Nobody's Fool The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead
Nobody's Fool
The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead
  • Imprint: Abrams ComicArts
  • Publication Date: March 19, 2019
  • Price: $24.99
  • Trim Size: 6 38 x 9 12
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-3501-1
  • EAN: 9781419735011
  • Page Count: 256
  • Illustrations: Black and white illustrations throughout
  • Format: Hardcover (die-cut cover)
  • Rights: World/All
  • Additional formats:

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.


“The underlying message of Nobody’s Fool? I get it—underneath our grandiose opinions of ourselves we’re all pinheads and freaks! Nobody’s Fool is boffo! The best graphic novel of the year!”
— R. Crumb
“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, My Friend Dahmer and Trashed
“Bill Griffith is amazing. While continuing to create one of the best daily comic strips, he has also produced a tour de force graphic novel. Nobody’s Fool is wonderfully told with affectionate detail and exquisite pen lines—an obvious labor of love.”
— Patrick McDonnell, Mutts cartoonist
“Bill Griffith’s artistic investigation into the real life of Schlitzie Surtees in Nobody’s Fool is as heartbreaking and poignant as his Zippy the Pinhead is hilarious and clever. The biography manages to be both gorgeous and tragic, a warts-and-all exploration of how this country has treated those with disabilities and challenges, while also being a meditation on the ephemerality of fame. The questions Griffith raises about the nature of exploitation, acceptance, and quality of life are haunting. A masterpiece of the medium.”
— Jake Tapper, anchor and chief Washington correspondent, CNN

About the author

Bill Griffith is the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip Zippy. Griffith’s prolific output has been included in such publications as the VillageVoiceNational Lampoon, and the New Yorker. According to Bartlett, Griffith coined the popular phrase “Are we having fun yet?” He lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.