The boys discuss their band's probable impact. Artists: Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott.


Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: King Features Syndicate
First Appeared: 1997
Creators: Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott
If this site is enjoyable or useful to you,
Please contribute to its necessary financial support. or PayPal

To a humorist, even one who wants to stay au courant, teenagers are a renewable resource. From Harold Teen forward, they've been a comics page staple. One of the current crop of popular …

continued below

… teenage comic strips is Zits, created by cartoonists Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott, which is fully up-to-date with the most pressing issues of teenage life.

Of course, the way one stays up to date with those pressing issues (as opposed to staying up-to-date with teenage fads and idioms, which is simply beyond the ability of most adults) is to go for the tried and true, which doesn't change from one generation to the next. Archie, Emmy Lou and even Bunny were troubled by schoolwork, had complicated problems relating to the opposite sex, and couldn't quite figure out (or be figured out by) their parents. Same with Jerremy Duncan, the 15-year-old star of Zits.

Like many teenagers (e.g. Buzzy), Jeremy is an aspiring musician. The band (which includes Hector Garcia, Jeremy's best friend since the fourth grade) practices in a garage, but that's just until they make it big. Jeremy's girlfriend, Sara Toomey, is sensitive to many issues of interest to women, but still manages to tolerate him.

Jeremy's home life consists of Mom and Dad, Walt and Connie Duncan by name, plus the lingering ghost of an older brother, Chad, who's off at college. Walt is an orthodontist, and Connie is a wound-be novelist. As for Chad, he's entirely too good an example for Jeremy, who feels burdened by having to live up to him.

Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott were both experienced cartoonists when they met in 1995, both in the neighborhood of 40 years of age. Borgman had been delighting readers of The Cincinnati Enquirer with his award-winning editorial cartoons, caricaturing newsmakers of all types. Scott was the co-creator of Baby Blues, and before that had been the man behind a wholesale reinvention of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy.

Zits started during July of 1997, in more than 200 newspapers — a very healthy launch, but it was nothing compared to the success it's enjoyed since. It was one of the fastest strips on record to achieve the fabled thousand-paper circulation, putting it in a class with Blondie and Peanuts. It currently appears in about 1,500 papers.

Its distributor is King Features Syndicate, whose other comics in the teenage humor genre include Ponytail, Susie Q. Smith, Teena and Etta Kett.


BACK to Don Markstein's Toonopedia™ Home Page
Today in Toons: Every day's an anniversary!


Purchase Comic Strip Reprints Online

Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © JimBorgman and Jerry Scott.