Growing up in the 90’s meant Jay and Silent Bob were going to be around one way or another. As a kid who listened to grunge (mostly thanks to my brother), saw weird movies, and went to schools that were basically encased in giant clouds of marihuana smoke, Kevin Smith’s own Jersey stoners were a kind of guide through the ganja mists. They taught me not to demonize weed and not to judge those who partook in it, to ignore the exaggerated fears politicians manufactured for campaigning purposes. They taught me how to wade through the bullshit.
Alas, I never became a weed smoker nor a master roller of blunts (for reasons entirely my own) which might make me the wrong person to write about Jay and Silent Bob. Regardless, I do want to celebrate them this 4/20 for their contributions in making me be at ease around marihuana enthusiasts at a young age, for helping me to never discriminate against righteous stoners who freely exercised their right to get high. Weed’s dynamic duo would make sure I became lifelong friends with them and, for the most part, I can gladly say I still am. They also got me to enjoy the raunchiest of jokes, in any situation (no matter how sacrilegious).
In comes Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back movie tie-in comic, Bluntman and Chronic, a comic that can do for many what the movies did for me.
Published by Image Comics in 2001 (the same year Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back had its theatrical run), Bluntman and Chronic was written by Smith and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming with a backup story drawn by Michael Allred (who designed Jay and Silent Bob’s superhero costumes). Well, in reality they were written and illustrated by Banky Edwards and Holden McNeil, if you’re in the know (meaning you’ve seen the movies). Chasing Amy fans will know this to be correct, but that’s a debate for another time.
The comic follows Jay and Silent Bob’s transformation into the titular superheroes and their subsequent encounter with the evil League of Shitters, composed of the duo’s rogues gallery. Among those villains is Cock-Knocker (played by Mark Hamill in Strike Back), the Joker to Jay and Silent Bob’s Batman and Robin.
Initially, Chronic (Jay) decides he can use his new vigilante status to steal industrial amounts of Viagra and limited edition copies of valuable comics to sell on Ebay while Bluntman (Silent Bob) tags along in disbelief and confusion. The rogues find their origin stories here, in these acts of “vigilantism.” Their supervillain identities are owed to accidental brushes with the duo in which conveniently placed vats of acid change their bodies and give them some kind of penis power or an annoying internet blogger-related appendage to enact their dark and horny intentions. Dickhead, for instance, is a villain that got his head turned into a dick after falling into one such vat. He can get too excited and erupt, like any god-fearing penis is supposed to.
I can go on forever picking apart all the details behind this while enjoying every minute of it, but I won’t. You’re probably on your fourth, fifth, sixth (and beyond) blunt by now and the munchies must be hitting hard. I’ll get to the point.
In issue #1 of the comic, Jay and Silent Bob are put through a gauntlet of potential origin stories that are taken straight out of Marvel and DC Comics. They range from Jay ignoring the ring of a dead Green Lantern to Jay killing a radioactive spider that was on its way to give Silent Bob powers that required some kind of responsibility, or whatever. After going through a few of them, they land on a drug trial for the creation of super soldiers. Here’s where stuff gets interesting.
Jay and Silent Bob, eager to get all of $10 for their participation in the trials, realize the drug comes only in the form of an injection. In other words, it can’t be smoked. That’s not good. The serum doesn’t really mesh with their preferred form of bliss and, on top of that, you can’t roll it into a joint.
It is at this moment that Jay makes one of the most important statements in comic book history, perhaps in all of fiction. “We’re stoners. We get lit. We don’t shoot shit. Losers are users, and users are losers. We’re just saying ‘no,’ yo. Later for you, ya fucking dope fiends.”
Simple but oh so fucking powerful. Weed’s not bad, and it’s definitely not worse than shooting up poison into your veins. There’s a line to be drawn in the enjoyment of highness and dope is where the buck stops. The answers lie in the smoke, in the puff that comes from within after taking a hit from a freshly rolled blunt. It that moment, Jay and Silent Bob became Bluntman and Chronic. The rest is up in smoke, off to the land of myths and legends.
In a sense, Jay and Silent Bob have always represented the infinite powers of weed, their mind-altering abilities. Not unlike Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agammoto, a source of mystical power capable of making stoners into wizards of the real and the unreal. Or just something that turns a regular hangout into a funnier one. And isn’t that enough?
Because of scenes like these in the comics and in the movies, Jay and Silent Bob turned something potentially scary into something mystical to be either enjoyed directly or peripherally (in my case). They do the opposite of demonization. Instead, they open the door to acceptance, to embracing the gift of nature’s own version of ambrosia for mortals. Do not fear the blunt. Become the blunt. Or at the very least, support it.