Dingburg Diaries by Bill Griffith
Cover art for 'The Dingburg Diaries' (2013).

Bill Griffith is a member of the American underground comix movement and the creator of the iconic 'Zippy the Pinhead'. Born in 1944 as William Henry Jackson Griffith, he ranked Ernie Bushmiller, Robert Crumb, Aline KominskyRoy Lichtenstein, Jim Osborne and Charles M. Schulz among his main graphic influences. 

Griffith tried to become the "next big thing" in the art world of New York, but in 1967 he realized the "art thing" just wouldn't work out. So in 1969, he started drawing comics for all kinds of underground comix publications. His first strips were published in the East Village Other and Screw Magazine from New York City, and featured an angry amphibian named 'Mr. The Toad'.

Zippy the Clown, by Bill Griffith
'Zippy the Pinhead' strip from 1986.

Griffith became part of the San Francisco underground comix movement from 1970 on, starting with his romance comics parodies 'Tales of Toad' and 'Young Lust' (the latter co-founded by Jay Kinney). Griffith published his work in Yellow Dog and Real Pulp and has since worked with most indie publishers from the 1970s until the present, including Print Mint, Last Gasp, Rip Off Press, Kitchen Sink and Fantagraphics Books.

Tales of Toad by Bill GriffithYoung Lust by Bill Griffith
Tales of Toad', nr. 3 and 'Young Lust.' 

His most famous character is 'Zippy the Pinhead' (as in 'Zippy for President'), the polka-dotted clownsuit-wearing human with a pointy head, who made his first appearance in the first issue of Real Pulp in 1970. Griffith's style was different than that of other underground artists. His comics are satirical and humorous, and don't hesitate to criticize today's media-saturated and celebrity-obsessed society. The strip went weekly in 1976 when it was featured in the Berkeley Barb and was then syndicated nationally through Rip Off Press until the artist turned to self-syndication to college newspapers and alternative weeklies under the Zipsynd (later Pinhead Productions) label in 1980.

Zippy by Bill Griffith
'Zippy The Pinhead', 1997.

'Zippy' has also appeared in the pages of the National Lampoon, High Times, Arcade, Yow, Weirdo and the San Francisco Examiner. King Features Syndicate has brought the comic on a daily base to a national audience in over 200 newspapers since 1990. Zippy's trademark phrase, "Are we having fun yet?" has become a famous national quote. Bill Griffith, who lives and works in East Haddam, Connecticut with his wife, cartoonist Diane Noomin, has also been an irregular contributor to The New Yorker since 1994. His work has been reprinted in German, French, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Finnish, and Spanish,

Griffith made a graphic contribution to 'ProJunior’ (Kitchen Sink Press, 1971), a one-shot comic book paying homage to Don Dohler's character ProJunior. The same year he also drew a story for the anthology book 'Laugh in the Dark' (Last Gasp, 1971), a collection of humorous horror comics, edited by Larry Fuller. He was one of several artists who made a comic for 'El Perfecto' (Print Mint, 1973), a comic book edited by  Aline Kominsky, intended to raise funds for the trial of Timothy Leary, the famous drug guru who was facing 25 years in prison for drug possession. In 1978 he was one of the contributors to 'Lemme Outa Here! Growing Up Inside the American Dream' (Print Mint, October 1978), edited by his wife, Diane Noomin. He wrote a personal homage to Robert Crumb in Monte Beauchamp's book 'The Life and Times of R. Crumb. Comments From Contemporaries (St. Martin's Griffin, New York, 1998).

In 2019, Griffith made a graphic novel about Schlitzie, one of the sideshow performers who appears in the cult movie 'Freaks' (1932), titled 'Nobody's Fool. The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead' (AbramsComicsArts, 2019). In 2023, he released his biographical graphic novel, 'Three Rocks, The Ernie Bushmiller Story' about one of his heroes, Ernie Bushmiller

In the United States, Bill Griffith was a strong influence on Matt Groening, Mike Judge and Aline Kominsky. In Europe, he has followers in Belgium (Herr Seele) and The Netherlands (Mark Smeets, Joost Swarte). 

Zippy by Bill Griffith
'Zippy The Pinhead', 2013.

Zippy the Pinhead website

Series and books by Bill Griffith you can order today:


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