Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal. Artist: Al Jaffee.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1942
Creator: Al Jaffee
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Ziggy Pig & Silly Seal may not be as familiar to modern fans as Heckle & Jeckle, Tom & Jerry, Batman & …

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Robin and other famous toon duos — but once, they were mainstays of an extensive funny animal line, that formed an important part of the output of one of America's largest comic book companies.

Ziggy and Silly first appeared in Krazy Komics #1 (July, 1942), which was put out by no less a publisher than Marvel Comics. From there, they proliferated into practically everything Marvel published in that genre. The cartoonist who created them, and whose studio produced most of their adventures, was Al Jaffee, who in more recent decades has been doing Fold-ins, "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" and other funny stuff for Mad magazine. Jaffee's work was also seen in several 1960s episodes of Little Annie Fanny.

Marvel had followed a similar strategy a couple of years earlier, with its superheroes. Captain America, Sub-Mariner and The Human Torch proved early on they could draw readers in, so those three characters appeared in most of Marvel's superhero anthologies while The Angel, The Whizzer and many others were relegated to secondary status. In funny animals, Ziggy and Silly were the superstars, along with Super Rabbit, and The Creeper (no relation to DC's Creeper) was a distant third.

The superheroes were still flying high in 1942, but Marvel was experimenting with other types. It was possibly the influence of Vince Fago, who assumed editorship of the company when Stan Lee went into the army, that led them in that particular direction. Fago, a veteran of the Max Fleischer animation studio, would later take over Harrison Cady's Peter Rabbit newspaper strip, and was otherwise associated with funny animals all his life. In any case, Marvel published quite a few comics about critters in the middle and late 1940s, and many of them featured Ziggy and Silly. They even had their own title from 1944-46.

Ziggy and Silly were a typical comedy duo. Ziggy was the dominant one, frequently leading his more easily influenced partner into trouble. Neither was very bright. It wasn't a very original premise for funny stuff, but was enough to sustain the series until Marvel (temporarily) abandoned funny animals in favor of westerns, romance, etc. Their last regular appearance was in Silly Tunes #7 (June, 1947), but they made a one-issue comeback in 1953, in a 3-D comic called Animal Fun.

A few unauthorized reprints turned up in the late 1950s, when an entrepreneur named Israel Waldman started pirating any comics he could get his hands on artwork or publishable proofs for, from The Black Dwarf to The Spirit, without bothering to ask the copyright holders. But that was their last gasp.

Nowadays, no superhero is too minor for Marvel to have plucked him from his original context and added him to its ever-burgeoning universe. But of the funny animals, even the most prominent, like Ziggy Pig & Silly Seal, languish in obscurity.


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Text ©2002-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.