Rip Off Press March 1979
Griffith Observatory is a compilation of mostly one-page comic strips Bill Griffith produced for the Rip Off Press Syndicate between 1977 and 1979. However, most people in Los Angeles recognize the Griffith Observatory as an astonomy-themed tourist attraction and planetarium nestled on top of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles.
Bill Griffith’s most famous creation is Zippy the Pinhead, of course, which is still running today. These days, I mostly read them via Arnold Zwicky’s blog, where he explains all the references. (They can be pretty obscure.)
I’ve always enjoyed Zippy, but reading it in collections (which has been my main venue) has frequently left me feeling exhausted. When you pile up all those absurdities page after page, it’s a bit overwhelming. Griffith Observatory was a full-page less-than-weekly comic strip Griffith did in the late 70s. In it, he looks a contemporary mores and gives humorous twists to them. Fashion comes under scrutiny a couple of times and Griffith predicts Madonna! Very prescient.
Things have changed a lot since the 70s, huh? The role of critics hasn’t, though.In the final five page piece, Griffith sort of explains the entire “Observatory” concept, and explains the toll it’s taken on Griffith. Here we see Griffy analysing even restaurant booths. It’s a really fun collection. It’s a period piece, and that makes it even more amusing.