Connect the Polka Dots by Bill Griffith

Connect the Polka Dots: Zippy the Pinhead Comic Strips
by Bill Griffith
Fantagraphics, 2006

Someone at Central Library is ‘aving a larf. Zippy has been a cult comic for nearly forty years, and is utterly unknown in New Zealand. Full of word-play and non-sequiters, it demands a certain tolerance from its devoted readers, and isn’t as immediately accessible as, say, Garfield. Instead of buying an anthology, the library has thrown us into the deep end with this random volume, reprinting strips from December 2005 to August 2006.

Griffith’s protagonist Zippy, a beatific pointy-headed idiot savant obsessed with pop culture, wanders through a (real life) world of novelty architecture discussing ephemera and politics with Griffy, a pointy-nosed avatar for the author. It’s a naturally surreal and philosophical strip, the sort of thing you’d either love or hate. Griffith includes a patient explanation called Understanding Zippy in 6 Easy Lessons on his website here.

The construction of the book demonstrates the unusual care that Griffith lavishes on his sweetly unholy creation – instead of a straight reprint of all cartoons from X to Y, they’ve been rearranged by character appearance. The story doesn’t really progress in a narrative sense, so the order is unimportant, and there are detailed notes (the “Pindex”) at the end.

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One Response to “Connect the Polka Dots by Bill Griffith”

  1. I only knew of Zippy from the Emacs command psychoanalyze-pinhead.

    This connects a few dots.

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