In Part 2, we will look at Cigarette smokers, and other smokers.
Cigarette SmokersMarvel seemed to have alot of cigar smokers, at least up until Joe Quesada introduced the No Smoking policy for Marvel characters (in the mainstream titles. I believe the MAX line was exempt from this). Which is fair enough from his point of view, as his grandfather died from a heart condition related to his smoking. There didn't seem to be alot of cigarette smokers at Marvel, however.
While the occasional cigar may seem recreational (unless you were Nick Fury, in which case they were mandatory), cigarette smoking is more of a habit. And there seems an air of the rebellious, or even self-destructive with cigarette smoking, as well as a certain 'cool' factor, even today. For superheroes, who generally rely upon being fit and healthy, cigarette smoking seems counter-productive (unless you happen to have a healing ability, like Wolverine). So the characters drawn to cigarette smoking were more along the lines of characters in the DC Vertigo line, particularly if your character had been written at some stage by an Englishman or an Irishman.
John Constantine, in the title 'Hellblazer', is a chain-smoking magician, who, for whatever reason, favours Silk Cuts, though he has been seen to smoke Malboros or Camels as well.
Garth Ennis, the Irish writer who started his run on Hellblazer with the above-mentioned story, went on to co-create another smoking hero, the Reverend Jesse Custer, or 'Preacher' as he is perhaps better known. An altogether more wholesome character than John Constantine, who can be a right bastard, but still with a vicious edge, and an axe to grind against God. And, of course, a smoker. When you possess the Voice of God, you probably want a bit of gravel in there for extra effect.
Pipe SmokersNow we come to an odd group of smokers, the Pipe Smokers. If cigars add a touch of class and sophistication, this is even truer for pipe smokers. There is an element of decadence, or an air of intellectualism about pipe smokers. And you may be surprised at who has been caught with a pipe in their mouths.
Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four was, early on, an occasioanl pipe smoker
And that most decadent of alter-egos, Bruce Wayne
Another intellectual super-hero who has been caught with a pipe is Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X of the X-Men
As for smokers of...other substances, there is very little evidence of that sort of thing going on in mainstream comics. I mean, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers have that sort of thing covered in the underground comics scene of the late '60's and '70's...
But they're hardly super-heroes, now are they. But the odd hint is dropped here and there, like this one in Warlock, of Pip the Troll (again)
(pictures used without permission, but with lots of love and respect. Please don't sue me...)