The Comics Kingdom Blog

Ask the Archivist: ZIP’S STRIPS

 It’s been thirty years since Bill Griffith’s underground comix star Zippy The Pinhead went above ground and joined King Features Syndicate. Zippy had been around since 1971, so he’s in the midst of a forty-fifth anniversary, too.

Zippy, as you might know, was inspired by Griffith’s real-life interaction with a Pinhead, as well as Pinheads in popular culture, like the co-stars of the infamous film, “FREAKS”(MGM 1932).

But Griffith has always been more interested in the way culture has impressed him, especially that which addressed kids many years ago. At any time, incomprehensibly, long-dead actors or forgotten corporate mascots might appear, and interact with Zippy or Griffith’s cartoon alter ego. It’s like a surreal dream, often punctuated with misty bits of philosophy and out-of-date advertising catchphrases.

Today I’ve picked some of the Zipster’s various encounters with comic characters, some of which aren’t even Hearst titles, but it’s all in the service of satire, so it’s perfectly legal, Have a look:

15 August 1986 Bozo the Clown  23 September 1986 The Nebbishes  20 November 1986 Barney Rubble  11 August 1987 Morty Meekle  29 January 1988 Hi & Lois  3 June 1988 Fearless Fosdick
15 August 1986, Bozo the Clown; 23 September 1986, The Nebbishes; 20 November 1986, Barney Rubble;
11 August 1987, Morty Meekle; 29 January 1988, Hi & Lois; 3 June 1988, Fearless Fosdick
7 June 1988 Henry and Hello Kitty  19 April 1989 Astro Boy  18 July 1989 Ziggy  2 October 1989 Dagwood  12 December 1990 The Yellow Kid  22 April 1991 Koko the Clown
7 June 1988, Henry and Hello Kitty; 19 April 1989, Astro Boy; 18 July 1989, Ziggy; 2 October 1989, Dagwood; 12 December 1990, The Yellow Kid; 22 April 1991 Koko the Clown
24 May 1991 Mark Trail  5 April 1993 The Yellow Kid  15 December 1994 The Family Circus with assist from Bil Keane  16 February 1995 Beavis and Butthead with assist from Mike Judge  2 October 1995 Hello Kitty  28 October 1995 The Schmoo
24 May 1991, Mark Trail; 5 April 1993, The Yellow Kid; 15 December 1994, The Family Circus with assist from Bil Keane; 16 February 1995, Beavis and Butthead with assist from Mike Judge; 2 October 1995, Hello Kitty; 28 October 1995, The Schmoo
3 December 1999 Family Circus and Zits  19 August 2002 Mary Worth  20 August 2002 Apt. 3-G, Judge Parker and Mark Trail  15 April 2003 Popeye  28 April 2003 Popeye  13 November 2003 Ziggy
3 December 1999, Family Circus and Zits; 19 August 2002, Mary Worth; 20 August 2002, Apt. 3-G, Judge Parker and Mark Trail; 15 April 2003, Popeye; 28 April 2003, Popeye; 13 November 2003, Ziggy
4 February 2004 Nancy & Sluggo  7 May 2004 Yosemite Sam  28 October 2004 The Lone Ranger  21 September 2005 Betty Boop     And the 7 March 1995 Family Circus panel where Griffith  returned the favor from the December 1994 sample.
4 February 2004, Nancy & Sluggo; 7 May 2004, Yosemite Sam; 28 October 2004, The Lone Ranger;
21 September 2005, Betty Boop; and the 7 March 1995 Family Circus panel
where Griffith returned the favor from the December 1994 sample.
SOME SUNDAYS:     31 July 1994 Barney Google  12 November 1995 Doonesbury, Charlie Brown, Dagwood,  Dilbert, Superman, Nancy, Cathy, Popeye, Garfield, Calvin, and Billy.  10 March 2002 Mark Trail, Superman  11 March 2001 Pinhead (from a 1950’s board game) and Pinhead (from  “Pinhead and Foodini”, an early TV show that had its own comic book).  17 March 2002 Hello Kitty, Henry, Dilbert.  29 February 2004 Little Lulu and Tubby. (Zippy and Griffy often become  their guest stars. Nothing strange about that, is there?)
SOME SUNDAYS: 31 July 1994 Barney Google; 12 November 1995 Doonesbury, Charlie Brown, Dagwood, Dilbert, Superman, Nancy, Cathy, Popeye, Garfield, Calvin, and Billy.; 10 March 2002 Mark Trail, Superman; 11 March 2001 Pinhead (from a 1950’s board game) and Pinhead (from “Pinhead and Foodini”, an early TV show that had its own comic book); 17 March 2002, Hello Kitty, Henry, Dilbert; 29 February 2004 Little Lulu and Tubby. (Zippy and Griffy often become their guest stars. Nothing strange about that, is there?)

Having fun yet? Have a safe Bastille Day.

Yours,
THE KFS ARCHIVIST MAN.

P.S. Betcha thought I forgot! Here's the Mail Bag for this week:

To Veggie Sue-

The Dennis comic book you describe was a vacation holiday special in 1958. It may be valuable more in sentiment than money. I see on Ebay at this moment you can get two copies of the original, one for $4.10 and the other for 50¢. I think most of those 1950s-60s issues were reprinted in the 1970s.

To Timothy Fisher-

I don’t think “The DQ” is interested in character licensing any more, they seem to be aiming for the apparently lucrative hip young adult market. Their offerings are now less ice cream specialties, though they still have the “Blizzard” cups,  but now they emphasize  the usual fast food fare.

Dennis was once closely associated with Dairy Queen just as much as Ronald McDonald would be connected with McDonald’s.  Without him, DQ might as well be Red Robin or Checker’s. Just my humble opinion. I miss Burger Chef and Gino’s.

To  Bernie-

I’ll rustle up some more Dennis stuff soon.  Ketcham was one of my favorites, too.

To Marcus-

Good to hear from you. Because Dennis was so popular so fast, my guess is that Ketcham was probably doing so many freebies and request art, he probably didn’t bother keeping track of it. We collectors have to do the treasure hunting.

To Andrew Joseph Mansell-

You mentioned Dennis in his Sears Roebuck catalogue appearances, I was tempted to use some last week, at least a promo for it. They encouraged kids to paw through said catalogue in search of a specific Dennis image embedded somewhere within, as a possible prize or a discount was on the line. Kids would be there anyway, especially around Christmas time, looking for toys they might want. Now there’s no more catalogue to worry about.

To Kade82-

The U.S. Marvel Dennis comics were regular size books, the Brit version was, as seen, a bit larger. The cover paper isn’t slick like the American one either. It has a sort of a thin, dry feel to it.

To Cameron, Timothy Fisher-

I don’t know why you need to see that Snuffy strip, it was highly unremarkable. But, I’ll see about finding a spot for it.

Yours,

Archivist the Menace.

 

 

 

 

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