Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fighting the System

Zippy the Pinhead has never really tried to be a very accessible comic strip. I suppose it's lost some of its subversive underground comic edginess after being in syndication all these years, but it's certainly no Hi and Lois. The Comics Curmudgeon may have hit the nail on the head when he called Zippy "the Cathy of the surrealist/postmodern set". So while I'm sure that everyone who has ever read Zippy as scratched their heads at least once or twice trying to figure out what was going on, today's strip makes what I would consider a very obscure pop culture reference even by Zippy's already low standards.

I'm not entirely sure, but the sign pictured in the first and fourth panels looks an awful lot like the sign for a New York System in Providence that I've driven past a couple times. What is a New York System, you might ask? It's what a restaurant that serves New York style hot dogs is called in Rhode Island. Extra points to Zippy for calling them wieners instead of hot dogs, as is the custom in the Ocean State. Writing nationally syndicated comic strips that are only understood by people from Rhode Island is probably not the surest way to stardom, but at this point, I think Zippy can pretty much get away with anything.

Zippy's pandering to my new homestate notwithstanding, I've been a fan of the strip for a while. I enjoy the wordplay and if nothing else, it will make future historians even more baffled when they try and analyze old newspaper comics.

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