The Sunday paper for many youngsters of my generation meant looking at the ads from stores like Toys R Us, Hills Department Stores and Children’s Palace, allowing us to see all the new action figures, board games, dolls and video games that were awaiting us on the shelves, and it would also alert us to toys that were on sale that we could alert our parents to. The other major part of the Sunday paper was the Funnies, you know those classic comic strips that brought joy to your Sunday mornings as the antics of Garfield, Peanuts, Family Circus, Dennis The Menace, Andy Capp, Far Side, Blondie, and Marmaduke brought the entertainment as you ate your breakfast of cereal or bacon & eggs. Here in Ohio where I grew up, the paper is Dayton Daily News and my must read strips consisted of Peanuts, Andy Capp, Garfield, Blondie and for some reason Ziggy…yep Ziggy was a comic strip that I loved, and it’s odd as I had always seen Ziggy more as an old person comic strip but something about the little guy who always seemed like the world was out to get him made me a fan. So let’s get a cup of coffee or maybe a glass of milk and open up the good old Rotten Ink Daily News Paper and find the Rotten Funnies and see what silly humor Ziggy has for us.
Ziggy is a short balding man who lives along with his dog Fuzz, cat Sid, his pet Rock, a fish, duck named Wack and Parrot in a small house with a garden. He is a likable guy who seems to always have things go wrong for him and people around him are super rude and treat him badly…but Ziggy, while down and depressed at times, takes it all in stride and will in the end always look at the brighter side of life. Ziggy is single and loves his animals and enjoys his days off and spending time outdoors or even reading a good book. One of his best friends is a seagull that he hangs out with at the beach and it’s clear as day he cares about his animals a lot! Ziggy is also a sucker and easily tricked by people and is often taken advantage of. Ziggy is a hard worker who is a lovable character who is truly a classic Sunday Comic Strip Character.
Thomas Albert Wilson was born on August 1, 1931 in Grant Town, West Virginia and later his parents moved him to Uniontown, Pennsylvania and that’s were he spent his childhood. In 1950 he started doing advertising layouts for the Uniontown newspaper for a short time. Wilson then joined the U.S. Army from 1953-1955 and also went to the Art Institute Of Pittsburgh where he graduated from also in 1955. Also in 1955, he got a job at American Greetings as a designer and by 1958 he was Creative Director. He became an instructor for a year at Cooper Union and Art and Science institute from 1961-1962. In 1968 he created the character Ziggy, and by 1971 it was a syndicated comic strip thanks to Universal Press Syndicate and started out in only 15 newspapers but quickly grew to over 600 papers running the comic strip. In 1978 Wilson became Vice-President Of Creative for American Greetings, showing that the company knew they had a talented and creative mind on staff and needed to promote him to tap his ideas. During his time at American Greetings he also was responsible for being the head of teams that created the likes of Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. In 1982 Wilson won an Emmy for the “Ziggy’s Gift” animated Christmas Special that aired on ABC, a true classic special that was later released on VHS and DVD for home media collectors. By 1987 Tom Wilson turned the Ziggy comic strip over to his son Tom Wilson Jr. who is still working on the strip to this day for both papers as well as online. Wilson got and beat lung cancer, but sadly died of pneumonia on September 16, 2011 at the age of 80 in Cincinnati Ohio. While Thomas Wilson is gone his legacy of creative projects including Ziggy will live on forever! Below is a picture of Thomas Sr., Ziggy and Thomas Jr.
Ziggy became such a lovable and popular character that in 1982 a TV Special was made called “Ziggy’s Gift” that was an animated short that played on ABC on December 1st as one of their Christmas Specials. The cartoon as Ziggy as a street Santa collecting money and the world around him is filled with crooked people who are lying and stealing from everyone as Ziggy is the only honest person who really wants to help. The Special won an Emmy Award in 1983 for Outstanding Animated Program. The film was released on VHS and DVD but sadly is now out of print. You can find the special on YouTube from time to time. Very cool animated special that features one of the best comic strip characters in a truly heartwarming Christmas animated tale.
Ziggy was a true icon of early American Greetings as his image was used on so many other items besides greeting cards and the comic strip. Ziggy has been on T-Shirts, Drinking Glasses, Board Games, Paperback Books, Stuff Dolls, Mini Figures, Stickers, Buttons, Penny Banks, Home Media, Posters, Christmas Ornaments, Wrapping Paper and so much more! Ziggy was and still is somewhat of a true icon of Comic Strips! And over the years I know myself I have had the books, dolls and even a mini figure. And for some reason when I think of Ziggy I think of my Grandparents on my mom’s side.
Real quick I want to also share a picture of a cool mini figure of Ziggy that I got from Game Swap in Kettering that is Ziggy with an ice cream cone and the ice cream has fallen off the cone and onto his foot! These little PVC figures are really cool and I can remember by Aunt Donna having some of them when I was a kid. So if you like Ziggy make sure to get yourself one of these little figures that you can find on Ebay and Etsy most of the time pretty cheap.
So let’s crack open some of these Paperback Books that features Ziggy for this update about this classic comic strip character. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and an Etsy seller for having these books in stock. I want to remind you all that I grade this book on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Ziggy has in store for us in these books.
Ziggys Of The World Unite! ***
Released in 1976 Cover Price $1.50 Signet # ? of ?
This book is tons of one-page stories featuring the one and only Ziggy having silly and lovable adventures! So while I cannot cover each one I will select 10 of my favorite strips in no real order. First I would pick were Ziggy is going to pop some popcorn over the stove and because nothing can go right for him the popcorn gets out of control and buries him under a mountain of the tasty snack. The second has Ziggy at a restaurant called Mom’s Place and is having to stand up for himself as Mom wants him to eat all he can eat! Lucky third has Ziggy at a palm reader who is having a hard time finding his lifeline! The fourth has Ziggy wearing sunglasses and claims that celebrities wear them so people don’t know who they are, and he wears them so people don’t know what he is not. The halfway point is this fifth choice that has Ziggy standing in front of an antique shop looking at toys that he had as a child and how depressing it is that the toys of his youth are called antiques now. Number six has Ziggy’s car missing it’s wheels after it ran out of gas and he is returning from the gas station with gas…some one robbed Ziggy! Seventh has Ziggy taking out the trash and right before be can drop the bag it busts and the trash is all over the ground. I picked for eight has Ziggy being held up at gunpoint by the teller at the teller desk at a bank! Number nine has Ziggy being bullied by an ice cream truck driver as he is forcing Ziggy to eat chocolate ice cream and like it! And the last pick aka ten has Ziggy running from the movie theater watching JAWS as he was way to scared of the shark!
When reading “Ziggys Of The World Unite!” I found myself feeling like a kid again sitting reading the Sunday Funnies and seeing what Ziggy was up to or should I say lack of up to. Many of these jokes and situations got a chuckle out of me, but to be honest many of them also fell flat and were very dated…like the talking margarine that was based on the now outdated and modern forgotten Parkay commercials, but some things that would be looked at as dated worked and still holds an impact like Ziggy being scared out of his mind by JAWS as still to this day many people are terrified of this film. The odd thing about this paperback is that none of Ziggy’s animals are shown and most of the humor really does come at Ziggy’s expense as he is treated poorly by everyone around him, it makes you really feel bad for him as he is the worlds doormat! This is a great quick read and does a great job of showcasing who Ziggy is and what this comic strip is about. But I am not done and would like to at least cover one more Ziggy paperback for this update!
This Book Is For The Birds ***
Released in 1978 Cover Price $1.25 Signet # ? of ?
This book is tons of one-page stories featuring the one and only Ziggy having silly and lovable adventures! So while I cannot cover each one I will select 10 of my favorite strips in no real order. First: has Ziggy sitting with a bird watching book by his side starring blankly at his pet bird that alerts him that this is not what they mean by bird watching. Two: a line is at the doctor’s office for shots to protect your family from the swine flu and Ziggy has all his animals with him, as the Doctor with the needle looks shocked and disheveled. Three: Ziggy is walking his pet duck as a construction worker is shouting at him to DUCK as a wrecking ball is heading toward Ziggy who alerts him that his duck is nice. Four: Has Ziggy sitting on a beach asking the a seagull where all the people are, and the bird alerts him they have stopped coming after Jaws was released in theaters. Five: Ziggy is walking under a branch and a bird poops on his head, and he says some people are lucky and the birds sing for them! Six: Ziggy is on the phone with his duck calling a radio station and asking them to play the song Disco Duck again. Seven: Ziggy is in a towel and is standing among turkeys and says he thought the sign said Turkish Bath! Eight: It’s snowing outside and a bird is in a nest and is cold as Ziggy is bringing the bird a hot water bottle to keep it warm. Nine: Ziggy has birdseed and is feeding birds and reminds us all to be kind to all the birds. Ten: Has Ziggy playing cards with his friends and his parrot is telling them what cards he has in his hand!
This paperback features Ziggy and all his animal family and friends as he tries to make it through life with them by his side. This is very heavy on Ziggy with birds and shows his friendship with a Seagull as well as his life with a pet parrot and duck and is all pretty funny and lighthearted stuff. I will say that in this book Ziggy gets pooped on several times by birds and those are funny and yet also very sad as he gets it a lot even though he is super friendly to birds and feeds them and takes care of them. His pet duck is pretty funny and seems to be a goofball just like him and just enjoys his little life. I also like how the Seagull at the beach and Ziggy seem to share deep talks, but also have time to talks silly topics. This paperback book is really good and showcases the more warm side of Ziggy as he is a true lover of animals as they besides pooping birds at least treat him well. If you like Ziggy and more heartwarming loser humor this one is for you! Check out some artwork below to see the style of Wilson and the humor of Ziggy.
I cannot help it for some reason I really enjoy Ziggy and his life is out to get him humor, I think the thing that works for Ziggy is the fact that he really is just a likable guy who always seems to be on the wrong side of the world. Well I think its time we put away the Rotten Funnies and I tell you what the next update will be about and it’s a good one in my opinion as we will be leaving the world of comics books and head into the world of sports as I will do a countdown of the best main active mascots of MLB! That’s right a countdown that will feature the sport of baseball’s best of the best, well in my opinion! So until next time read a comic strip or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update as I take you all out to the ballgame.