Zits is Listed as a Great But Forgotten 1990s Newspaper Comic Strip

A recent list of “10 Great But Forgotten 1990s Newspaper Comic Strips” includes current comics Zits, Mutts, Non Sequitur, Sherman’s Lagoon, Tom the Dancing Bug, and Agnes.

Six of the ten 1990s comic strips tagged forgotten are still appearing in newspapers today. Their greatness can be debated (I see more than half as qualifying), but forgotten??

Zits stands out as it is one of the most popular syndicated comic strips running today. King Features describes it as “appear[ing] in more than 1,600 newspapers worldwide in 45 countries and is translated into 15 different languages. The comic has an estimated daily readership of more than 200 million readers.”

While those are numbers from years ago, I think Zits remains among the top ten in circulation numbers.

Zits is collected in an annual treasury book collecting a years worth of the strips.

Hardly “forgotten.”

Elliot Swan created the “Great But Forgotten” list for Comic Book Resources.

Possibly great alternatives to those still being distributed could have been listed. Such as…

Man Martin’s Sibling Revelry; Sam Hurt’s Queen of the Universe, Doug Marlette’s Kudzu, McGregor and Yeates Zorro; or Doyle and Sternecky’s Walt Kelly’s Pogo. Or…

comic strips © their respective copyright holders.

16 thoughts on “Zits is Listed as a Great But Forgotten 1990s Newspaper Comic Strip

  1. I dont’know about United States, but In Italy, Zits was initially published in the main strip magazine, Linus. In the early years, she was very famous here in Italy. Then, over time, Linus no longer hosted Zits and the comic strip was completely forgotten.

  2. It really speaks to how much print newspapers are struggling if still-running comics are listed as “forgotten”

  3. Swan also wrote that Zits “is about Jeremy Duncan, a 17-year-old aspiring rock musician who also happened to be telepathic.”

    Telepathic? Is he reading the same strip I’ve been reading all these years? Jeremy’s always been pretty much oblivious to what other people think.

  4. I’m teaching a cartooning and character design summer camp class this week to middle school and high school children. Zits was one of the comic strips I cited and discussed at length in yesterday’s lesson. Not a single person in the room (16 middle and high schoolers) had ever heard of or ever seen it. The same for FoxTrot and Cul de Sac. Most had heard of and/or read Calvin and Hobbes.


    The four aforementioned strips and their creators were (and remain) highly influential in my life and career as a cartoonist and illustrator. As newspaper readership (sadly) continues to wane, hopefully the next generation will discover these great works in book collections at their local libraries and bookshops.

    1. They’re probably reading a ton of webcomics that WE’VE never heard of. Which is fine. Why should they be reading 10, 20 or 30 year old strips?

  5. I usually avoid lists like Eliot Swan’s “10 Great But Forgotten 1990s Newspaper Comic Strips”. They only make me angry. He compiles this list and presents it as some kind of expert on the history of newspaper comics. Where’s the comment section? Too fragile to receive any feedback?

    By number of followers ‘Non Sequitur’ is still one of the most popular strips on GoComics. Didn’t this article’s author read about the Non Sequitur F*** Trump controversy a few years ago?

    Elliot’s bio at the bottom of the page says, “Elliot Swan has been devouring comics since 1996.” I’m guessing this is not meant figuratively and he actually eats newspaper comic sections. I wonder if he uses condiments.

    1. Well, I’ve been devouring comic strips since about 1950. And it’s a very hard habit to break. Luckily, I don’t want to break it.

    1. There was a return of Pogo in the 80s-90s sometime, with the permission/assistance of Walt Kelly’s daughter.
      I don’t THINK that it lasted until or past 2000. I might be wrong.

  6. CBR was once a comic-book news outlet. Now that companies don’t cooperate with any of these online news sources, the “news” is usually recycled from other sources, or comprises complete conjecture. Once the dearth of news began to occur, this site, along with most other comics sites, reverted to these supposedly scholarly Top-Ten (or more, or fewer) lists, which are sometimes well-researched, but all too often little more than one man’s limited perspective (in this case, none of the still-running strips appear in the author’s daily newspaper, so they’re “forgotten”). The article may have netted the author $20, so too much research isn’t cost effective. I ignore them entirely.

  7. Ruben Bolling reacts to Tom the Dancing Bug being “great but forgotten” –
    “Tom[,] the Dancing Bug was listed as the #10 “great but forgotten 1990s newspaper comic strip.” Yet by every measure except newspaper print clients (and this particular writer’s memory) the comic strip is more successful now than ever. Definitely WAY more readers than ever.”
    More from Ruben at https://tomthedancingbug.substack.com/p/actually-not-forgotten

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