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griffith observatory
excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
Griffith Observatory
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Only Printing / October, 1979 / 36 pages / Rip Off Press
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. The real observatory was named after the man who donated both the money to build it and the land to house it, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. But, since Bill Griffith shared the same surname, he thought it would be a neat twist to use the surveillance power of the observatory as a concept to house his own observations on society. Or as he put it, "What if the telescope was turned down, you know, on humans instead of up at the stars?"

Thus launched the comic strips titled Griffith Observatory, in which Griffith offers some of his sharper mockeries of contemporary topics and people, including religious nuts, art critics, working stiffs and rednecks. Though a few topics are a little dated today, it's more remarkable how many are still on target, more than three decades after they were produced. For underground fans who are not fans of Zippy the Pinhead, Griffith Observatory is one of several comic books that demonstrate what Griffith could do outside the spectrum of his most popular character. Which, with Griffith's keen wit and sharp eye, is nothing to be snoozed at.

Rip Off Press printed approximately 15,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.
Many, if not all, of these comics also appeared in Rip Off's own anthology series, Rip Off Comix.

Bill Griffith - 1-36