If the ultimate career success is being able to "Do What You Love and Love What You Do" as self-help books and highly successful people commonly proclaim, then cartoonist Gary ODD Edmund has truly arrived.
The Converse, Texas-born former tattoo artist has been able to combine two of his lifelong passions – comic books and marijuana culture – and turn them into a hot new comic character based on a 10-foot nugget of marijuana named "The Bud," which is creating quite a buzz on the Comic Con circuit.
Marijuana has long been a staple of underground comix since the sixties when counterculture icons The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Mr. Natural and R. Crumb's Zap blazed onto the scene. What's new is that the once strictly underground genre (sold behind the counter or under brown paper), like the popular botanical whose virtues fueled it, has grown up and evolved from pot culture into pop culture.
"The Bud arrives at this time in American history when marijuana is finally being legalized, and the cannabis culture that I have loved since I was a teenager is finally being brought into a more 'mainstream' light," said Edmund.
A grassroots success, "Comic Cons have been my proving ground, and the reason why I stuck with The Bud," the artist told AOL Jobs. "Many publishers have deemed The Bud too controversial for them to touch, but the fans love him." As an unknown artist with an unknown character, Edmund regularly sells 200-300 books per convention -- bettering many more established artists who average only 50 comic books or less for an entire weekend's work.
"I made roughly 10k last year on The Bud, with the new Comic Strip, and the push we've been getting lately, along with interest from publishers I plan on making a LOT more this year. At this point, I'm thinking 3 - 5 times as much as last year," Edmund said.
"The Bud is taking off so big I've had to drop other non Bud related projects." The print books sell for $3.99 and the new digital versions go for .99 to 1.99
The Bud's success attracted the attention of independent comic book publisher CCP Comics in Texas, which recognized the potential of superhero cannabis character, his nemesis The High Roller -- and supporting cast that includes Bong Master, Pipe Rider and the Vaporizer -- that they signed the artist up. And on 4/20/2014, The Bud Comics was released by CCP, an event that drove so much traffic to the CCP website that it crashed. "Luckily people were able to buy the issues via detour to CCP's Facebook page," Edmund reassured us, so The Bud was able to keep on truckin'.