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Comics for All Ages: Zippy the Pinhead

Zippy books

Zippy the Pinhead

Griffith, Bill. Zippy Stories. San Francisco: Last Gasp, Inc., 1995. Print.

Zippy Stories is a surreal comic with a twisted sort of social commentary strip with a heavy satire focus. This strip is heavy on the childlike personalities of the main characters with speech that may or may not take some decoding to understand. Griffith frequently used this strip as a forum to express his views regarding society, consumerism, and everyday life.

Visual and Textual Style: random dialog, intricate artwork, literary nonsense, non sequitors, popular culture prevalence, diarylike, deals with heavy subjects

Potential readers/appeal factors: satire about consumerism and its excess, language and art may appeal more to older audiences, very full of satire, can be somewhat obscure so readers have to not be easily offended, readers must like a challenge and be willing to put in effort

Awards:

  • “Are we having fun yet?,” Zippy’s catchphrase, is in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.
  • The Berlin Wall once featured Zippy’s image, though it was torn down and auctioned off.
  • There have been two stage productions: one in Baltimore entitled “Zippy the Pinhead: the Musical” and one in San Francisco entitled The Zippy Play: “Fun: The Concept”.

Other pertinent information:

  • The official Zippy website offers a tutorial explaining how to understand the strip.
  • The quote “Are we having fun yet?” originated in the Zippy comics.
  • Bill Griffith’s full name is William Henry Jackson Griffith.
  • Griffith wrote parody comics and worked for pulp and underground comic distributors.
  • Attempts have been made to turn Zippy into both a move and an animated series.
  • Zippy the Pinhead was inspired by a circus sideshow act, “Sip the What Is It?”