Tom Wilson Sr., the creator of everyone’s favorite clumpy loser Ziggy, passed away last Friday, September 16, at the age of 80. I never knew much about Wilson until last year when I read the book Studio Cards. Wilson actually had a really interesting career in the Sixties and Seventies as the art director of the goofy Hi-Brows division of Cleveland’s American Greetings. Through his position, he helped encourage a lot of artists and writers including a young Robert Crumb.
The most complete obituary about Wilson that I’ve read so far is this one in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I was surprised to see the article directly contradict Wilson’s own version of how he came up with the name Ziggy. It quotes one of Wilson’s former colleagues Tom McGreevey who says that Ziggy’s name was actually inspired by the barber of one of Wilson’s colleagues.