Dope Rider: A Fistful of Delirium
Dope Rider is back in town! After a 30-year hiatus, Paul Kirchner brought back to life his iconic, bony stoner hero whose first adventures were a staple of the psychedelic counter-culture magazine High Times in the 1970s and 1980s. The new stories collected in this book were all created after 2015 and despite the years, Dope Rider has stayed essentially the same, still smoking his ever-present joint, getting high and chasing metaphysical dragons through whimsical realities in meticulously illustrated and colorful one-page adventures. Fans of the original Dope Rider comics will still find the bold graphical innovations, dubious puns and wild dreamscapes inspired by classical painting and western movies that were some of Dope Rider’s trademark. This time though, Kirchner draws from a much larger panel of influences, including modern pop – and pot – culture (lines and characters from Star Wars as well as references to Denver as the US weed capital can be found here and there) and a wider range of artistic references, from Alice in Wonderland to 2001: A Space Odyssey to Ed Roth’s Kustom Kulture. Native American culture and mythology, only hinted at in the classic adventures, is also much more present in the form of Chief, one of Dope Rider’s new sidekicks. Kirchner’s playful, tongue-in-cheek humor binds together all these influences into stories that mock both the mundane and the nonsensical alike. Paul Kirchner lives in Connecticut. He started his career in the 1970s as an assistant to Wally Wood. His original Dope Rider stories are collected among other early works in the book Awaiting the Collapse. He also created the bus, a surrealistic monthly strip published in Heavy Metal magazine from 1979 to 1985 and illustrated the graphic detective novel Murder by Remote Control written by Janwillem van de Wetering. Paul Kirchner went back to comics during the 2010s with the bus 2 in 2015 and Hieronymus & Bosch in 2018.