Nobody’s Fool follows the story of Schlitzie’s long career—from Coney Island and the Ringling Bros. Circus to small-town carnivals and big-city sideshows—which is one of legend. Today, Schlitzie is most well-known for his appearance in the cult classic Freaks. The making of Freaks and Schlitzie’s role in the film is a centerpiece of the book. In researching Schlitzie’s life (1901–1971), Griffith has tracked down primary sources and archives throughout the country, including conducting interviews with those who worked with him and had intimate knowledge of his personality, his likes and dislikes, how he responded to being a sideshow “freak,” and much more. This graphic novel biography provides never-before-revealed details of his life, offering a unique look into his world and restoring dignity to his life by recognizing his contributions to popular culture.
“With dense cross-hatching and lively, expressive character design, Griffith’s art straddles the line between absurdity and realism. Griffith gets at the central paradox at the heart of freak shows: while exploitative and demeaning, the shows created a loving, tight-knit community. The performers close to Schlitzie were fiercely protective and loving toward him. Much like in Freaks, the revelation found in this illuminating work is that the true monsters are the “normal” people who line up to laugh at or abuse Schlitzie.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This is the book Bill Griffith was destined to make. The tale of Schlitzie the Pinhead is one of surprising triumph—an uplifting and heartfelt portrait of a simple man who finds joy in the strangest of lives. Nobody’s Fool is a brilliant and fascinating work by a master storyteller. Bill Griffith is a comics treasure!” —Derf Backderf
“A masterpiece of absurdity and humanity. After all these years Schlitzie still triggers laughter and tears.” —Steve Heller, Print
256 page black and white hardcover
Abrams ComicArts, 2019
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