Nobody's Fool : The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead
The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead
Nobody's Fool follows the story of Schlitzie's long career-from Coney Island and the Ringling Bros. Circus to small-town carnivals and big-city sideshows-which is one of legend. Today, Schlitzie is most well-known for his appearance in the cult classic Freaks. The making of Freaks and Schlitzie's role in the film is a centerpiece of the book. In researching Schlitzie's life (1901–1971), Griffith has tracked down primary sources and archives throughout the country, including conducting interviews with those who worked with him and had intimate knowledge of his personality, his likes and dislikes, how he responded to being a sideshow "freak," and much more. This graphic novel biography provides never-before-revealed details of his life, offering a unique look into his world and restoring dignity to his life by recognizing his contributions to popular culture. "If you're into non-fiction, Bill Griffith's Nobody's Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead (Abrams, March) looks unmissable: the biography of Schlitze Surtees, the real-life sideshow performer who appeared in Tod Browning's legendary film Freaks." The Guardian "With dense cross-hatching and lively, expressive character design, Griffith's art straddles the line between absurdity and realism. Griffith gets at the central paradox at the heart of freak shows: while exploitative and demeaning, the shows created a loving, tight-knit community. . . Much like in Freaks, the revelation found in this illuminating work is that the true monsters are the "normal" people who line up to laugh at or abuse Schlitzie.", Publishers Weekly "Representations of sideshow banners, handbills, and posters occupy many pages; wavy framed fantasy sequences are starkly contrasted with angular presentations of harsher moments in Schlitzie's life. It is an astonishing life, beautifully told. Or, as Schlitzie would say, it's boffo!" , Booklist "Griffith is renowned for his absurdist comic strip Zippy the Pinhead, inspired by Schlitzie's iconic image, and on some level this biography seems to be an attempt at restoring some dignity to a life he's mined for his own purposes. He succeeds wonderfully." , Library Journal ". . .a masterpiece of absurdity and humanity. After all these years Schlitzie still triggers laughter and tears.", Steve Heller, Print Magazine "It's also partly autobiographical, exploring how Griffith partly based his creation Zippy on Schlitzie - whose story is rendered here in painstaking pen and ink, not to mention a great well of empathy; our hero myay have been a sideshow attraction, but we laugh with, rather than at him." Total Film ". . .a heartfelt, meticulously researched graphic-novel biography of the real Schlitzie Surtees. . . The book's a haunting tour of the "old, weird America" of carny sideshows and ballyhoo, drawn with such attention to detail that you can practically smell the sweat and stale fried dough.", Boston Globe "..a vibrant, energetic, sad, epic story that drops you into the American sideshow of the mid 20th century, a strange world that has all but disappeared.", Boing Boing
Bill Griffith is the legendary, award-winning creator of the syndicated daily comic strip Zippy the Pinhead. Griffith's prolific output has been included in such publications as the Village Voice, National Lampoon, and the New Yorker. Along with Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman, Griffith is one of the pioneers of the underground comix movement that began in New York in the late 1960s and then moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s. According to Bartlett, Griffith is credited for coining the popular phrase, "Are we Having Fun Yet?" He lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.