Brian Blomerth first fused his irreverent underground comix style with heavily-researched history in his 2019 Technicolor retelling of the discovery of LSD in Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day. Now, the illustrator and graphic novelist continues the wild and woolly excursions of his unique anthropomorphic characters, with Mycelium Wassonii (Wa-son-eye), an account of the lives and discoveries of R. Gordon and Valentina Wasson, the pioneering scientist couple responsible for popularizing the use of psychedelic mushrooms in the United States. This new release from Anthology Editions features a foreword by leading mycologist Paul Stamets.
The Wassons began their joint appreciation for all things mycological famously during their honeymoon in upstate New York. Valentina, hailing from Russia, held a wealth of knowledge and an appreciation for fungi not understood by Americans at the time, who associated mushrooms with the morbid. Embarking on a collective journey through ethnomycology, the pair documented the various cultural uses and traditions linked to psilocybin and amanita mushrooms, for which R. Gordon was eventually credited.
Mycelium Wassonii, a visual biography, documents the journeys which took them from Russian folk wisdom to midcentury Manhattan, from the indigenous traditions of the Mazatec people of Mexico to the mysteries of ancient Rome. The title pays homage to Gordon and Roger Heim’s Les champignons hallucinogènes du Mexique in which a new species, “Psilocybe wassonii,” was proposed in honor of the Wassons’ work. Unfortunately, just weeks before, another name for the species had been published, usurping Roger Heim and the Wassons’ hard-earned multi-year effort in the taxonomy of Mexican psilocybes.
Blomerth’s illustrated, globetrotting vision of science and mysticism with appearances by J.P. Morgan, Robert Graves, Life Magazine, and the CIA is available now: intl.shop.mexicansummer.com/merch/251031-brian-blomerth-mycelium-wassonii
Brian Blomerth is an illustrator, cartoonist and musician based in Brooklyn. His previous publications—released via Anthology Editions, Tan & Loose, and through his own Pupsintrouble Press—include the zines Xak’s Wax, iPhone 64: A User’s Guide, and Hypermaze. A veteran of the underground music and arts scene whose work has graced numerous album covers, Blomerth released his first full-length book, the acclaimed visual history Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day, in 2019.
Paul Stamets is a mycologist, author, speaker, entrepreneur, and leading voice in mushroom advocacy. His lectures and presentations have helped deepen the worldwide conversation around medicinal fungi, and his original research has led to discoveries in sustainability and immune enhancement. The author of six books (most recently Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness & Save the Planet), Stamets has discovered and named numerous new species of psilocybin mushrooms and is the founder and owner of Fungi Perfecti, LLC.