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Funny Books - Zits - Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet?

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Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet?
Zits Sketchbook 11
Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman
Andrews McMeel 2006
128 pages

Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet is the eleventh Zits comic collection and this newspaper funny page classic is just as good as ever. Cartoonists Jerry Scott and Jim Bergman have a very good concept and series with Zits and there is nothing in Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet to indicate this comic strip is losing any of its energy or interest. The only bizarre thing about the eleventh Zits collection or sketchbook as Scott and Borgman like to call it is that I am more and more convinced that this comic strip is even better in book form than as a daily comic.

Make no mistake, Scott and Borgman can definitely tell a complete and very funny story in two or three comic strip panels and most often do. In fact, a personal favorite in Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet?  is on page 121 where Mr. Duncan is actually scraping his wife off the ceiling after she listened to a song she downloaded. Another favorite, and there are many in this eleventh Zits sketchbook, is the one where Jeremy and his friend Pierce are wearing watermelons. The thing is sometimes the comic strip artists like to go for a longer bit involving three or four consecutive strips and with the collection you get the whole joke and effect on one or two pages.

Zits is a great comic strip and Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet?  once again explores the usual theme of being a teenager with two dorky parents -or is it being a parent with a teenager from another planet?  This time around, and as the title suggests, Jeremy Duncan is taking driving lessons and this is enough to give his mother a permanent case of passenger braking foot tunnel syndrome -something my best friend has also developed over the years. Any parent with a teenager will easily relate to the cartoons where Jeremy's mother has panic attacks just looking at the state of his bedroom (when she can find it, of course).

As always, this Zits collection also focuses on Jeremy's friends Hector and Pierce, his somewhat girlfriend Sara, a new to me character, D'ijon, and their adventures at school. Still, the forte of this comic strip is the Duncan home life and Scott & Borgman manage once again to keep it fresh and funny, particularly when the strip is about how difficult it is for parents and teenager to communicate.

Although humor, like Guinness, does not travel well, it seems comic strip ideas travel very well to the point of being universal. One strip in this Zits sketchbook reminded me of a very similar Gaston Lagaffe strip by Belgian cartoonist Franquin I read some twenty or twenty-five years ago. Just switch from lazy office boy to messy teenager and the gag, about spelunking in Jeremy's bedroom becomes a universal fact.

Anyone with a teenager or two can easily relate to Scott & Borgman's comic strip. Any teenager with dorky parents (and aren't they all) will easily find themselves in Zits. This is why Are We Out Of The Driveway Yet?  the eleventh Zits collection is a great cartoon collection. It would also make a great gift for any parent or teenager and, if you left home recently, a brilliant gift if you ever hear your parents say how much they missed you: they will soon change their tune and leave you alone.



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