Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Another one lost to drugs: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Having liked and respected actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in every movie of his I saw, I felt betrayed that such a talent lost his life in the throes of drug addiction.

Maybe betrayed is too strong a word, maybe disappointed would be more accurate. I thought he had a lot more great performances in him. Now he’ll be another Hollywood tragedy like River Phoenix and several others. Their epitaphs: Killed by drugs.

Heroin is some real powerful stuff. Even though the story, “The Poppy’s Strange Fruit” is presented as comic art with caricatured drawings, the message is deadly serious. It’s from The Big Book of Vice, published by DC Comics under the Paradox Press imprint in 1999. Story is by Steve Vance and art is by Gregory Benton. Maybe Hoffman could have benefited from reading it before he got into his deadly habit.

Copyright © 1999 Steve Vance/Gregory Benton

Here’s a page from a comic that influenced me when I was 15-years-old, and saw it in a 1962 comic book called 87th Precinct. It's from the inside back cover of a book-length story of a heroin shipment to New York City to feed the “panic” from a local heroin famine.

I remember the creepy feeling I got from looking at it. I was na├»ve about drugs, as were my classmates and our teachers. No one talked about it. In those days we suburban kids were kind of blinded and unaware of the grimness of drugs, addiction, and its effect on the minority communities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until drugs moved into those same suburbs and the white kids started using recreatonal and hard drugs that lawmakers got interested and alarmed.

I’m not pure as the driven snow. I don’t take heroin but if caffeine was a dangerous drug I would have overdosed decades ago.

Again from The Big Book of Vice:

Copyright © 1999 Steve Vance/ Bahadir Boysal

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