11/12/09

Comic Books #13: Hooked!


In the 1960's and 70's there were a lot of comic books that preached a message. Many of you may remember the Evangelical Archie comics back in the day. My favorites, however, were the anti-drug comic books. Why? Because they were so hardcore - when they showed what happens when you take illegal drugs, they went all out! Not just an arrest or losing a job, no sir, that was too tame.  I'm talkin' horrific deaths! I'm talkin lives spiralling madly out of control, culminating in tragedies of Shakespearian proportions!  Go ahead and read your little Captain Marvel comics - that's child's play. I'm reading anti-drug comics!

In this 1966 comic "Hooked", distributed by NYC methadone clinics, it all begins with a simple drag of pot. I've mentioned in another post that I don't believe marijuana is a gateway drug; however, it can't be argued that someone willing to break the law and try an illegal substance is more prone to experiment with a harder drug as time goes by.  The claim that marijuana itself can somehow drive a person to hard drugs has never been scientifically proven...... but I'll get off my soapbox now and move along.

Of course, one drag of the wacky weed and, before long, he's dropping out of school. Notice the guys in the background - Eddie could be a happy and healthy chick magnet like them; but, no, he just had to smoke grass.

Eddie's brother, Bob, is no fool. He gives Eddie a little lesson in "tough love" while his grandmother mother weeps bitterly. So far, "Hooked" is just like your typical 1970's After School Special (which I loved); but, put on your seatbells, things are about to go to hell in a handbasket.

Dumbass Eddie starts using heroin, and about this time he meets a little cutie named Jeanie. Why she would fall for a heroin user who's a school dropout with no job and lives with his brother is beyond me. And if she doesn't know about his habits, I'm a tad curious why Bob wouldn't warn her. Oh, well...

Evidently, Eddie's not ready for a serious relationship. He spends his days mainlining heroin and stealing from Jeanie to buy the junk. He even sells her radio and her mother's gold ring. (What a bastard.) Soon, he's stealing cars to support his habits, and is subsequently arrested. 

But wait a minute!.....

It seems Eddie got some medical help while in the clink, and now he's back on his feet again. Hooray! Everything's going to be okay after all! With a supportive brother and girlfriend, anything's possible. I knew you could do it, Eddie!

Wrong. Eddie's back to his old tricks again.

It's not good enough to bankrupt Jeanie and move her into a slum. Now he's got to get her hooked.

I told you things were going to get ugly. This may be one of the most disturbing comic book panels I've ever seen. Jeanie, spaced-out and contorted on the bed, and Eddie, unrepentent and downright demonic looking,... it's hideous. What a message: don't do pot, or you'll wind up turning your girlfriend into a drug addicted zombie.

Make that a drug addicted zombie prostitute.  Yes, thanks to Eddie, Jeanie now has to get their drug money prostituting herself. Needless to say, this sort of thing never happened in Archie Comics.  Although, an issue where Archie gets hooked and Betty must sell her body for their drug habit would've been interesting.

Eventually, Jeanie overdoses on heroin and croaks...

So much for happy endings.  These anti-drug comics didn't play around. They had the teeth of a pre-code comic, and it was oddly refreshing to read back when all you had was highly sanitized comics after the big bust in 1954.

9 comments:

  1. I remember a lot of comics they gave us at church when I was growing up. They had to do with the evils of booze, drugs, sex, rock music, you name it.

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  2. Kinda reminds me of the Jack Chick Comics, even though people would die and be prostituted, he would have someone converted at the end. but they were pretty graphic at times.

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  3. If only I've gotten these instead of "the Freak Bros.,Zap!,and R.Crumb" comics, I may have made something of my life. Alas all I have to show is a lifetime of fun and good memories.

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  4. Great stuff! I can't help feeling that the NYC methadone clinics were going about this the wrong way...

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  5. I think i got this comic at my school, way way back in the dark, misty past.
    I thought, wow you take drugs and turn yellow.

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  6. A lot like the EC comics. I recommend, if you have never seen it, the film High School Confidental with Russ Tablyn and chesty Mamie Van Doren. Lots of rebellious teens who look about thirty and a lesson in the pitfalls of 'grazing for grass'.

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  7. You left off one of the most crucial moments in this comix... when after prostituting herself, the happy couple hit rock bottom and have to sell the coffee table.

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