Tom Wilson, ‘Ziggy’ Cartoonist (August 1, 1931 – September 16, 2011)

The man behind the humorous simpleton “Ziggy,” a comic that he drew for over 17 years, passed away on Friday, September 16th. Tom Wilson, a former army veteran, died in his sleep of pneumonia in a Cincinnati hospital. He was 80 years old.

After the 18 years or so that he drew Ziggy (his son continued the tradition in 1987) his comic, the beloved and well-known Ziggy, became a huge hit. A cute little bald guy with a prominent schnauze.

The hilarity of Ziggy occurred in the everyday problems that he encountered, the humor was actually in the normalness of it all. Excuse me, WAS is an inappropriate word since Ziggy now runs in the pages of more than 500 newspapers in America…

The president of The Universal Press Syndicate aka “Universal Uclick” called Wilson Sr, a “visionary” while his son, Tom Wilson Jr. also remembered him fondly, saying:

“He was a passionate and charismatic man, it came out in everything he did. He loved ideas and he loved creating: that was really what drove him. He wasn’t a loser in that sense, because his passion just came out and inspired everyone around him.”

CEO/Uclick CEO and president John McMeel said in a statement:

“Tom leaves behind a wonderful legacy in Ziggy, a hard-luck comics page hero who serves as a reflection of Tom’s endearing wit and optimism in the face of adversity.” 

Wilson’s story is truly one of the Cinderella nature. His comic once appeared in only 15 papers, in 1971, its growth in this decade is one of those classic later-in-life success stories.

Rest in peace, Tom Wilson. The only thing that has changed is the disappearance of his soul in its physical form. His cartoon will live on for an eternity, and for that we can be grateful.

“I think in our own heads we’re never all that confident. I’m not.”

-Tom Wilson Sr. (On the origins of Ziggy)

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