Grammy Award-winning musician Ziggy Marley is a very creative guy, a dedicated social activist and, as it turns out, a comic book lover. Marley, 42, made an appearance at WonderCon 2011 to promote “Marijuanaman,” a comic book superhero that he created in association with Image Comics.
“In Jamaica , I used to buy comic books all the time: Batman, Superman, Spider-Man,” Marley said in a face-to-face interview at WonderCon 2017. “I have a strong imagination; what I think is not just limited to music. I’m a scribbler-I like to scribble and draw stuff.”
Marley said he thought it would be a good idea to put a different light on the Cannabis plant, also known as hemp, by using a superhero that gets his abilities from it. “The plant, in itself, has a lot of potential. It is a super plant. Besides the medicinal uses and recreational uses, it has a lot of industrial uses that would really benefit us and the planet if we can put it to use,” he said.
Marley pointed out that industrial items such as plastic, fiberglass and drywall can all be manufactured from hemp. “It’s environmentally friendly. Biofuel can be made from hemp also. We can get a lot of nutrition from hemp seeds. A lot of malnourished children can be fed by these seeds if society would allow this plant to flourish,” Marley said.
The goal of “Marijuanaman,” Marley said, is entertainment, but there are also messages inside the stories. The hero comes from a planet where the atmosphere is composed of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient in marijuana. “They are having an issue where it (the atmosphere) is being depleted, just like on Earth where we have an ozone layer that’s being depleted,” he said.
“He sets out on a journey to find a solution, not knowing anything about hemp or marijuana. He lands in a pot field and he feels an instant connection to this plant. He doesn’t know what it’s doing to him, but he feels something. He meets this community that’s living the eco-life and they use him as part of their community,” Marley said.
Though Marijuanaman is not a smoker, he ingests the THC by inhaling smoke from other marijuana users.
“It changes his molecular structure and he becomes this superhero. He’s up against this pharmaceutical guy whose goal is to make everything artificial,” Marley said.
Marijuanaman’s enemies hire a mercenary named “Cash Money” to fight the THC-powered hero. “He’s like a half-robot, half-man who’s injected with steroids and all these drugs. He’s the villain in the story,” Marley said.
Written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Jim Mahfood, was released on April 20, 2011, which definitely makes it “420 friendly.” “I think Jim’s art is appropriate for this character because it is different. It’s not typical comic book art. His art also has a lot of meaning inside of it. Joe also understands that the comic book must have certain philosophies inside of it and ideas that we can pass on through the book.”