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James Longshore Talks James Bong, Marijuana Legalization, and More!

Firstly, let me introduce you to Bong, James Bong. He’s a cannabis crusader and the top-shelf agent of the Justice Organization Involving Nugget Technology, aptly abbreviated J.O.I.N.T. When James Bong isn’t protecting stoners from injustice and harm, he’s advocating on behalf of marijuana, spreading cannabis education far and wide. It’s a cause near and dear to its creator, James Longshore.

James Longshore, akin to many of us here at ComicsVerse, grew up reading comics. The New York City native also grew up as an actor. Those acting chops enabled James to star as the titular character in the 2005 short film, The Origin, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the J.O.I.N.T. And thus, the Cannabis Crusader’s story began. Next came the tie-in comic, Rebel Without A Light, with Medicine Man and other high concept comics following suit.

The rebel — now with a light — has been in publication for several years. The comic reaches an international audience, having displayed features in magazines such as Weed World UK, High Canada, and Las Vegas Cannabis Magazine. This March, James Bong comes to trade paperback.

I had the opportunity to speak with the lifelong actor-writer-director about the upcoming trade release of his comic. We also discussed a range of topics, including censorship at comic-cons, the legalization movement in the United States and Canada, as well as what’s next for the James Bong Universe. Without further ado, let’s get to the know character and man behind the joint.

Our conversation, edited for length and clarity, follows.

James Longshore
James Longshore

N.C. Panduro: James, where are you from?

James Longshore: Originally I’m from New York City.

NCP: And right now you’re located in Europe?

James Longshore: Yeah, I’m home based in Paris, and then I do a lot of work in Romania. I was recently in Amsterdam. I’m going to Berlin next month. I go to different cannabis festivals of course all across the continent.

NCP: How did you go from New York City to now living abroad?

James Longshore: Well, I grew up in New York City, as I said, and that’s where I first fell in love with comic books and dusty little comic book stories, full of long boxes of back issues. Then I moved to Los Angeles, and in Los Angeles, I actually made the short film that the comic book is based on, which is The Origin or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the J.O.I.N.T. It’s the live-action short, and it’s James’s origin when he’s back in high school, and he gets recruited by the J.O.I.N.T agency and all that jazz.

And so then I was living in LA and I met a girl, woman, who’s now my co-writer on the comic book. Her name is Bianca Mina. She co-writes the comic book with me and supervisors the production as well as the artwork. She portrayed Romania as a kind of dreamland. So I decided to come out here because it was a dream always to see as much of the world as possible. I don’t like to just travel like a tourist. I like to live somewhere and really soak it in.

NCP: Bianca is from Romania?

James Longshore: She is Romanian. She’s an accomplished writer, producer, and director of film and television. I came out here to Romania because a lot of American films shoot here. You could work as an actor and a dialog coach. I also help foreign actors with their performance in English.

NCP: You’re definitely well-traveled. Let’s talk about the inspiration behind James Bong. You can see part of it in the name. What inspired you to make this comic?

James Longshore: Well, it was two things. Of course, the character came first and then the medium came second. I didn’t set out saying I want to make a comic book; what should it be about? The character first popped into my head when I was 17, 18 years old. Every superhero has an origin. Spider-Man remained bitten by a radioactive spider, Batman’s parents remained killed, and James Bong smoked cannabis.

I was with friends and it was probably sometime around 4:20. We’re all sitting around, smoking a joint. We’re all getting along. I’m thinking about the world. Instead of using violence to get along, why can’t we all just smoke weed? We need someone who solves the world’s problems with weed. James Bond solves the world’s problems with violence. We need a James Bong and it just popped into my head at that moment.

NCP: That’s all she wrote, right? That began the universe of James Bong.

James Longshore: Yeah. Then I made the short film that I mentioned. I developed the idea over a few years with a few different fans coming up with different plots. But when I actually went out to LA and made the original movie, when I sat down to write the script, just all these ideas, like backstory for the characters, came to me and it felt like the same kind of comic book mythology that I grew up loving, you know? I decided from there that it shouldn’t just be a film, it should be a comic book so that I would be able to tell all these stories.

James Bong Medicine Man
Image courtesy of Vigilante Entertainment

NCP: Writing comics, was that something you ever envisioned for yourself?

James Longshore: Well the thing is I’ve been an actor since I was seven years old. For most of my young life, my trajectory was as an actor. That’s the direction that I was heading. So when I was a kid, I used to make comic books. I would draw these panels. They were very, very crude drawings and the only way you could tell objects and people apart was by the colored pencils I would use. I was really not a visual artist. I wasn’t good at drawing.

It never occurred to me to really head into that direction until I got older and I went from not just acting but also to writing because I wanted more ways to express my creativity than just reciting lines. Now, of course, I have a couple of other ideas that I think would translate great to comics as well; that I would love to do.

NCP: James Bong fits in well with the medium of comics.

James Longshore: To me he’s a hero in the same way that any Marvel, DC, or Image character would be. I wanted to use that whole medium, and in a way, I wanted to subvert it a little bit and normalize cannabis. Yes, it’s James Bong, and yes, cannabis is a subject matter. But at the same time, the villains are the villains. In a Spider-Man comic book, maybe the thing that villains were fighting over would be money, another green substance that people fight over. But instead of money, it’s cannabis, and it’s not portrayed in a negative light.

NCP: James Bong is inspired by real-life stories. Where do you find those stories? Do you come across them online, are they personal experiences?

James Longshore: Two different things. One is personal, real experience. Others are stories from the legalization movement that aren’t necessarily being reported on by the mainstream media because mainstream media is still pushing the cannabis as a dangerous drug narrative. So it’s those two things, personal experiences and legalization stories. And I’ll give you an example.

The last story we did, is Chronic Crook. James Bong and the case of the Chronic Cook. We combined two stories there. I had a friend and she and I were in a car accident together in Arizona. When the police showed up, they searched the car and they found some weed. They said we have a period of time to decide whether we’re going to charge you with anything, but they didn’t tell us then. Nothing ever materialized. Nothing ever happened and we thought it was nothing.

Then my friend started going for some job interviews and found out that there had been charges filed in the state against her that were coming up in background checks when she was calling for jobs. So we took that story, and we mixed it in which James Bong is trying to help her clear her name and clear her record. Another story is from the legalization movement, which is about a woman who was using cannabis to treat her Crohn’s disease. The D.A.R.E. program, you know, the D.A.R.E. cops who come to schools and teach you about the dangers of marijuana.

NCP: Oh yeah. I remember them speaking to my fifth-grade class.

James Longshore: Well they came to her kid’s school. This was in Kansas. Her kid started arguing with them, “No, it helps my mom. You’re lying.” So what they did was, they went to her house and they busted her. They took all her stash and they took her son away. James Bong goes on a mission to help her get her kid back.

NCP: That’s what I think is really fascinating about this character and what’s great about what you’re doing with this comic. James Bong aims not only to entertain but educate. Why is that educational aspect important to you?

James Bong and President Obama
Image courtesy of Vigilante Entertainment

James Longshore: I don’t want to think of it as educational. I wouldn’t want people to think this is an educational comic book. What I mean by that is the fact that I still believe in the power of storytelling to change ideas and to change hearts and minds. Nowadays, when you read a news article, you already know what side you’re on, especially more and more living in the Internet bubble; you’re already getting articles that are already on your side. You read this article, and you already have the side you feel on, so it doesn’t necessarily change your opinion or enlighten you in any way you hadn’t already been.

However, with a story you get caught up in the emotion, you relate to the characters, and you understand better what they’re going through. My comic book is out there to normalize the perception of stoners, cannabis consumers. And so rather than educate, it’s more about making the characters relatable. They’re not these caricatures of Cheech and Chong that we all know. We’re trying to change that image a little bit. We’re trying to take people along for an emotional ride and at the same time change people’s perceptions. That’s where the educational aspect comes in.

NCP: Shinning a light on these issues will help change people’s perceptions or misconceptions of marijuana and the legalization movement. James Bong, he’s a part of that movement. Part of that change. I can see how important that character is to you and how passionate you are about it all. It’s clear from our conversation and evident on the pages of your comic book.

James Longshore: It’s funny because of how this character has been with me for almost all of my life, at least more than half my life. The culture, the community, the legislation movement, everything has progressed. When I started it was more of, we’re kind of in this secret club and we can’t tell anyone we’re in it. But when we both find out that we’re in it, we’re like cool. But, we can’t go to the cops to protect us. So originally James Bong was someone who was sort of protecting the members of this secret club because nobody else would. Now it’s become more of a bigger thing because of the debate that has matured in our society.

NCP: We know about the character, his mission, and we know what inspired him, but is the character based in part on you or someone close to you?

James Longshore: Well, it’s funny because of the conventions. People would look at the character in the comic and then look at me and then look at the character in the comic and say, “is he you?” “Are you him?” And it’s not so much that we’d developed this look that is based on me or that I’m throwing myself in there. It’s that I am an actor and when I made the original short film, I played the character. It was live action and the comic book character is based on the characters in the short film. Naturally, we just do [look-alike] because we wanted to tie the two together.

NCP: That makes complete sense. Beneficially, there’s another layer of personalization for you and the character.

James Longshore: The thing is, James himself, there’s a whole mythology there. The J.O.I.N.T agency that he works for was started in the seventies. I’ll give you a little bit of background. Some of it’s been revealed in the movie and the comic. This agency was founded in the seventies as a response to Nixon originally starting the war on drugs. Then in the eighties, during the war on drugs, James’s father disappeared. James’s father was the biggest agent of J.O.I.N.T before. Maybe he was arrested. We don’t really know. That’s unclear.

Fans of James Bong
Image courtesy of Way of the Bong

Before that, James’s grandfather, JFK Bong, one of the first cannabis farmers that were hurt by the Prohibition Act in 1937. His grandfather burned to death in his own cannabis fields by anti-cannabis prohibition people. So there’s a whole history that goes back. There’s a whole world and eventually, I want to make spinoff comics of it that tell the story of J.O.I.N.T in the seventies and the eighties. The whole history as it goes back, but everybody has to get to know James first.

NCP: James Bong is coming to trade paperback this March, is that right? Would this be the first trade paperback release of your comic?

James Longshore: This is the first collected trade paperback. See the one thing that really is holding us back and driving us crazy is the format of being published serialized in magazines because we have a certain number of issues that we have to tell the story over. They’re coming out monthly. We’re kind of confined to tell stories in a very, well, you can tell from the comic and the very tight, fast-paced beginning, middle, and end. Part of what’s amazing about comics is taking time to tell a whole story, having close-ups and cool panels.

We’ve had two stories before this one and sometimes we put little one-shot comics in that we call comic snaps. If we’re in the middle of a storyline we haven’t finished it yet, we’ll put one of those in the magazines. Each year we released one collected edition of the story that’s been in the magazines. They’re standard comic book length. They’re like 16 pages or less. Now, we’re collecting all of those [issues] that we’ve done over the past three years into one big trade paperback with a lot of supplementary material.

NCP: Can you tell me more about that? Where can readers buy a copy of the trade paperback?

James Longshore: We’re publishing it with a company called Amsterdam Book Center in Amsterdam, appropriately. They are a print-on-demand service. They’ll have it on their shelves and then anytime somebody clicks on the Internet and orders one, they’ll print it, and they’ll send it out. We’re going to also look for other publishers and distributors that might be interested in helping us reach a wider audience with it.

NCP: Let’s talk about the creative team, in addition to you. You work with an international team of artists, correct?

James Longshore: Yeah, it’s really cool. Through the magic of the Internet, we put the comic together. My penciller is in Mexico. The inker and letterer is in Chile and our colorist is in Italy. We’ve been working with the inker and the colorist for three years now, for almost the entire run of the comic’s publishing. The penciller we’ve been working with for two years. He wasn’t our first penciller, but he is now.

It’s cool. We’ve become a team. It’s amazing because the reason we started doing new issues again is because I got asked by a magazine, while I was trying to promote the web series a little bit, to do some new stories, new comics. I initially found them as artists for hire, but now we’re this team; we’re well-oiled, and we work together so well. In the beginning, I had to give them all these tiny little changes, all the time. But now we’ve been together so long; there’s less and less need for any changes. We trust each other more. I know their hearts are in it too.

James Bong, Hillary Clinton
Image courtesy of Vigilante Entertainment

NCP: It sounds like all of you have become a close-knit family.

James Longshore: Yeah, definitely. We’re going to be launching a business together as well. The team will be called Comic-Ad. We’re basically going to do advertising that turns your company into a comic. That can be anything from newspaper-style strips, like Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side, Beetle Bailey, and Snoopy to superheroes or an adventure comic. We’re going to be doing that together. The inker, Bianca, and I also write another cannabis-themed cartoon together that we got hired to base on James Bong for a magazine in Colorado as well.

NCP: Is James Bong still being published monthly in High Canada?

James Longshore: Yeah, it’s still in High Canada every month. We’re in a few different magazines around the US, but we just started in Las Vegas Cannabis Magazine and Tahoe Magazine. Las Vegas Cannabis Magazine is distributed in Oregon, California, Arizona, and Vegas. We just had the comic book translated into French and we’re going to be getting distributed on the French market in France starting this month as well. So we’re all over now.

NCP: It sounds as though 2018 is going to be a big year for James Bong.

James Longshore: Yeah, we think so. We’re hoping to, or just trying to. We’ve made little steps forward over three years, and we’re just looking to keep that momentum pushing us forward. We’ve gotten better as storytellers and as artists since we began.

We’re also going to Berlin this month, and we’re going to try and pitch to some media companies a James Bong animated series.

NCP: With the soundtrack, I was listening to on your website, that’d be pretty groovy.

James Longshore: Cool man! I’m so excited that you listened to that! Yeah, that’s a lot of fun.

NCP: Do you have any plans for the web series, such as a limited release on Blu-ray?

James Longshore: I can’t really say for sure exactly what we want to do with that. I feel like it’s more meaningful to fans after they fell in love with the character in the comic. I think it’s better that way. We’re not pushing that as much as the comic because, quite honestly, I was at the beginning of my career then.

As much as I love the web series, and I love it, I think it’s great. What we’re doing now is so much better — that it’s better for people to view it with the knowledge from the comic. It would mean more to people that way.

NCP: I know it’s early, but do you have any plans to visit any cons in the US or Europe yet? Or am I jumping the gun?

James Longshore: We’re going to be at the Berlin Film Festival. The next thing after that, in March, is Spannabis. It’s the biggest European cannabis festival. Then we’d like to also go to Amsterdam Comic-Con. With things like San Diego Comic-Con, it’s so in advance that you have to try and get in there. You know what I mean? It’s like 18 months in advance or so you have to apply.

NCP: Your grandkids will be RSVPing (laughs).

James Longshore: (Laughs) Exactly, exactly. Last year we were in Toronto in May. We may go again this year to Toronto. We’re still feeling that out.

James Longshore and a fan
Image courtesy of Way of the Bong

Our biggest launch was at East European Comic-Con, which was in Romania and we were a huge hit there. It was incredible. Here’s the thing about American comic-cons when you’re going from state to state as opposed to European comic-cons. The East European Comic-Con was in Romania and Romania, it’s different from the rest of the eastern European countries, which are primarily Slavic. Romania is a little bit more like little America. It’s more of a Latin-type country. So many people speak English here and are very much into the American culture.

So that was a very good place to launch it. But when you go from con to con in the states, it’s all the same language and it’s all the same thing for lack of a more descriptive word (laughs). Whereas when you go from con to con here, each country has their own comic book industry and culture. Italy makes comic books. France makes comic books. It’s harder to infiltrate that than it is say a cannabis event here. So the cannabis events tend to be the events that we attend here more often.

NCP: You’ve faced censorship at comic-cons before. Can you describe what happened?

James Longshore: We’ve faced censorship at comic-cons out here. At Paris Comic-Con, for example, we were supposed to be there and we’d been talking to them last summer. They sent us the contract to have space there.

A little while after they signed the actual contract, they said, “Oh wait, we reviewed your content again, and we can’t have your content at the comic-con because there’s going to be kids there and they couldn’t. They were not allowed. In France, for example, you’re not allowed to show any images of the leaf, and you’re not allowed to publish anything that advocates for the use. So we’ve actually been censored at comic-cons here before.

This is a controversial subject matter. It’s so normalized to me that when I do run up against censorship, or I do try to face the reality of how much opposition there is and will be to this, I am again just totally surprised, but the whole point is to normalize it.

When we first started to pay for the artwork we would get sponsors. We would get canna-business, businesses that were somehow in the cannabis industry, and we would do product placement for them in the comic book that would then get published in the magazine, reaching an audience.

James Longshore Interview
Image courtesy of Fameuz

Some of the companies in Colorado that we approached were like, “We love what you’re doing, but we can’t sponsor you because it could be advertising that is seen as appealing to children and there are laws against that.” You can’t have advertising or packaging that could appeal to kids. So part of me wants kids to have a proper education.

I don’t want kids growing up getting misinformation about it. Just think of all the arguments that my parents and I could’ve been spared if they weren’t totally brainwashed by the propaganda and we’re living in fear of the legal repercussions. I have pictures from conventions of kids with their parents. The kids are like 10, 11, 12 years old and they have cannabis shirts on. Their parents are coming in buying the comic and being like, “This is awesome.” So again, I think it should be up to the parents.

NCP: There’s a great quote about the hypocrisy of states’ rights that escapes me. Basically, some government officials pick and choose which issues should be regulated at the state and federal levels.

James Longshore: When I do get the opportunity to do a full-length limited series, I really want James Bong to investigate that corruption. The fact that, in Canada right now, the headline is “Oh, legalization.”

Our comic is published in Canada. I know a lot of the activists there and I know a lot of people in the community and it’s completely corrupt. It’s completely government run. There are only six people they’re giving license to. A lot of the companies include ex-cops, who ten years ago were busting people for it, and they’re now making money off of it. There’s a lot of hypocrisy there that I’d love to expose in a comic book.

NCP: That would make a great miniseries.

James Longshore: It’s funny because we have comics about that. We have this one one-shot comic where James convinces Obama to free a bunch of non-violent marijuana offenders. You’ve got one period where Obama is instructing the Justice Department to leave the states alone. Then you get a different party in power; you get Trump, you get Jeff sessions and all of a sudden they’re being directed to go after them again.

NCP: And that’s a perfect segue. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era memo that offers protections to states who have legalized marijuana. I wanted to get your take on that. Poll after poll shows most Americans favor, if not full legalization, then decriminalization or at least the medicinal use of marijuana. California, one of the biggest economies in the world, just legalized it. Vermont passed a legalization bill through its legislature last month.

James Longshore: Yeah, they are the first state to legalize marijuana legislatively. It just happened January 22. I actually read the article last night. It’s funny you bring it up. The governor signed it into law hesitantly. The governor doesn’t support it wholeheartedly. But yeah, it’s the first state that has legalized it strictly through its legislature and not through the will of the voters.

NCP: Why do you think Sessions and some other government officials are having a difficult time catching up to popular opinion on legalization? Is it generational? Are they still stuck on Reefer Madness? (Laughs). There’s evidence-based research that supports its medicinal benefits.

James Longshore: I’ve been heavily involved in this for years. It touches on a number of complex issues from, conspiracy to practical. There’s definitely a generational aspect to it, for sure. I think that as our generation, yours and mine, matures and has more of the power, the pendulum will swing more. So I think to a degree it is generational, but again if you look at Canada, they’re saying legalization. What the activists are saying is what about amnesty? Why don’t you owe us an apology for it being so illegal for so long? There are a number of industries that have a lot, profit wise, invested in anti-marijuana laws, facilities, businesses, and everything from for-profit prisons to pharmaceutical companies.

So you have a lot of people who stand to lose a lot, and those people have a lot of influence in the government. They’re lobbyists. Obama stopped short of saying the government was wrong and that’s part of, I think, the problem. For them to admit that they made a mistake, that there were lies, or we shouldn’t have been doing this for 18 years is an arduous step for them to take. On the other hand, you mentioned there is a lot of medical research and proof out there of the benefits of it, refuting the harmful effects that have been propagandized.

In California, for example, they’re erasing a lot of people’s records. You can go and apply now and have your felony brought down to a misdemeanor or your conviction just wiped off. That’s an issue too. What about all the people who have been hurt by it? When you say something’s OK now, what about all the people who by today’s standards weren’t doing anything wrong?

NCP: Exactly, as marijuana legalization spreads, we have to reanalyze pertinent criminal records.

James Longshore: That’s why I’m not a wholehearted supporter. A lot of the legalization measures that are being approved or put in place now are not changing the perception. They’re not saying, “It’s not as bad as we thought.” “We were wrong.” They’re saying, “OK, well you’re going to do it anyway, so we’ll give you permission.” That’s what it feels like.

High Canada Magazine
Image courtesy of High Canada

The comic book is about changing our perception too. They go hand in hand; you can’t have legalization and still have this perception that it’s so harmful and bad. It’s funny because some of the elder statesmen now of marijuana culture, like Cheech and Chong, are so respected now. I’m all for activism, and I’m all for positive role-models; but I still feel like, Tommy Chong, remains the one who popularized that image of the stoner that was manipulated for 20 years at the height of the drug war. It’s a complex issue.

NCP: Tying it back to the comic, you’re doing your part to change perceptions for the better.

James Longshore: Yeah, somebody has to put the pieces together for people, you know what I mean? That’s what I’m trying to do with the comic. Put those pieces together.

NCP: Comics transcend age groups. You mentioned kids at cons who have their own paraphernalia on. They enjoy it, adults, too. Comics give you the opportunity to reach across all age groups.

James Longshore: I had this one kid who came to our table at a convention. At our table, I also had some of my vintage comics for sale, my old Spider-mans, Batmans, so on, so forth. I had some of them there. And this kid is with his mom and he’s looking over all the comics on our table. She says, “OK, which one do you want?”

We’re expecting him to pick Batman, Ghost Rider, or somebody he knows and is famous. His mom is like, “Which one do you want out of the box of classic comics?” He says, “No, I want this one. I want this one.” He wants our comic. If the mom says yes, that’s her choice.

It was so funny because growing up being a comic book reader, my parents, the content of the comic could completely get by them depending on the title. If I came home with Hellblazer they were like, “Oh my God, you can’t have that!” But if I was bringing something that didn’t have a curse word in the title, you know, they were never exactly checking the store.

NCP: You can’t judge a book by its cover.

James Longshore: Yeah, exactly. I like flipping genres. I like having adventure and fun, but also with a chance to have a lot of jokes and a lot of scenarios that people haven’t seen before. It allows me, the genre and satirical aspect of it, to make fun of a lot of things that wouldn’t be acceptable in another sort of a format.

I liked the idea of, again coming back to the politicians, you’ve got these politicians who are by day saying, “No marijuana is wrong. It should be illegal and we need to give more money to the cops. We need to make longer sentences.” Then at night, they’re meeting with the lobbyist from the for-profit prison and he’s like “OK, let me buy you dinner.” It’s sort of their secret identity during the day.

Then they’re supervillains by night. So we’re taking that again. We have Paraquat; named after the chemical that they used to spray on cannabis fields and plantations in the seventies. He’s a businessman who is trying to use the negative public image of marijuana to his advantage.

We also have the White Widow, a female villain, and she seduces men. She commits crimes, frames those men, and plants marijuana on them so the blame is on cannabis more or less. There’s also Judas, who’s a religious fanatic, but also a hired assassin. He kills people, but he thinks as long as he goes to church and confesses his sins, it’s fine. These are the kinds of villains we have in the comic.

NCP: James, you’re a really fascinating guy. I really enjoyed talking to you today. Thanks for indulging me on the political topics as well. I appreciate that.

James Longshore: Cool. Yeah, because I always like to discuss it with people. I always like to see different opinions and find out what other people are hearing and see what their opinion on the matter is and what they think the factors are. It’s a really rich topic I think, a complex topic.

NCP: Yeah, definitely. What else can we expect from James Bong, Medicine Man, in 2018?

James Longshore: We have our first licensed James Bong merchandise. Just hit the shelves actually. A revolutionary new product called Vpuf Pipe. It is an on the go, fits in your wallet, disposable pipe; made of very high-quality cardboard and tinfoil. You can slip it in your wallet, pull it out, and fold it up. It’s practical origami, let’s say. You can just smoke out of it no matter where you are.

There’s a James Bong collection with the first line of them. You can get six pipes with artwork from the comic book on the packaging.

Vpuf Pipe featuring James Bong
Image courtesy of Vpuf Pipe

We’re also doing a lot of exciting promotions. We have something called the joke of the month. Basically, it’s a stoner joke. For example, what do stoners fight over in a divorce?

NCP: Um, joint custody?

James Longshore: Nice! You got it! You would win a prize. So we have the joke of the month every month and if somebody gets it right — we also pick our favorite non-correct punchline that we didn’t think of out of the entries — they win an autographed comic book. Also, whomever our sponsor is for that story, they win one of their products, whether it’s a vaporizer, rolling papers, seeds, or whatever.

So we’ve got those kinds of exciting promotions going on, we got the trade paperback, and we’re going to be pitching the animated series. Hopefully, that’ll happen soon. We’re also looking for an indie publisher that can help us get the comic into more stores because that’s one of the things we don’t have, a distribution network set up, social media. I like to be out there with the fans. I like to get out there, at the conventions, and talk to them and watch them hold the comic in their hands and see the joy on their faces.

NCP: Obviously what you’re doing is worthwhile in and of itself, but that is the icing on the cake.

James Longshore: Yeah, totally. So we’ve got the trade paperback, and if you buy the pipes, we get a percentage, and that money goes just right back into making more James Bong. So buy the pipes! (Laughs)

NCP: James, thanks again. Hopefully, 2018 is a big year for you, James Bong, your team, and everyone else involved.

James Longshore: Thank you. I appreciate it. ComicsVerse was one of the first websites to publish anything about us. They did an interview with us three years ago when we were doing our first magazine publication in the UK. Justin [Alba] and ComicsVerse have been a big supporter of us for a long time, and it’s been cool to watch them grow as we grow. I feel like we’re sort of brothers growing up, widening our base, and becoming something together.


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