The World Of Vaughn Bode´
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
In the mid to late 60's, Vaughn Bode was a true pioneer of underground comic/illustration art. His work centered around 2 main characters: Cheech Wizard, an orange pair of legs with a gigantic wizard hat. And Puck, a simple minded lizard who acted as fall guy.
While this sounds pretty general, his work was some of the most imaginative and detailed of any at the time. He often placed these characters in various stories and setting, including War Lizards, which involved his characters as soldiers in the Vietnam War. His work was incredibly detailed, and he would often include schematics to explain how his ships and vehicles would actually run.
He passed away in 1975, and his son Mark has kept his work going, as, he's adopted his fathers style and continued the stories rather successfully. His work has been influential amongst filmmakers like Ralph Bakshi and George Lucas.
I first noticed Vaughn Bode's work in graffiti art. Graff writers co-opted his characters into the art, and, they almost became mascots of the subculture. For a while I'd thought Seen and Dondi had come up with these characters themselves, or, there was some sort of code amongst graffiti writers that you'd just invent iterations of these strange lizard characters. Almost as a street art creative commons.
I've painted many Vaughn Bode characters over years, and, in creating the Quasimoto video 'Bullyshit', as a homage to Vaughn Bode, I had a cameo of Cheech Wizard in the video.