Look what I found in the attic while doing a bit of spring cleaning. These are some of the original faxes (yes, I said faxes) Jerry and I sent back and forth to each other in 1996 when we were developing Zits.old zits1A lot has changed (check out that phone!) but it’s all kinda there-ish. Even those weird rooster-comb hairdos I thought were the bomb.

I’d forgotten how we struggled for a title for the strip. Cowboy was going to have been Mom’s nickname for Jeremy when he was tracking as a much younger teenager in our minds.

oldzits2I think that’s the Generation Gap between them, get it? Oh man, how close we came to disaster.

Other rejected titles for the strip: Grounded for Life; Planet Jeremy; Work in Progress; Yo; Why Me?; Stuff About Me; As If; and Chad and Jeremy. Yes, that’s how close we came to a complete dumpster-fire launch, friends.

oldzits4You see, we were searching for a title that succinctly conveyed what we hoped the strip would be about: a gritty look at life with a teenager in the house. Finally Jerry said to our editor, “Why don’t we just call it Zits?” And despite the horror that shook the syndicate’s boardroom, that was that.





33 thoughts on “Roots

  1. Grounded for Life would have worked for me… Actually I’ve never been a total fan of “zits”. If it had ever been a lesser strip I’d never have read it based on that name alone. As it is I’ve been a devoted reader on a daily basis, first in our local paper (“the west Australian”) and now through this site , for years now.

  2. Pingback: Check out early Zits sketches by Jim Borgman The Daily Cartoonist

  3. I liked Charles Schulz’s comment that ‘Zits’ was the worst name for a strip since ‘Peanuts’, though you guys at least got to come up with your own name. My son is 11 and loves the strip…he segued from Calvin & Hobbes to Zits at about age 9. He is fascinated by the inside look at teenager life. When I get him the compilation books for Christmas presents my mother and law always shakes her head disapprovingly at the titles: “‘Humongous Zits’? ‘Big Honkin’ Zits’?”

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