Alternative Zits, the really cool 2007 Zits treasury of the great comic strip by Jerry Scott and Scott Borgman answers a question I'd had since Zits broke out (ha ha): how complete is a treasury that says it includes cartoons from previous books? Alternative Zits includes all the strips from Zits Sketchbook 11, Are We Out of the Driveway Yet? and Sketchbook 12, Rude, Crude, and Tattooed, the only difference being the strips are a little bigger on the page and the Sunday cartoon is in color in the treasury. Oh, and the cover to Alternative Zits is really funny.
Having really enjoyed Are We Out of the Driveway Yet? and Rude, Crude, and Tattooed, it is no surprise I very much like Alternative Zits. I do not have kids but my best friend does and there are many cartoons in this Zits treasury I am sure he has lived through (or is it survived?) Scott Borgman and Jerry Scott are very much connected to the world of teenagers and there is an immediacy and reality to this comic strip that gives it that much more energy.
What I like most about the Zits cartoon is Jeremy Duncan is a teenager who is smart, kind, does well at school, is a good friend, but is also credible with his messy room, questionable, by his parents, taste in music, a slacker when it comes to chores, and more than willing to borrow a few dollars from his parents to go out. It is nice to see a real character in a comic strip. Also, Scott and Borgman excel at depicting the dichotomy between the world of the Duncans and their teenage boy: one of my favorite comics in Rude, Crude and Tattooed was when Jeremy had his dad talk about his 14" TV from back in the days when the picture was black and white and there was no remote to Jeremy's friends' amazement. This is an ongoing gag in Zits as Dr. Duncan is very much stuck in the past technology wise, this to Jeremy's great amusement or dismay.
Fans of the series will notice a few developments in the Zits story: Jeremy and Sara, his girlfriend, break up and Pierce is much more present as Jeremy's friend than Hector (something I enjoy as I prefer the much edgier Pierce). Cartoon fans will enjoy the artistry of some of the strips, especially the one showing the exterior of the Pierce home when Pierce has a party that goes out of control.
Do yourself a favor: go to your local bookstore, check out a Zits collection and make up your own mind (and bring your wallet).
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