Age Booby Trap.” But the best has to be “Users are Losers,” a 16-page comic created for the state of California that was actually used a teaching tool throughout the decade. Like most anti-drug PSAs from the era, they’re ridiculously over-the-top and nonsensical.