Legendary Canadian counter-culture cartoonist Rand Holmes died on March 15, at the age of 60.
Holmes’ most well known cartoon creation was Harold Hedd, a bespectacled stoner who appeared on the pages of Vancouver’s Georgia Straight during the early 1970’s. Hedd’s adventures ranged from selling oregano to tourists in Vancouver’s Gastown to flying back a plane-load of pot from Mexico. That adventure saw Hedd forced to ditch some of his contraband over his hometown, raining packages of pot down onto the surprised and grateful folks below.
Hedd’s adventures often offered a parallel to events in the real world. Holmes mercilessly mocked Vancouver’s then-Mayor Tom Campbell, who was virulently anti-pot and anti-hippie. Another common target was Vancouver’s violent vice squad, which usually responded by laying obscenity charges against the Georgia Straight.
One of Holmes’ classic Hedd tales was about the 1971 Grasstown Police Riot, and was featured as the centerfold in an early issue of Cannabis Culture (CC#05, …And the pigs went mad!).
Holmes contributed to White Lunch Comix, Fog City Comix and others during the 1970’s. During the 1980’s he created a series called Hitler’s Cocaine and did artwork for science fiction comics like Twisted Tales and Alien Worlds.
Holmes died while awaiting chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma. He is survived by his wife, three children and a grandchild.