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Richard Poplak Thanks God for Bob Marley

Bob Marley

This month marks 30 years since the death of Reggae legend, Bob Marley, in 1981. Richard Poplak, author of Ja No Man and The Sheik’s Batmobile, looks back at the short but successful life of the world’s most famous Rastafarian, with the conclusion that we are “too close to his music” to fully understand the legend:

Ziggy Marley, one of Bob’s more famous offspring, has been working on a comic-book project called Marijuanaman.

The titular character comes from a planet where the natural supply of THC in the atmosphere has been depleted and he must come to Earth to replenish. Fortuitously, he lands in a field of sticky green and is taken in by a community of environmentalists. He scores a girlfriend named MJ (not Spider-man’s Mary Jane, you understand), and battles an evil pharmaceutical company bent on exploiting ganja for their own nefarious ends.

Marijuanaman, then, is another shard of Bob Marley’s legacy tossed into the pop cultural maw. Indeed, Marley almost singlehandedly brought the idea of marijuana smoking into the mainstream, defending it as a cornerstone of his religious and cultural beliefs. This was only one element of his persona that, all things being equal, should have shut him out of the broader cultural arena. His politics was another. But rather, Marley was embraced. His 1984 album Legend has sold at least 25-million copies, and continues to sell a few hundred thousand a year. When kids are discovering music, they will inevitably make a pit stop at that album. Many stay there for a lifetime.

Ja No ManThe Sheik's Batmobile

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Image courtesy Repeating Islands


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">dregstudios</a>
    May 31st, 2011 @22:02 #

    Bob Marley has influenced the entire world with his music, which will live on to be rediscovered by more and more generations to come. His work has affected my life and my art so much. I paid tribute to him with a surreal and psychedelic portrait inspired by his words. You can see it on my artist’s blog at


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