Vaughn Bode was born in Utica, New York on July 22, 1941. He began drawing at the age of five. He remembered himself as "an extremely introverted kid, completely unable to relate to the world around me...I started creating my own fantasy world populated with my own little creatures." On September 27, 1957 at 2:30 pm, he designed a unique little wizard who wore a huge hat and that became the infamous Cheech Wizard. The inspiration for the name came from a can of Cheechy Nuts.
Incredibly prolific in a career that barely spanned two decades, Vaughn produced a phenomenal body of work. Among his publications are the self-published DAS KAMPF, which was one of the first underground comics in 1963. He was the editor of GOTHIC BLIMP WORKS the first weekly underground comic published by the EAST VILLAGE OTHER in the 1960's. DEADBONE was featured in GALAXY MAGAZINE from 1969-1971 and CHEECH WIZARD for NATIONAL LAMPOON MAGAZINE from 1971-1975. His JUNKWAFFLE comics 1-4 were published by Last Gasp 1971-1974.
Vaughn is one of the most influential American cartoonists of our time. Much of graffiti art itself comes from the work of Vaughn Bode. Rendering his characters, lettering and cartoon semiotics is a rite of passage for graffiti art crews. Vaughn Bode's art was made popular by writers like Dondi, Seen, Tracy and Mare 139. Unrecognized by most in the fine art realm, the worlds and characters he created permeate our collective pop image bank like a classic visual rock & roll soundtrack for our times. Vaughn was the recipient in 1969 of a Hugo Award. In 1975 he received the Yellow Kid award in Lucca, Italy.
Vaughn Bode died on July 18,1975 in San Francisco in a mystic experiment gone wrong.