Zits Sketchbook 12 is another great comic strip collection by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott. Unfortunately, Rude, Crude, and Tattoed is handicapped with the least representative title ever given to a comic collection and features what can only be called an ugly ass cover. Fans of Zits will automatically get Sketchbook 12 but those unfamiliar with this comic strip and parents whose kids will ask them for it will probably pass on it just because of the cover and Rude, Crude, and Tattooed.
Zits is a comic strip about the Duncan family and more specifically about fifteen-year-old Jeremy Duncan, a typical teenager in many ways except that he is smart, considerate (for a teenaged boy that is), and does not really get into serious trouble. Having had the pleasure of reading a few previous Zits collection, the major difference in Rude, Crude, and Tattooed is that the strips in sketchbook 12 seem to focus more on Jeremy than usual and the writing is tighter, making for stronger punchlines. The punchlines themselves are also a cut above here.
It could also be my imagination but I think there are more 1 or 2 panel strips in this comic strip collection than in previous ones. Though I enjoyed the 4 panel strips, the 1 or 2 panel strips have a little more energy, are a little more immediate, and the joke at the end has that much more punch. This more than makes up for the strips about the Duncan family going to the cottage.
Zits Sketchbook 12, Rude, Crude, and Tattooed features, I think more really good one-liners, either from Jeremy, his parents, his multi-pierced friend Pierced -who is much more interesting than Jeremy's best friend Hector and more present in this collection-and his girlfriend (or is she?) Sara Toomey. Many of them are quotable and, a sign a comic strip is firing on all cylinders, many of them were probably posted on fridge doors when they originally appeared in the newspapers.
In a perfect world there would be more school-based strips but this is just a matter of very personal taste. I particularly enjoyed the strip where Jeremy has his dad talk about the 14" TV that has numbers and dials on the front as he is giving his friends a tour of the past.
My favorite line in Zits Sketchbook 12 Rude, Crude, and Tattooed is Jeremy's "Our parents work their whole lives to make things better for us. When they succeed, they lecture us about how easy we have it." How true, how true.