From ARCADE #4 , winter 1975, edited Al Floogleman & Griffy
"Your violent thrashings stir me. From where are you people pulling the energy? It's a great trick, awareness and buoyancy. Yours is still the art 'that knows not its name,' down and dangerous, some of the only art around still life-impelled beyond its theory (that's decadence). There's a lot of dada ghosts riding their hopes on you; stay as unregenerate as you are."
Six years ago I believed the above quote was just as relevant in 2003 as it probably was in 1975 to what was once commonly refered to as "Underground Comix" and then later commonly referred to as "Alternative Comics."
PITTSBURGH -- The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh's museum of cartoon art, presents Zippy's Pittsburgh and More: The Art of Bill Griffith, February 7 through March 31, 2009.
Zippy's Pittsburgh and More is an exhibit of Griffith's original comic art, with several strips featuring Pittsburgh landmarks as settings. "Our location at the Children's Museum has a certain surreal quality that lends itself well to Zippy," said ToonSeum Executive Director, Joe Wos. "Giant inflatable ice cream dinosaurs, twenty-foot cranes made of old gas station signs, and of course a museum of cartoon art, all seem to fit quite well in Zippy's world!" The artist agrees, saying "For me, Zippy is funniest when his craziness bumps up against the ‘real world', which is why I put him in diners and have him talking to Bob's Big Boy. It doesn't get much more real than Pittsburgh, PA - it's Zippy Country!"
Zippy the Pinhead, one of the unlikeliest daily comic strips in the history of newspapers, initially appeared in underground comix in the early 1970s, and was first published as a daily strip in the San Francisco Examiner in 1985. The following year, King Features picked up the strip for worldwide syndication. Zippy's creator Bill Griffith describes the character as the "wise fool," who "knows nothing at all and everything at once." His twisted response to all forms of high and low culture forces us to take a fresh look at words and images that permeate our consciousness daily.
Bill Griffith will appear for a special book signing at Phantom of the Attic Comics in Oakland, on Saturday, February 21, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. The book signing is sponsored by Phantom of the Attic and Copacetic Comics.
The ToonSeum is Pittsburgh's museum of cartoon art, currently housed within the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (10 Children's Way, on the North Side). Entry to the ToonSeum is free with paid admission to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (Adults- $10, Children under 18 and Seniors - $9, Children under 2- Free). Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit www.toonseum.com or call (412)325-1060
Pittsburgh City Paper is the media sponsor for Zippy's Pittsburgh and More.
• Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon found a video file of Jonathan Lethem interviewing Daniel Clowes at the 2005 MoCCA Festival; he can't remember where it came from but he's posted it anyway
The next best thing to a signed edition: with select books we'll include a signed "ex libris"-style bookplate, and best of all, it's FREE! The latest additions to our selection are Zippy: Welcome to Dingburg by Bill Griffith (above) and Jessica Farm Vol. 1 by Josh Simmons (below). We also have a restock of plates for Josh's House.
This new Zippy collection is an unexpected departure from previous editions: most of the strips in this volume chronicle the strange history, people and social mores of Zippy’s hometown, “Dingburg,” the only city in the U.S. inhabited entirely by pinheads — well, aside from Washington, D.C., and certain sections of Newark.
Take a tour of Dingburg’s “Beatnik District,” experience the festive holiday season of “Nordisk,” meet Dingburg’s resident Cubist, watch as citizens capture Donald Trump’s wig in a raid on an Atlantic City casino, and find out (at last) exactly why Zippy and his fellow Dingburgers speak in non sequiturs (it’s the water).
Reader response to this new Dingburg “story thread” has been loud and approving, with many asking for directions to the fabled enclave, somewhere “17 miles west of Baltimore.” Detailed maps will be provided on the new book’s endpapers.
Dingburg’s own favorite comic strips are also on display. Marvel at the baffling success of “Fletcher & Tanya” and the Dingburg kids’ favorite online comic, “Unibrow Versus The Universe.”
Also in this isue: the revealing “Little Zippy” series, in which Zippy’s magical and very weird childhood is laid bare.
And, finally, Zippy and J. Edgar Hoover (remember him?) cavort in tutus and play with loaded guns. Welcome to Dingburg!
A couple of things to watch out for in this set of photos and videos from Saturday night's Bill Griffith appearance and exhibit at our storefront: 1) the fan who gets her Zippy tattoo signed and hightails it out the door to the tattoo parlor down the street to have it inked in permanently; 2) our brand-new Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery canvas tote bags, available only at the store for the low price of $14.95. We love us a slideshow, and it's embedded above; click here if you can't see it and/or to view it in a new window, or click here to browse through images at your own speed.