Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead
by Bill Griffith
Harry N. Abrams
ISBN-13: 978-1419735011
$24.99 (or heavily discounted at Amazon)

Next up in The 2019 PopCult Gift Guide we have a biographical graphic novel about an obscure icon, Schlitzie the Pinhead, star of Todd Browning’s 1932 cult movie, Freaks. This heavily-researched tome is written and drawn by Bill Griffith, who was inspired by Schlitzie to create Zippy The Pinhead.

Recommended as a gift for fans of Griffith, fans of Freaks and people who enjoy engrossing real-life stories.

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.

Bill Griffith is the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip Zippy. Griffith’s prolific output has been included in such publications as the VillageVoice, National Lampoon, and the New Yorker. According to Bartlett, Griffith coined the popular phrase “Are we having fun yet?”

Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead is an amazing read. You’ll be tempted to devour all 300-plus pages in one sitting. This will make a great gift for any fan of graphic literature.

I’ve been a fan of Griffith since I was a kid, buying underground comics that I was technically way too young to purchase. After years of reading his short form works and gag strips, it’s a revelation to see how well he’s mastered long-form storytelling over the last several years. This is really an incredible work that not only tells the life story of one of Griffith’s greatest inspirations, but also helps to repay his artistic debt to the man who provided the spark for the creation of Zippy The Pinhead.

You should be able to order this book from any bookseller by using the ISBN number, or check online for some heavy holiday discounts.