The Connecticut mystery structure

A Zippy sequence that began back on 8/3 in this strip (reported on in a section of my 8/3 posting “The art of everyday objects”):

(#1) The premise is that this little house just appeared one day in Bill Griffith’s Connecticut neighborhood, provoking some bafflement as to its origin and function (note: in Bill Griffith’s neighborhood, not in the Dingburg area where the cartoon character Griffy is to be found)

That posting argued that the sliding door with a Z on it is just a standard Z-series barn door.

There followed three strips in which the door slowly opens, revealing someone inside — in fact, Zippy, presenting himself as a real person (like BG (Bill Griffith) rather than Griffy). Then a sequence of 8 increasingly surrealistic strips turning on issues of fiction and reality. Finally, two strips in which it turns out that Zippy is running a farm stand of the mind from that little shed.

(The strips are of course littered with Zippyesque pop-culture references of several kinds, including to characters from other comic strips.)

The door opens. In #2, the puzzle of the little house is restated and elaborated (BG is toying with us):


In #3, the door begins to open:


And in #4, wait, is that Zippy inside?:


Are you real? In #5, it is indeed Zippy, and BG and Zippy each express surprise that the other is real:

(#5) BG: “So you’re a real person?” Zippy: “So you’re a real person?”

In #6, they dip fully into surrealism:

(#6) Pun on code: building code vs. zip code; 06423 is the postal code for East Haddam CT

In #7, it turns out that Zippy has been living in BG’s CT neighborhood for years:

(#7) Zippy: “I’ve been reading about us every day in the Boston Globe”

In #8, it becomes clear that both BG/Griffy and Zippy exist in counterpart pairs, fictional and real; the strips use the fictional Griffy and Zippy:

(#8) Zippy: “I’m both real and fictional. Th’ real me is similar to the one in the strips, only not quite as zany”

In #9, they examine the specific case of the plaid Poindexter barbat:

(#9) Zippy: “The real me thought it up, but th’ fictional me brought it into th’ strip years ago”

In #10, more on acts of creation and their agents; it seems that the fictional characters can be created afresh on different occasions, so that there are multiple Griffys:

(#10) Zippy: “Th’ real you and me create th’ fictional you & me .. which spin off into Dingburgers” – “I communicate my Zippy strip ideas to th’ real Zippy by encrypted email — he writes them down for the fictional Zippy to say!” BG: “Then who is writing this story arc?” Zippy: “you’re th’ Griffy that was created last week for this story arc, which may or may not be real!”

In #11, Zippy stresses the fragility of this particular Griffy’s existence:

(#11) Zippy: “You only exist in this story arc — It’s been kind of interesting having you here. I could set up a cot if you’d like to stay”

And in #12, BG despairs at this state of affairs:

(#12) BG: “Why did I ever stick my nose into that weird little house down th’ road? It’s probably just a shed .. or a soon-to-be farm stand”

The farm stand. And so it turns out to be. In #13 and #14, we discover that it is in fact Zippy’s Farm Stand, offering characteristic Zippy items (Valvoline, lugnuts, clam juice, etc.), orderable only by mental telepathy:



At this point, it’s positively refreshing to get back into the Zippy world of Pop-Tarts, Gummy Bears, and Astroturf.

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