Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Duncan is a high school freshman and an aspiring musician. He daydreams about the day when his band, Goat Cheese Pizza, records their first monster hit single, and they all pile into his van for their cross-country, sold-out concert tour. Between naps, study hall and band practice, Jeremy still manages to find time to be the star of the hugely popular comic strip, Zits.
Jeremy is a good kid. He is intelligent and kind, yet he still has the attitude that one would expect from a teenager. His unpredictable mood swings and monosyllabic answers to his parents’ mild-mannered questions often leave them baffled and bemused.
Created in 1997 by Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Jim Borgman and Reuben Award-winning cartoonist/writer Jerry Scott, Zits appears in more than 1,600 newspapers worldwide in 45 countries and is translated into 15 different languages. The comic has an estimated daily readership of more than 200 million readers. Zits is the only strip in comics history to achieve that milestone in the short span of nine years.
The creators, who are parents themselves, have a keen insight into the many physical and emotional changes that teens go through during adolescence, and they have the gift of addressing these common dilemmas with compassion and humor.
Jerry Scott has become a superstar of the cartooning world. As co-creator of Baby Blues and Zits, he is one of just four cartoonists in history to have two daily comics strips running in more than 1,000 newspapers each.
Born May 2, 1955, in South Bend, Ind., he was first introduced to the newspaper business by delivering the South Bend Tribune from his bicycle over pre-dawn Indiana roads. “I was pulling down maybe three figures a year, but the real reward wasn’t the money. It was that I got to be the first person in my neighborhood to read the comics on Sunday mornings. By flashlight.”
Jerry started cartooning professionally in the mid-1970s by selling a cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post. In 1983, he took over the comic strip Nancy, which he continued to reinvent for 12 years. In 1988, he got together with longtime friend Rick Kirkman and started kicking ideas around for a new strip. The result was Baby Blues, which was launched into syndication in 1990. Baby Blues currently runs in more than 1,200 newspapers in 28 countries and 13 languages. There are more than three dozen Baby Blues collection books in print, with well over a million copies sold.
In 1996, Jerry had an idea for a comic strip about a teenage boy, and along with the artistic genius of Jim Borgman, Zits was born. First syndicated in an impressive 200 newspapers, King Features now distributes Zits to more than 1,600 papers in 45 countries and 15 languages. Zits has been collected in 23 anthologies.
Scott has received numerous cartooning awards, including the National Cartoonists Society’s “Best Comic Strip of the Year” three times, the Adamson Statuette, Sweden’s highest comic honor, and Germany’s Max and Moritz Award for “Best International Comic Strip.” Jerry is proudest of receiving the Reuben Award in 2001 from the National Cartoonists Society as “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.”
Jerry lives in San Luis Obispo, Calif. with his wife, Kim and their two daughters, from whom he steals ideas daily.
Jim Borgman was born Feb. 24, 1954, in Cincinnati, the son of a sign painting father and a long-suffering mother who fielded countless phone calls from teachers about the caricatures in the margins of her son’s notebooks.
A 1976 graduate of Kenyon College, Borgman was hired to begin as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s daily cartoonist one week after graduation on the strength of his weekly cartoon for the campus newspaper. As a result he became, he says, “the first Kenyon art major ever to repay his student loan.”
In 1995, Jim got to know Jerry Scott while their flight was delayed on the tarmac of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport waiting for a blown tire to be changed. A year later, they created Zits on the front porch of a cabin in Sedona, Ariz. Zits launched in July 1997 in more than 200 newspapers, one of the strongest comic strip introductions in years. King Features now distributes Zits to more than 1,600 newspapers in 45 countries and 15 languages.
Among his awards, Borgman is proudest to have won the National Cartoonists Society’s “Best Editorial Cartoonist” an unprecedented five times, the NCS’ prestigious Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” in 1993, the Thomas Nast Prize in 1980 (for which he brought home his weight in wine from the vineyards of Landau, Germany), the Adamson Statuette presented by the Swedish Academy of Humor in 1999, the Max and Moritz Medal for “International Comic Strip of the Year” in 2000, and the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1991.
Jim Borgman lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Suzanne, and their five perfect teenagers.
Jeremy Duncan is a high school sophomore, who believes that he has a seriously boring life in a seriously boring town. Music is what he lives for, and he aspires to someday be a rock god who writes his own music and lyrics. He intensely dislikes cookie-cutter bands that couldn’t come up with an original sound or verse or play a chord on a guitar if their lives depended on it. Oh, and his parents are seriously ruining his life.
Connie Duncan is Jeremy’s 43-year-old mother. She is a reasonably fit person with a good marriage and a healthy family. With Jeremy in high school, Connie has finally found the time to start scratching her creative itch for writing a book that she has had for the last ten years…and it’s going surprisingly well! After 16 short months, she is already three-quarters of the way through chapter one! Of course, she would be further along if Jeremy would just get it through his thick skull that the sign she hangs on the spare bedroom door says “Do Not Disturb,” and not “Please Interrupt Me, So I Can Give You the Car Keys to Drive Someplace That You Could Easily Have Walked To By Now.”
(Prolonged sigh) ... Jeremy seems to brood a lot, and that concerns his father Walt, who reasons that hormones can explain plenty of odd behavior. Nobody would know that better than an orthodontist who, by profession, is sentenced to spending nearly eight hours of every day staring directly into the jaws of puberty. It’s weird. Walt prides himself on his ability to listen to and communicate with patients, but when it comes to his own son, he practically has to pry every syllable out of him.
Hector has been Jeremy’s best friend since the fourth grade. They are true amigos and hardly ever get on each other’s nerves much. It’s no big deal even when they do because there’s way too much history between them to sweat the small stuff. Hector and Jeremy can’t wait for the day when they finish restoring their van (a 1962 VW Split-Window Kombi). The plan is to drive across the country and they won’t stop until they hit an ocean. They are so ready for this and their parents are so not going to let them go. The important thing is to get the van running and hope for the best, even though as Hector’s grandmother says, “La esperanza es la negacion de la realidad.” (translation: “Hope is the denial of reality.”) Whatever.
Pierce replaced the former drummer, Y.A. in Jeremy’s band. He has everything a garage band drummer needs... danger, mystery, energy, a hot girlfriend and partially deaf parents. He wears a constant scowl, which is understandable for someone with three pounds of jewelry on his head.
First of all, let’s get this boyfriend/girlfriend thing straight. Sara thinks that Jeremy is sweet and he’s the only guy that Sara has ever actually wanted to shave her legs for, but the term “girlfriend” makes her teeth grind because, let’s face it, it practically connotes ownership. And, that is so not what Sara is about! Besides, she can’t name one relationship she has seen that truly works on the basis of total equality or that has the shelf life of, say, a ripe banana.
D’ijon is Pierce’s girlfriend. Although she looks more mainstream than Pierce, she shares his interest in the counterculture (she has a tattoo of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” on her tongue). D’ijon is Sara’s best friend, loves to talk and is a compassionate, kind, fun-loving and enthusiastic personality.
She is, quite simply, the information pipeline for the entire freshman class. She knows stuff, okay? All rumors in this school either pass through or originate with her. People have come to count on her for this, as well as for freelance opinions on fashion, romance, etiquette, and, of course, relationship counseling. Through an incredibly fortunate combination of an acute sense of cool and good old-fashioned chutzpah, Brittany possesses the ability to immediately point out the shortcomings of others, sometimes even before they occur. It’s like a seventh sense or something, and because it’s so rare and specialized, not everyone can appreciate the favor that she is doing them when her wisdom is shared. Their loss.
Every high school has one. They are the couple who fell in love early and never got out. Deeply. Madly. Sincerely. Nauseatingly. Against all odds (and some laws of physics), they have devised enough methods of maintaining skin contact with one another in an academic environment to fill an encyclopedia. In fact, their names even touch. Sure, people stare and everything, but that is just because they’re jealous that they each found their soul mate before anyone else did, the poor lost lambs.
Ohmigawd! They are so the best friends in the world and they do not know what they would do without each other’s friendship, support and lip gloss. It is a harsh world out there and it is not easy to get along on one’s own, which is why they choose to roam as a pack. Zuma, Redondo and LaJolla have been best-best friends forever. They share the same taste in fashion as well as smoothies. They finish each other’s sentences and have logged more sleepover hours than a cross-country flight attendant.