Zippy the Pinhead (or Zippy th' Pinhead or simply Zippy!) is a syndicated comic strip written by Bill Griffith. Zippy first appeared in "Real Pulp Comix" #1 (March, 1971) and went on to appear in Underground Comics, later adapted into a comic strip in 1976. In 1986, a deal between Griffith and King Features ensured much greater distribution than before.
It might be the strangest comic strip ever published in newspapers, and that's saying a lot for a medium that gave birth to Krazy Kat, The Far Side (and its various copycats), and more recently, Liō. Its drawing style, realistic and intricate and yet otherworldly, would not have been out of place in the early days of Newspaper Comics. The writing itself is a string of non sequiturs and dreamlike scenarios, with no real punchlines in the traditional sense.
- Animated Actors: A 2015 story arc reveals that Zippy has been played all these years by an actor. The actor quits from exhaustion at spouting all that surreal nonsense and Griffy auditions a number of replacements.
- Author Appeal: Diners and roadside memorabilia.
- Author Avatar: Griffy, a very nervous and self-deprecating example.
- Catchphrase: Zippy has several, including "Are we having fun yet?" and "Yow!"Griffy: Wouldn't it be horrible if we could only speak in catchphrases?
- Cloudcuckooland: Dingburg, the strip's setting.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Zippy, of course.
- Companion Cube: Zippy talks to the above roadside memorabilia. They talk back to him.
- One particular statue, the muffler-holding Muffler Man, was a major recurring character.
- Dada Comic
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Zippy has conversations with numerous odd statues. Some of which look like him.
- Evil Twin: Zippy's cynical, business-suited doppelganger, Lippy.
- Gag Nose: Griffy.
- God: A floating head with a mustache and a bad attitude... or a cheerful retro-styled imp. The two are presented as being two sides of the same coin, each equally valid.
- Gonk: The San Francisco Doggie Diner; Zippy himself (partly inspired by a microcephalic character from Freaks).
- Greasy Spoon: An increasing number of strips have occured in diners. Griffith even sponsored a few color Sunday strips devoted to saving various diners and roadside ornaments from demolition.
- Limited Wardrobe: Zippy and the other Dingburgers all wear the same style of muu-muu.
- Non Sequitur Humor
- Obfuscating Insanity / Hidden Depths: Zippy.
- Recursive Canon: The Dingburg strips are revealed to be the fictional creation of the in-universe Griffy, as a result of his obsession with Zippy and the other pinheads. God has referred to it as real, but he has been explicitly stated as being an idea. Mr. The Toad has also managed to worm his way into Griffy's work, and thus into Dingburg.
- Shout-Out: To Garfield Minus Garfield, here◊.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Zippy's two identical children, Fuelrod and Meltdown.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Zippy, Zerbina, his Evil Twin, and his numerous relatives who all dress or look almost exactly like Zippy, despite having completely different personalities from the lackadaisical Zippy, with a few tertiary sexual characteristics and Limited Wardrobe accessories to tell them apart.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Zippy wears a bow on his head, but his wife Zerbina's bow is outrageously bigger.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Ding-Dongs and Taco Sauce
- Underground Comics: Originally an underground comic strip before being syndicated to mainstream newspapers.
- Verbal Tic: Pinheads never say "the." It's always "th'."
- Widget Series