"Rock the microphone and then I'm gone, I'm like Vaughn Bode, I'm a Cheech Wizard, Never quittin', So won't you listen."
Beastie Boys - Sure Shot (Ill Communication, 1994)

I first learned about Vaughn Bodé when reading my father's forbidden comics collection as a kid. Odd stories that fascinated me more so because of the colorful drawings than the stories, most of which I didn't get at that point.

Vaughn was born July 22, 1941 in Utica, New York, and soon started drawing. Quick to find his style, he created the, *cough*, ball-kicking Cheech Wizard, a man with his wizard-style hat pulled down to his hips, on September 27, 1957 at half past two in the afternoon.

Other recognizable characters are the "Bodé Broads" and the "Bodé Lizards" (sometimes referred to as frogs in his own works). Most of the comics are single page musings on subjects taken from the underground: Sex, drugs, and violence. Probably because of his colorful and bulbous style, he has gained street-cred through the proliferation of graffiti bearing the likenesses of his creations.

Vaughn published one of the first underground comics himself in 1963, Das Kampf, and later, he worked on Gothic Blimp Works, published in East Village Other. He also drew for National Lampoon, Heavy Metal and other popular off-stream culture magazines during the early seventies. One thing that is repeatedly stated is his gentle personality, which gained him friends and admirers everywhere, among them some of the stars of both the under- and overground scenes - Jeff Jones (I am Age/Idyl), Roy Crane (Captain Easy), Jean Giraud, and Berni Wrightson.

Sadly, Vaughn died an early death on July 18, 1975, from "a mystic experiment gone wrong." I've heard more specific reasons, but who's to know? I prefer this one.

Vaughn Bodé received the Hugo Award in 1969 and the Yellow Kid award in 1975.

Sources: markbode.com, two albums by Bodé, entitled Erotica volume I & II. See also other Comics creators.