Weed MagicOne author who was far from shy on the pot topic was Brian Phillipson, the co-founder and president of Bliss on Tappublishing. I wasn’t surprised as his booth was one of the only places where I could find cannabis in comics at this and last year’s New York Comic Con. They publish Weed Magic, a comic book series which had its first issue released during the week of 4/20/17.
There have been two follow up issues since, both released on the weeks of 4/20 in the following years with every copy costing $4.20. And odes to the stoner holiday don’t end there. If you took a hit every time you saw those numbers in the first issue, you might find yourself in a kush coma before reaching the last panel.
Laced with humor from the first page to the last panel, Weed Magic features the tale of two friends that fail to get weed on 4/20 before the dispensaries in LA sold out. So, they decide to cop buds from a man in an alley while desperate to score some smoke for the holiday. He claimed it was magic but they didn’t take it seriously. It wasn’t until they smoked half of their supply and gained superpowers that they realized they were the caretakers of the last of this magical weed.
HT: Do you read many comics and graphic novels?
HT: Have you seen any other comics featuring pot?
BP: Not so much in comics that I’ve read. The stories aren’t matching how many people smoke weed.
HT: Did you have any concerns before releasing Weed Magic?
BP: Yes. Weed Magicwas one of my earlier ideas. First off, it was mid-2000’s so I thought, “can you get away with it? Will a distributor put it in stores? Can I sell it for $4.20?”
And there were the nagging thoughts of “someone is going to do this, someone is going to do this,” and every year no one did it. But so many comic writers are stoners and so many stoners read comics. That’s when I thought, someone has got to do it and it’s going to be me.
So, I finally ask the distributor “are we allowed to put this out?” and they started cracking up which was the first good sign. So I followed up with “well you’re not going to let me sell them for $4.20, right? And they responded “THAT’S GENIUS!”
So I’m like, “how come no one is doing this?!”
HT: I guess you found the right distributor.
BP: Not even, it was Diamond, the same distributor of Marvel and DC comics.
HT: So there’s no conspiracy? Then why aren’t more people including cannabis in their comics? Are they just not passionate about it?
BP: I feel like people are self-censoring themselves… Or they’re scared. Or they don’t want to be outed as a consumer or advocate.
HT: But they’re not afraid to portray nudity, violence, cursing and other R rated content in their comics.
BP: That’s funny, I’ve actually been asked if I was worried about kids coming across it [Weed Magic] and I responded that they probably shouldn’t be reading it but they can also find a hot girl in a G string at the next booth that nobody is worried about.
HT: Is there something that sets Weed Magic apart from other attempts at a comic series that may have featured cannabis in some way?
BP: Well, to start, it’s meant to be read in a certain state of mind. We are also raising the bar higher, no pun intended. Alex Cormack brings higher quality illustrations to our pages than you’d expect from a stoner comic. And my co-writer Jordan Lichtman is a General Counsel who has always been up front about his cannabis use and never afraid to advocate for the cause. So far, it’s been well-received and now we’re even sponsored by our local dispensary in Los Angeles.