He wears a sunny red bow in his hair to match his polka dot dress and he spends a lot of time talking with roadside attractions. Comic fans everywhere know him as Zippy the Pinhead, and his love of unusual structures knows no bounds.
Just ask the Long Island Duck or the giant dachshund at the Doggy Diner in San Francisco, and they'll tell you all about Zippy. He's the creation of cartoonist Bill Griffith who came up with the unusual character more than 30 years ago in San Francisco. In the late 90s, Griffith left the Bay Area for Connecticut where we visited him at his home and studio.
Bill Griffith at his Connecticut studio
The studio is filled with comic books and toys and many brightly colored cans and boxes containing Zippy's favorite foods. Griffith says that moving made him hyper-aware of the things around him. "I started to notice muffler men in the area, and giant bowling pins and giant hot dogs... And I thought well if Zippy can talk to the Doggie Diner doggie head, why can't he talk to these guys?"
Griffith and Zippy draw our attention to the zany characters and structures that brighten our world if we just take the time to look for them. "Most people that you talk to don't notice roadside stuff, it goes right by" says Griffith. "Zippy notices everything because to Zippy, he's entered a new world, and he's gone out to what to him is a fantasy world, but actually is real, it's a real world." And we're glad.