Feb 13, 2019
You know what I really want to know from cartoonist Bill Griffith? It’s this: does he collect a royalty every time the housekeeper on “Two and a Half Men,” Berta, calls Jon Cryer’s character Alan Harper “Zippy”? Because with repeats, he should be a rich man. Nothing telegraphs an opinion of someone’s intellect more rapidly than calling him or her a “pinhead.” And no one has done more to expand the use of the term “pinhead” in our society than daily cartoonist Bill Griffith, creator of the long running “Zippy the Pinhead” comic strip.
BILL GRIFFITH podcast excerpt: "I'm sure somebody will be offended, which will be nice—to still offend somebody after all these years. People who only know Zippy comics through King Features will probably be surprised to see that Zippy was more adult-oriented."
Zippy is an American icon, a mouthpiece alternatively for the social and political views of his creator or just a place to drop a twisted joke or punchline. But for those who know Zippy the Pinhead only as a syndicated daily comic in newspapers around the world, you might be surprised to learn the character has a rich history starting in the underground comix world of the 1970s. And he was actually a secondary banana to creator Griffith’s first character, Mr. Toad. All sorts of pinhead history can be found in Griffith’s introduction to his new collection, Lost and Found: Comics 1969-2003. It’s a 364-page treasury of some of the cartoonist’s earliest work, including Zippy and pre-Zippy, such as Young Lust, Tales of Toad, Thrilling Murder and more. This is my second conversation with Griffith; the first was back in 1997, when Mr. Media was a syndicated weekly newspaper column.