Once upon a time, it was taboo to feature marijuana in the comic book medium. Censors and critics forbade the depiction of such substances, let alone any horror, sexual or violent images. In fact, the Comics Code Authority was established in 1954 to enforce such rules. Back then, they controlled what was allowed in comic books and magazines, and the list of banned elements was pretty long. Nowadays, things have changed considerably, and the Code has been long since abolished.
Here is a list of 10 works in which cannabis is depicted in a completely non-negative way.
10. James Bong
While the name may sound obvious, this character is not a thinly disguised parody of Agent 007. Rather, he is a member of J.O.I.N.T—Justice Organization Involving Nugget Technology. James serves as an activist who campaigns for legalizing marijuana and defends the rights of users. He is also a huge fan of classic rock music, especially the works of Led Zeppelin.
9. Afro Samurai
This is a Japanese manga created by Takashi Okazaki. Throughout the series, the protagonist is shown smoking marijuana, although the substance's name is not explicitly stated. However, there are a few things that suggest it's weed. First of all, lots of characters smoke in 'Afro Samurai,' but Afro's cigarettes are the only ones that have that distinct hand rolled joint look. And in one story Afro's traveling companion Ninja Ninja takes a drag off of one of Afro's joints, only to erupt in a massive choking fit. Afro Samurai would be adapted into an anime show with Samuel L. Jackson voicing the title character. And yes, it is quite good, considering Jackson is the star. 'Nuff said!
Initially a Japanese comic strip in 1960, the series would become an animated show a few years later. 8-Man was a police detective who was killed but resurrected in a robot's body by a brilliant scientist. However, in order to function, he needed to recharge his energy in a rather interesting fashion. Comic panels show the character gaining a boost by puffing on a substance grown in a lab that he rolls up in long strands of paper. Need I say any more?
7. Ex Machina
In the Ex Machina comic book series, Mayor Mitchell Hundred is a retired superhero with the ability to communicate with machines. One unintended side-effect of this power is the noise level of said devices. To deal with this problem, the Mayor smokes marijuana as a coping mechanism.
6. Tank Girl
Launched exactly 30 years ago, Tank Girl is a magnificent blend of action and zany, offbeat humor. The eponymous protagonist is a tough-as-nails type who doesn't need a man to rescue her. Also featured is her occasional use of marijuana, but this is just seen as part of her character. To her, it is just a way of life. Since a disastrous 1993 film adaptation, Tank Girl hasn't been seen a lot these days. Perhaps it is high time (pun intended) for her to make a return.
5. Swamp Thing
Debuting in the 1970s, Swamp Thing is a plant-based being imprinted with the mind of a deceased scientist. Rather than the story of a man trapped in another body, this is the saga of a living creature trying to protect the environment. In one story arc, Swamp Thing is able to conjure up a single marijuana leaf that provides enough for everyone to enjoy. Clearly, there is more to Swamp Thing than meets the eye.
4. The Floronic Man
Dr. Jason Woodrue is another one of DC's most bizarre ecological-based characters. After experimenting with chemicals, he has his entire biophysical structure changed to that of a plant-human hybrid. In one story, Woodrue has to restore his body in order to live, so he uses marijuana plants to rebuild himself. Following a change of heart, he decides to become a force for good instead of evil by getting the world to smoke marijuana.
3. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
Created in 1971, this underground comic revolves around three brothers who enjoy recreational drugs. Franklin, the eldest brother, is the leader of the trio, Phineas is a master of chemistry, and Freddy tends to screw up any transactions he's involved in. Story lines involve the guys trying to make a “score” with mixed results, traveling to other countries, or dealing with the interference of governments.
2. Bluntman and Chronic.
What would this list be without the Hemp Knight and his faithful sidekick? Created as a comic book in Kevin Smith's 1997 flick 'Chasing Amy,' Bluntman and Chronic would prove to be very popular with fans and even received their own miniseries. They also became a major plot point in Smith's 2001 film 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,' in which the titular duo set out to sabotage a movie based on their likeness. Snootchie bootchies!
It's not hard to guess what this superhero's abilities are. Created by Ziggy Marley (son of Bob), 'Marijuana Man' launched on April 20, 2011- National Weed Day. The title character is an alien who wears the chemical sign of THC on his chest. Not exactly subtle, but there you go.