Over the years, fans of the old Dope Rider comic strip from High Times have occasionally contacted me asking for copies of some of the images, which they intend to have tattooed on their backs, painted on their drum sets, or airbrushed onto the gas tanks of their Harleys. To make it easier for these folks, and to create an archive for anyone interested, I have set up this site to post the complete Dope Rider oeuvre. Note: all images are copyrighted by Paul Kirchner.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Dope Rider in "High Times" Part 3
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 Forçade 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.