By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
Not all cannabis users read comic books and not all comic book readers use cannabis, but there is a definite crossover between the two groups in pop culture. Kevin Smith characters Bluntman and Chronic are an example of the melding of the two societal segments in popular entertainment. But while there are a lot of comic conventions in the world, and there are a lot of people who like to smoke marijuana, the two don’t usually mix in public. At least they didn’t use to anyway.
The notion of creating a cannabis-themed comic book convention came about a few years ago when Jaymen Johnson and his friends were attending comic book conventions in Colorado and Arizona and would constantly have to be looking for spots to smoke a bowl. This practice became a tiresome routine after a while, and so the idea of the Chromic Con was born.
The first three Chromic Con events were held in Colorado and in addition to the comic books, cosplay, and celebrity appearances, there were also games featured like Tron-style elimination Frisbee and light saber whiffle ball. The fourth and most recent installment of the cannabis-and-comics convention series took place on July 8 at the Alexis Park Resort and Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
At the entrance to the resort, music from the Hot 97.5 KVEG tent welcomed Con guests, and a real-life Shaggy manned the Mystery Machine with a stuffed Scooby Doo sitting in the driver’s seat. A sinister-looking Umbrella Corporation vehicle from the Resident Evil series was parked next to the cartoon van, but there weren’t any zombies in sight, so it appeared that Scooby and the gang had done their job for the day.
A variety of booths were set up inside the first hall, selling a broad range of comic book and cannabis-related merchandise. Stoner Comix, Ganjah Bread Man, Patience, Tales From the Danksyde, and Horde Media’s Scrimshaw were among some of the cannabis-themed comics being sold and represented for the event. Weed World Candy, Las Vegas NORML, Crazy Fresh Apparel, and Crazy 420 also had booths with marijuana, and comic book items and clothing on display. 3-D artist, Kid Ever had a table near the entrance of the Con where he was promoting his watercolor artwork of Batman, Spider-Man, and other comic book personalities that jumped to life when the viewer donned a pair of prism glasses.
Celebrity autograph tables lined the outer walls of the main hall where Con guests could purchase photos and other memorabilia from a variety of film and television personalities. Voice talent Mark Dodson (Return of the Jedi, Gremlins) and actor Felix Villa (Addams Family, Buck Rogers) were present for the day’s events. Keith Coogan, (The Fox and the Hound, Adventures in Babysitting) grandson of Hollywood’s first child actor, Jackie Coogan, was selling photos from various movies he’d starred in over the years like other celebrities in the hall. But the actor was also selling signed dishtowels and plates with the phrase “DISHES ARE DONE, MAN!” The slogan being a reference to his famous line from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead where he skeet shoots some dirty plates from the roof instead of washing them.
The Con held a bevy of raffles throughout the day, and a variety of cannabis and comic book related merchandise made its way into the hands of eager attendees, both costumed and not. As the cosplay contest got underway, guests dressed as Cheech and Chong, Canna-Ivy Bliss (Poison Ivy parody), Red Sonya, and a Dab Dragon, were among the costumed contestants who made their way to the stage to model. The Poison-Ivy-dressed host asked them a variety of questions and ended with an inquiry as to their preference on indica, hybrid, or sativa. The contest took an unexpected twist when one of the contestants, a young man with dark ear-length hair who came to the stage dressed in boots, black jeans, and a sleeveless vest, and proceeded to demonstrate his ability to swallow a sword which he produced from a cane. Blade inserted, he got down on the stage floor and did a few push-ups before rising to his knees and removing the sword; a dangerous feat which netted him the costume contest’s grand prize package.
Later in the evening, a series of comedians came to the stage to entertain the crowd including Bruce Jingles, Kid Ever, and transgender actress Erika Ervin. Actor and voiceover talent Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911, The Fairly Oddparents, Family Guy) headlined the comedy session. The comic told jokes about family life as well as entertain the fans with some lines as some of his various recognizable voice over characters including Rocko (Rocko’s Modern Life) and the Taco Bell Chihuahua.
The night heated up a bit after the comedians left the stage, but it wasn’t because of the temperatures outside. The burlesque portion of the evening was beginning, and a series of provocative comic-themed dances were performed onstage for the audience’s enjoyment. The ladies began their performances to the song of their choice, but they all concluded to the sound of vigorous applause and cheers from the crowd. Following the racier portion of the night’s entertainment, local punk band, Bong took to the stage for a set.
Even though the cannabis and comic book crowds aren’t always at the same scene, they do like to get together once in awhile and have a good time. Marijuana consumption was allowed at the event in designated areas, and that alone was a real sign of the times. In a state that used to have some very harsh cannabis laws on the books, the fact that a marijuana and comics event could even happen at a public resort in Las Vegas is a true testament to the power of the vote. With the growing trend of cannabis legalization, expect to see more events like Chromic Con to start popping up in legal states across the country. For information on upcoming Chromic Con events in Nevada and Colorado, visit the official website at sites.google.com/site/chromiccon.