Currently Reading: Rand Holmes Gives Harold Hedd

One of our favorite illustrators and creator of the “Harold Hedd” comic strip in the underground zine “The Georgia Straight,” is always on the mind when breezing around Vancouver

The legendary comic illustrator Harvey Kurtzman saw some potential in the kid. For that reason he published a few of Rand Holmes’ drawings in his cult-classic magazine “Help!” after leaving M.A.D. mag in 1960. Holmes grew up in a small Nova Scotia town, but came of age in metro Edmonton, Alberta. After a brief stint as a sign painter he touched down in Vancouver, 1969.

“The Georgia Strait” started in 1967 putting out it’s alternative weekly. Holmes designed several covers but became a folk hero because of the comic strip he published every issue called the “Adventures of Harold Hedd.” He had a retrospective hard-bound book on this comical cannabis-inspired space quest by 1972. 4E was inspired by Holmes when creating the first issue of PDA, and his references are gazed upon by the Art Dept. regularly.

He spent his final days rendering meticulous oil paintings. In 2002 he died in Nanaimo, BC while awaiting chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is a disease that has been successfully treated using cannabis, since the medical establishment starting taking marijuana seriously as medicine. We wished it could have helped Rand Holmes.


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