Shopping Challenged

Am I the only person who can spend a week in Florence, Italy without finding something to buy?

My daughter and I walked for miles every day past shops full of shoes, suits, ties, leather jackets, scarves, and every plastic iteration of “The David” imaginable. It wasn’t until we found an ancient cavelike shop full of leather-bound sketchbooks that my credit card began to twitch. Oh, she’s a beauty.

My wife brought me a small brown version of these Italian sketchbooks some years ago, probably from this same shop. It’s now my coffee shop sketchbook and it’s compiling a nice legacy of decent strip ideas.

Not that a sketchbook has to be fancy, of course. I’ve got shelves of beat-up spiral-bound sketchbooks with some of my best ideas in them. A tour of my sketchbook shelves in a blog post ahead.

A ZITS Virtual Stocking Stuffer

Here’s a cool idea for you last-minute shoppers. DailyINK has just released a new app for the iPhone, iTouch and the iPad.

Here’s what the PR people have to say about it: “The DailyINK app delivers a free comic every day plus access to samples of all of King Features’ comics. Dozens of strips, panels and editorial cartoons will be featured in “Today’s Comic” and viewable in a seven-day rolling archive. Comics fans, who buy a DailyINK subscription, can browse through King Features’ complete line-up of 90+ daily comic strips, editorial cartoons and exclusive vintage content from our vast library. Subscriptions are available for purchase two ways: $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a full year.”

I downloaded it and tried it, and I have to say that King Features hit this one out of the park! Zits strips on my iPad are clear, crisp and they look great at full screen size. Comics in a readable size… what’ll they think of next? Check this one out.

Drive

The page proofs for our new spring Zits book Zombie Parents and Other Wishes for a More Perfect World were in our hands, we’d read them a dozen times and were down to our final few days for comment before giving our official OK to Andrews McMeel Publishing and sending them off to the printer. The book looked great. There wasn’t a pixel out of place. The cover artwork had come together effortlessly and we’d all agreed a book cover based on a popular series of strips we’d done around Halloween was a brilliant idea. There wasn’t a thing wrong with the book…

…except everything.

Somehow we’d failed to appreciate that the nine-month stretch of strips in the book included the rather significant development of Jeremy getting his driver’s license. It was a story that had been ten years in the waiting, but the title failed to notice.

I ventured a timid email to Caty Neis, our ever-patient editor at AMP. “Um, we may have missed the boat. Could we possibly blow up the cover and start over?” With an absurdly brief week to go before our printing date, Caty must have poured herself a drink and answered, “Sure!”

So Zombie Parents will step aside for the moment and make way for Drive! Watch for it in April.