Adorably Odd Fellow
Animation is a wonderful art – an animator can take an odd little fellow and make him into an adorable and popular character. Such is the case with Ziggy, the friendly little guy with the quintessential dark cloud constantly hovering over his head. This lovable little cartoon character always seems to have the worst luck and lives each day as if it were Friday the 13th. But no matter how bad times may get, Ziggy always seems to see the light at the end of the tunnel. His "glass half full" outlook is refreshingly appealing, not to mention inspiring.
Credit: Tom WilsonThe character of Ziggy was created by the late Tom Wilson, although Wilson said he did not create Ziggy but claimed instead, "I simply acknowledged him." Born out of Wilson's childhood memories, he once said "I think in our own heads we're never all that confident. I'm not." Wilson drew the comic strip from 1971 to 1987, when his son (Tom Wilson, Jr.) took over the comic strip. Wilson, Jr. described the character of Ziggy as "reflecting childhood innocence." The comics were originally printed in about 15 newspapers, but over the years the popularity of Ziggy grew, and the comic strip has been syndicated in over 500 newspapers.
Credit: Tom WilsonWilson was once asked by a group of teenage girls why Ziggy did not have a girlfriend. His reply, although surprising was ingenious, he cleverly said to the young girls "His girlfriend is you!" What Wilson was doing was making these girls, and the rest of the public, emotionally invested in his character. Once people develop an emotional bond with someone or something, the odds are quite high they will be longtime fans.
I can definitely relate because I fell in love with the odd little fellow when I was a teenager and my fondness for the character has never weaned. Although my initial attraction was borne out of pity (the lovable little lug could never catch a break), my longtime love for him is a result of the valuable lessons I learned. No matter what the circumstance, Ziggy always finds the positive in a negative. Also, no matter how rude people are, he will never stoop to their level. In a "ME, ME, ME!" self-centered world, Ziggy's humility is refreshing.
A Friend in Need
Credit: Tom WilsonAnyone who is acquainted with Ziggy knows that "Man's best friend" is also his best friend. His small white dog Fuzz is by his side through thick and thin, he also resembles Ziggy in an odd sort of way. In addition, Ziggy must be an animal lover because he is surrounded by a cat named Sid, who happens to be afraid of mice; a fish named Goldie; a parrot and even a duck. These friends are not always nice to Ziggy and at times can take advantage of his kindness.
Ziggy is also a friend to those in need. In 2002 he was named the official "Spokes-Character" for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an organization dedicated to help fund research for the advancement of treatment and the cure for blood cancers. In a statement, Wilson declared "We specifically approached The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society because we wanted to make sure that Ziggy was in the hands of a caring organization that exemplified the same positive attitude, optimism, caring, compassion and hope that Ziggy exudes too."
Credit: Tom WilsonZiggy is the character with character and it matters! With a mission to "develop world-class character solutions," Wilson founded "Character Matters." The company "develops world-class character solutions" in order to enhance a business brand, service and product marketing strategy.
Character Matters touts over 100 years of "combined experience creating, developing, and licensing some of the greatest internationally recognized characters of all time . . . ." Ziggy is at the top of the list of characters that companies can link to their products or services.
In 1982 Ziggy starred in the animated Christmas program "Ziggy's Gift." In it he tries to help the less fortunate by taking a job as a Santa. Although several of the other Santa impersonators are dishonest, Ziggy continues to take the high road and does not compromise his integrity. The cartoon special won an Emmy Award for Best Animated Program, and you can see a clip on YouTube or get your very own copy on DVD at the "I Love Ziggy" A-Store on Amazon . You can also read about it in the book, Ziggy's Gift, by Tom Wilson.
Part 1 from YouTube
Ziggy Books and Merchandise
Credit: Tom Wilson - Photo from WikipediaThere have been several books written about Ziggy and his adventures. Wilson's collection includes "Ziggyisms: Notable Quotes of Wisdom for Everyday Living," "Ziggy : A Rumor in His Own Time," "The First 25 Years Are the Hardest!: A 25 Year Retrospective of Ziggy Favorites," "A Little Character Goes a Long Way: A 35-Year Collection of Ziggy Favorites," "Ziggy Comes Up Short: The Iconic Ziggy in His Newest Comic Collection," and many others.
You can also spend the Year with Ziggy by purchasing one of his calendars. Empathize with him month after month as he deals with various situations. But, no matter what Ziggy encounters, chances are it will make you laugh, giggle, or at least bring a smile to your face.
Ziggy merchandise gained popularity during the 1980s and 90s, and was sold in several shops. Nowadays, items are a bit more difficult to find but you can find a great deal of Ziggy merchandise, books, calendars, and the DVD Ziggy's Gift at the "I Love Ziggy" A-Store on Amazon.
Credit: Introspective PicsIf you've been a Ziggy fan for a long period of time, chances are you probably have a few Ziggy items in your closet. Some of these items may be collectibles and you can find out in the book "Unauthorized Guide to Ziggy Collectibles."
Lovable Little Guy with the Worst Luck
Millions fell in love with Ziggy, the odd little fellow who always seems to choose the short end of the stick. Even his name, said Wilson, was given to him because it put him last alphabetically. This played out in one of Wilson's comic strips where Ziggy is standing on a rooftop during a flood, watching a rescue boat picking-up people alphabetically. While these comics are funny, we can all learn a lesson from this lovable little guy with the great big heart. When life hands you lemons, thank God for the lesson learned and the free fruit! Ziggy – he's my favorite comic strip character.
Credit: Tom Wilson
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