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LOST AND FOUND: COMICS 1969 - 2003

Lost and Found coverLost and Found: Comics 1969-2003
By Bill Griffith
392 8x10-inch pages
b/w with color
2011 Fantagraphics
paperback
$35

If you think Griffith’s comic strip Zippy is all he’s been doing all these years, this book will convince you otherwise. The content is divided into four chapters: the first three cover the decades (1960s-1970s, 1980s, 1990s); the last, color work from across the years. Everything herein appeared first in underground comix; titles and dates thereof are meticulously cited. The strip started in syndication August 26, 1985, but only a short sequence from the syndicated strip is reprinted here (Griffith’s visit to his childhood home).

Zippy makes occasional appearances throughout the volume, but the first chapter — at 220 pages, the longest — belongs mostly to Mr. Toad. Zippy’s first appearance (in “I Gave My Heart to a Pinhead and He Made a Fool Out of Me” in Real Pulp Comics No.1, 1971) is included, as is the tongue-in-cheek “The True Origins of Zippy the Pinhead,” but the Pinhead takes a back seat to other characters and miscellaneous shenanigans — Alfred Jarry, the Toadettes, Claude Funston, the sex-obsessed Randy and Cherisse, Benny Breen, not to mention the hilariously sexual Young Lust romance comics parodies. There’s much more unabashed nudity and copulation here than you’d expect from the comic strip Zippy.

LostGriff1

One of the book’s chief values for historians as well as fans is in the opening 20 pages, which Griffith devotes to telling the story of his debut in comix and his subsequent rise into syndication, full of anecdote and apostrophe — and false starts at turning Zippy into a movie. For a somewhat shorter version of the tale of Griffith’s progress, you can visit the Usual Place (RCHarvey.com) where Harv’s Hindsight for July 2011 divulges the whole sordid story. The Hindsight version is much better at telling how syndicating Zippy was a scheme by a departing King Features factotum who wanted to leave a “time bomb” ticking on the syndicate’s doorstep, and Zippy was the time bomb. You have to read it.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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