Sex, Drugs & Comics – A Survivor’s Tale Part One

BadgesTim Pilcher, ex-Vertigo Comics editor, is serialising the first chapter of his new book Comic Book Babylon: A Cautionary Tale of Sex, Drugs & Comics on Bleeding Cool. The Kickstarter to fund publication starts next week.


“Oh my God. Oh wow. Everything’s all full of light. It’s beautiful. This is the most amazing thing. I can’t stop talking.” That’s the girl’s reaction when she first takes Ecstasy in Grant Morrison and Philip Bond’s 1995 comic, Kill Your Boyfriend.

My own initial experience with the drug, in a small basement flat in Paddington, was not dissimilarly inarticulate, “Oh fuckin’ hell. Shit. That’s so—Fuck. Ha! I can’t believe it.” Et cetera. It was an evening that opened up my eyes to an alternate universe. A universe of infinite colours and possibilities. I was seeing patterns on the walls. The low level lights sparkled and twinkled, as if through a starlight filter. I looked at my friends, Art, Paul and Ellie, and tribal tattoos were appearing on their faces and arms. Intricate swirling patterns that morphed and changed.

I was smiling. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was smiling so hard it hurt. I wanted to strip off and dance and shout. I had a deep, overwhelming love for everyone in the room. Not just for being my friends, or for introducing me to this new reality. Not even because they’d allowed me into their inner circle, but simply because they were fellow human beings, made of the same beautiful light as I was.

We stayed up till sunrise, talking, dancing, sensing, while the MDMA worked its magic on our synapses. This was fantastic. I was on top of the world and embraced in an all-encompassing, unconditional love. I had entered a living comic book world, where anything was possible.

It would never get that good again.

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