As long as there's been Joe Zeff Design there's been a Joe Zeff Design bobblehead. Learn about its history and what's coming next.
Updated January 19 with latest clay models of v4 bobblehead, below.
Joe Zeff started his company in the attic of his Montclair, NJ home in August 2000, leaving behind a perfectly good job at Time magazine to become a freelance designer and illustrator. At the turn of the century, freelancers spammed art directors with glossy postcards delivered by postal carriers, showing examples of their most recent work. As usual, Joe sought a way to stand apart from the crowd.
His friend Harris had commissioned a custom bobblehead doll for his recreational hockey team, the Coastal Pirates. It was glorious — a glow-in-the-dark skull with a three-corner hat, bobbling atop a hockey player's body, Not to be outdone, Joe stole Harris' idea.
There have been three iterations of the Joe Zeff bobblehead, growing more aerodynamic each time, very much like the real Joe.
v1, circa 2000.
Bobblehead Heroes, Springfield, OH.
A well-coiffed Joe stands atop his laptop, holding a book and two magazines in one hand and a light bulb with a golden Z filament in the other. There is a rolled up newspaper in his back pocket, completing the print trifecta. Across the red base is the original website, www.joezeff.com, currently owned by someone impersonating Joe Zeff Design.
v2, circa 2010.
Bobbleheads.com, Alpharetta, GA.
What a difference a decade makes. The iPad replaces print as the Apple of Joe's eye, and hairstyles change. The new bobblehead is slim, much moreso than the real Joe was at that time. This was no ordinary Joe, trading his undershirt for a neat collar. Dozens filled Joe's new office, a renovated church in Montclair.
v3, circa 2014.
Bobbleheads.com, Alpharetta, GA.
Joe joined Scrollmotion, which called for a new bobblehead. The laptop remains, minus the vestigial mouse. The iPad changes hands, replacing the light bulb, and Joe picks up a snazzy new briefcase. Same skinny Joe, although this time in sync with the 50-pounds-lighter Joe. The figure stands taller, because why the hell not.
v4, coming in 2017!
As JZD prepares for its reopening next month in Times Square, the folks in Alpharetta are working around the clock to prepare the new bobblehead. Typically details remain secret, but a concept sketch left behind in a Ruby Tuesday in midtown Manhattan reveals new features. Predictably, Joe Zeff Design officials refused to comment.
JZD bobbleheads in popular culture
Throwback bobbleheads continue to appreciate in value, treasured by collectors and colleagues alike. A gallery of images sent to Joe Zeff Design from around the world (seriously):
There are videos, too. The Joe Zeff bobblehead participated in the ALS ice water challenge, for example. And without further ado, the Joe Zeff Rocket Car, produced by Mike at the Bergen County Harley-Davidson parts counter. Whatever you do, please do not try this at home.
Bookmark this page for up-to-the-second reports about the highly anticipated v4 JZD bobblehead. You're encouraged to tweet this page to your heart's content, and by all means forward any other photos, videos or drawings to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion here.