Flower Power: The Greatest Hippies in Comics
Hippies. God bless em, they really think a lot of themselves, don’t they? Isn’t it great when fuzzy ole Uncle Hippie gathers the brood down to the biodegradable teepee for tall tales of the Sixties? “Pot and acid grew on lampposts!” he preaches. “Flowers stopped bullets! I pleasured Joni Mitchell with an Abba Zabba!”
Wow, awesome, Uncle Hippie! You ruined drug enforcement, sex with random strangers and dandelion kevlar for everyone! You had a great time and I was punished for it – you’re literally the opposite of Jesus, so maybe you should stop dressing like Salvation Army Messiah.
When you’re in high school, hippies are cool. They bucked the system; they changed the world, man. When you’re older and in the world, the foul stench of hastily-applied patchouli oil atop three weeks of not bathing evokes a torrent of bile so hellish it could knock a man’s teeth out. I’ve been to twenty Phish concerts. I know what I’m talking about.
Not all hippies are bad. Some actually did some good, positive things for the world. They fought corruption and racial inequality, challenged conventional thoughts on war. But mostly, they went to music festivals.
“Hulk” director Ang Lee recently smashed some serious peace and love on all the puny humans with “Taking Woodstock,” featuring deadpan icon Eugene Levy, quirky comedian Demetri Martin, and Sabretooth in a dress. It is with that same spirit, and in the continuum of the blinding God-light of Forever and the mystical dragon breath of the Universal Birth Canal, we present the most notable hippies in comics.
Although Marvel had a reputation as the cool comics company, they were pretty anti-hippie throughout the Sixties and Seventies, so of course when a hippie named David Angar gets superpowers, he goes full-on villain on the establishment, doing his leather-chapped best to take out Daredevil and Black Widow. Of course, the real tragedy of Angar is his power – a super-loud, super-sonic scream that could induce hallucinations in his victims. Pleasant, Timothy Leary-induction into the wild power of the universe hallucinations? No. Savage, mind-raping, don’t-take-the-brown-acid hallucinations that send one shivering into the gaping maw of a bleeding sun and return him, shattered, to his remnant of life as a Tom Waits song. Talk about bittersweet.
Like many hippies, graffiti icon Cheech Wizard thought he was much deeper and funnier than he actually was. With his goofy hat and druggy, clipped patois, he espoused on the existence of God as if he were some profane ninja master. Really? Wow, master, the way you solved that whole “blind watchmaker” thing with that poop joke just blew my trick-ass square brain. Nonconformity, here I come!
How does one make a hippie golem, you ask? First, get in a fight with Hound Dawg and some War Hawks, drape your bloody hippie garb over a department store mannequin, and wait around for lightning to strike! Imbued with super speed, super strength, peace, love, and optimism, Brother Power battled negative perceptions of hippies, going so far as to get a job and run for Congress. Responsibility is groovy!
As a supporting character in Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” and dead-ringer for sometime Doobie Brother Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Chester appeared in only a few stories, but in each instance captured the reader’s imagination. Despite his obvious status as the neighborhood drug hippie, Chester is warm, intelligent, and level-headed, and probably provided Moore with an opportunity to show that habitual drug users can be creative, productive members of society and perhaps contribute something to the betterment of mankind. But you and I aren’t Alan Moore. He’s actually 90 percent demon, did you know that?
If there’s a reason Crumb became a hippie icon despite his distaste for them, it’s probably the Mister Natural strips. Amused and aloof, he walks around in a white man’s dashiki and espouses Eastern mysticism, both practices catnip for hippies. Then, as always, Crumb unzips and slaps his Id on the table, and Natural commences to hump and humiliate his way through the free love movement, maim a guy here or there, and spend a while in the mental institution. Next time you see a Veedub with a Mister Natural sticker, why don’t you hit them up with that knowledge? Now who’s blowin’ minds, DEDHD17?
No. Contest. Number One with a cyanide bullet. Gilbert Shelton’s FFFB – Phineas T. Freakears, Freewheelin’ Franklin, and Fat Freddy Freekowtski – went after both hippies and the establishment with sadistic glee. Lazy, unhinged, and dangerous, the Freaks represented the worst of the movement, and in their wild encounters with the law and others foreshadowed the dark days of hippiedom post-Altamont. These were the kind of guys Hunter S. Thompson would have had guarding his compound during the Aspen Sheriff’s elections, and that headless commie bastard was in to some freaky stuff.
Oh, come on, he would love that joke and you know it.