Tuesday, February 03, 2015
News of Yore 1973: Checking in with Ziggy's Creator
Consistency is Key for New Cartoon Hero
Editor & Publisher, May 5 1973
"Ziggy", the bungling brainchild of a corporation executive, is not quite two years old but is already a familiar hero of misadventures in cartoon panels in some 100 newspapers. "Ziggy" is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.
The hero is a merry bungler created by Tom Wilson, a vice president in the creative area of American Greetings Corporation, Cleveland, who made his way up the corporate ladder by developing the Hi Brow and Soft Touch contemporary cards that were revolutionary in the greeting card industry.
Wilson insists that he is, in fact, Ziggy. "Ziggy stumbles through life with indomitable spirit, hoping not to trip when a bright moment finally arrives. He runs along in the human race wearing galoshes. But don't we all?
"Ziggy is a lot of things we don't talk about," Wilson philosophizes. "There's a kind of loneliness about him none of us can ever really shake, even in a room full of friends."
The character is already a popular figure in a new line of American Greetings cards and in addition, appears in figurines, stationery, gift wrappings and wall posters.
Wilson thinks Ziggy's ego can handle his rapid rise to stardom. The key, he feels, is in keeping the character consistent. There are cartoon ideas Wilson won't use, because they're not something Ziggy would say or do.
"Like an actor, a cartoonist has to become the character," Wilson says. "It has to be a convincing role. It's kind of freaky, but after awhile, the character becomes a sort of personality in himself. He's someone you know. And really, Ziggy is the source of his own cartoon material."
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