Vaughn was born in upstate New York and began drawing when he was five. A very introverted child, unable to cope with reality, he created his own fantasy world.
When he was 15, he came up with the character, Cheech Wizard. The name was inspired by the Italian Cheechy Nut. Other characters in his repertoire were Cobalt 60, Deadbone and the Wars Lizards, a reptilian group whose antics served as a condemnation of the Vietnam War.
Although his career barely spanned two decades, he produced a large body of work, starting with the self-published DAS KAMPF in 1963. Vaughn then became the editor of an offshoot of the EAST VILLAGE OTHER newspaper called GOTHIC BLIMP WORKS, a weekly underground comic in 1969. It was during this period that he met Robert Crumb and Spain Rodriguez and other founders of the underground comix medium. From there, he became a contributor to GALAXY MAGAZINE and NATIONAL LAMPOON. His JUNKWAFFLE series was published by Last Gasp from 1971-1974.
Bode received a Hugo Award in 1969 and the Yellow Kid Award in 1975. He died accidentally later that year due to an experiment in autoerotic asphyxiation. His last words to his son Mark, also an artist, were, "Mark, I've seen God four times, and I'm going to see him again soon."