You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.

Conceived as a greeting card spokesman, the roly-poly, amorphous living foible Ziggy has survived 35 years as a one-panel comic strip for the post-counterculture generation.

Ziggy's first published anthology arrived in 1968 for the American Greetings Company, but quickly gained a life of his own. His creator Tom Wilson (the Creative Director at American Greetings), who had drawn unnamed incarnations of Ziggy throughout the 1960s, envisioned him as an Everyman, and deliberately deprived him of any distinguishing characteristics. Ziggy is jobless, family-less, and, yes, pantsless. He has no discernible hair or face. He rarely talks, and is more often a passive observer in his fictional world. In fact, Wilson's only guide to creating Ziggy was to make him as round as possible - so people saw him as gentler and more huggable. Ziggy is, in short, the ultimate example of projection - people see in Ziggy whatever they want, and his situations are very easy to identify with.

Syndicated in 1971, Ziggy's one panels gained an early celebrity for having a "hang in there" philosophy coupled with a humourous (and somewhat cynical) look on the rise of technology, urbanity, and ironically (given Ziggy's humble beginnings) the superficial world of advertising and marketing.

Interestingly, though many of the commercial adaptations of Ziggy are fairly mundane and patronizing, the strip itself taken as a whole is fairly dark, depressing, and existential. Ziggy is also somewhat famous as being one of the first comic strips to actively break the fourth wall, with many of the strips having Ziggy look out to the viewer in a secret appeal for support while dealing with a frustrating or absurd event.

In 1982, Ziggy was the star of his own Emmy-winning Christmas special Ziggy's Gift. In 1987, Tom Wilson stepped down as the chief writer and illustrator of Ziggy - and was replaced by his son Tom Wilson II, who continues the strip to this day.

Folderol: In the FAQ section of his website, Back to the Future star Tom Wilson (aka Biff Tannen) admits that not only does he frequently receive requests for autographs on Ziggy memorabilia, but that he has complied with the requests in the past, thus fulfilling the world's quota for one-panel sunshine comics signed by 80s movie bullies.

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