In 1968 a pig ran for President of the United States. He was the candidate of the Youth International Party, also known as the Yippies, founded by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Paul Krassner, three guys who were the Merry Pranksters of radical politics.
I don’t know who coined the term “silly season” in relation to our nations political campaigns, but they could have had that in mind. Silly as it was though, the Yippies were trying to make a point. I forget exactly what it was. But running a pig for president has nothing on this year’s silly season which has frankly become mondo bizzario. It’s seems to get weirder every minute and you know what Hunter S. Thompson said: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Or, something like that.
You’ve probably heard about Rand Paul and this Aqua Buddha business. I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight because there really was an Aqua Buddha, in the comics that is. I am too young to have read any of them myself (they were published in the 1940’s) but back when I was a comic book aficionado, I recall reading about Aqua Buddha published by Cheapo Comics.
To the right is one of the few surviving panels of this comic. What a coincidence that one of the characters names was Stephen Batchelor, huh?
Anyway, Aqua Buddha was a spin-off from another character, The Green Lama, who actually started out in the pulp magazines. The Green Lama was the alias of Jethro Dumont, a rich resident of New York City, who traveled to Tibet, learned the mystic arts, and then became a crimefighter. His brother, Homer Dumont, instead of Tibet went to Japan where he was transformed from an ordinary millionaire into a super-Buddha, with the usual strange powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, including of course, being able to breath underwater.
For some reason Aqua Buddha never caught on. There were I believe only ten or twelve issues. Cheapo Comics was a really cheap outfit. They couldn’t even afford a letterer who could spell simple words like “stumbled.”
Some people say that Aqua Buddha was the inspiration for Aquaman, however I doubt this since Aquaman made his first appearance around 1940 and Aqua Buddha didn’t come out until 1945.
In the last three issues, Aqua Buddha had a young sidekick named Bodhi Boy. Kuan Yin also made some appearances as a sort of Wonder Woman type character who assisted Aqua Buddha and may also have had an on/off relationship with him. For a while, Aqua Buddha, as Homer, had a regular girlfriend named Lovey Kindness.
So, now you know who Aqua Buddha was. I don’t know how Rand Paul could have ever heard of him because he is way too young, unless his dad had some of the comics and kept them. My mom threw all of mine away. I had some real gems: early Spiderman and Fantastic Four, the first Daredevil, Superman and Batman comics from the ‘50’s. They’d be worth a fortune today.
I almost forgot . . . you know, many super heroes had trademark phrases they used, for instance Captain Marvel’s was “Shazam!” and Superman always said, “Up! Up! And away!” Aqua Buddha’s was kind of like a mantra: “Boom Chakra Laka,” which Sly Stone later changed to “Boom shaka-laka-laka” and used in the song, “I Want To Take You Higher.” Apparently, Sly is a big Aqua Buddha fan.
That’s all for today. By the way, if you believe any of the above (expect for the part about Pigasus and the Green Lama), I have some prime swamp land in Louisiana I’d like to sell you. I can also get you a bridge dirt cheap . . .