All the 1970s - 80s Dope Riders, along with other of my comics, are in my anthology Awaiting the Collapse. The comics I've done from 2015 through 2020 are in my new anthology, A Fistful of Delirium. Both are available at If you'd like to purchase Dope Rider merchandise, visit my Dope Rider Store at Your patronage is most appreciated!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dope Rider in "High Times" Part 3

"Taco Belle" ran in the June 1978 issue. The title refers to the taco-like appearance of the Hieronymus Bosch woman atop page two. This may be my favorite Dope Rider episode; I like the overall look of it. (Click on images for a larger version.)

The "Closers" page at the end of the issue had a short profile of me.

My wife and I still get a hoot out of the "ramshackle hog farm" reference. The part about me preparing for the collapse of civilization was true: we heated our apartment with a woodstove, I made bread with wheat I ground by hand, and the space under our loft bed was crammed with crates of freeze-dried survival food.

Dope Rider didn't appear again until January 1981. By that time For├žade was dead, having shot himself in November 1978 at age 33. I have met some sharply defined personalities in my life and he was definitely one of them. There is a fascinating profile of him by Albert Goldman in High Times Greatest Hits (1994) and plenty of information about him on the web, such as here and here.

Dope Rider's last appearance was in the May 1986 issue. I had been working on a story on and off for a few years between other jobs and I finally got around to finishing it. At this point, the magazine could no longer pay more than $50 per page and it had to print it in black and white. High Times had not turned out to be the next Playboy; it took a tremendous financial hit when laws were passed to ban the advertising of drug paraphernalia.

The last frame, where Dope Rider is on a billboard, is based on the famous billboard in Times Square that blew smoke rings.

I currently work mostly as an illustrator for advertising, doing storyboards and comps. I also take on illustration jobs and have written several books. I have three children.


  1. Very enjoyable. I've always liked your work & tight inking. It's a shame we can't see illos like this in print anymore, your HM work made a deep and lasting impact on this young wanna-be.

  2. Thank you, I appreciate that. I too wish there were still outlets for this sort of work. Back in the 1970s and 1980s I could work up a story confident that someone, somewhere would pay to publish it.

  3. At last! Had spent years trying to compile my Dope Rider comix lost. I asked hundreds of comic shops in my city (Barcelona) if someone had seen fit to publish a compilation book with all its fantastic surreal stories.
    I found some single issues but I lacked stories.
    Thank you very much Paul Kirchner.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate them.

  5. I got into art because of you and Dope Rider. I used to paint Dope Rider scenes on my bedroom wall. Now I make and sell corpses. --->

    I've been trying to find you on the web for years.
    Thanks Dope Rider!!!

    What a long strange trip it's been.

  6. Wow! Your career is weirder than mine!!

  7. Great art. Good dose of classic references, while it is an urban art. Genial Lysergic surrealism!

  8. Thank you for sharing all this great work. I read some of it in a late 80's-early 90's Spanish comic magazine. Trippy stuff indeed.

  9. Very enjoyable. I thought there were a bunch of these, I never realized it was so sporadic.Thanks for assembling them in one spot.

  10. Sporadic is the word. I figured, "Hey, they're bringing "Mad Max" back after a 30-year hiatus, why not Dope Rider?"

  11. I love your "The Bus" from HM, the work of genius! and now I can dig into Dope Rider too, nice!

    1. Hey, thanks for the positive reinforcement! Some artists don't know how to handle praise but I eat it up with a fork and spoon, and hit the road and all go surfin' soon . . . sorry, am spacing on Beach Boys' lyrics lately.

  12. I did a double-take when I read that this comic was illustrated by Paul Kirchner! Not a name I was expecting to see with a strip from High Times. No matter, I have always like Paul and his art... - DVC

  13. Any plans for a collected edition?