Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and moms-to-be out there in DailyINK land! Most of us wouldn’t have developed our ongoing love for the funny pages without a parent to plunk them down in front of us on Sunday mornings when we were growing up, so we’re especially grateful to the mothers who let their kids have the comics section first.
One of the most under-appreciated moms in comics has got to be Connie Duncan, the much-beleaguered mother from ZITS, and the backbone of the Duncan family. ZITS creators Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman say, “Connie Duncan was once a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own. Now that she’s the mother of a 16-year-old boy, she’s been reduced to hoping not to find his cell phone in the washer, and dreaming of the day she won’t find a rock band whenever she pulls into the garage.”
Connie’s life reflects that of a lot of modern women—while, as a young woman, she set out to have a career, she chose to stay at home once she had a family to raise. Most of us remember feeling like our parents were always sticking their noses where they weren’t wanted, but Connie is also able to claim that it’s what she’s trained for:
“She’s a helicopter mom, hovering over Jeremy like a Sikorsky,” says Jim. “She shelved her career as a child psychologist in favor of staying at home and working on a book when he was younger. Now that he’s asserting some teenage independence she’s way too vigilant for his comfort.
“Yeah, Connie decided to write a book about raising healthy, happy teenagers when she opted to stay home and raise Jeremy,” says Jerry. “She figured her own wise parenting would serve as a model for the book. It looked good on paper.”
Fortunately, Jeremy’s Dad, Walt, is able to balance a lot of that out. “He’s got enough yang to balance her abundance of yin,” say Jerry and Jim. Meanwhile, Connie has been on a journey to learn how to let Jeremy make his own mistakes, to let him take responsibility for his own life, to not interfere with his friendships, and to keep her opinions to herself. She hasn’t gotten real far.”
While Connie may not always understand Jeremy, and sometimes clings at the wrong times, she and Jeremy still have a close and affectionate relationship. When Jeremy’s down, he lets her mother him a bit more than he normally would, and occasionally Jeremy will do something to help Connie’s nostalgia kick in and remind her that teenaged Jeremy is still the same loving little boy, at heart. While many of the strips in ZITS deal with parent-child miscommunication or Connie’s frustration over Jeremy’s mountains of dirty laundry, we still know that Connie loves Jeremy no matter what.
“Connie knows she’s a great mom — she just doesn’t understand why her masterpiece is taking so long to bake. She can tear her hair out all day long, then look back wistfully by nightfall. Someday she’ll say she misses these years. But at the moment she’d just like to cross a room without tripping over giant shoes.”
In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked Jerry and Jim what Connie’s ideal Mother’s Day would be:
“She’d allow herself to be taken to one of those Mother’s Day buffets where they serve mimosas in liter jugs and you dip Rice Crispy treats in chocolate fountains. But her favorite thing is foot massages, of which Walt has become a Zen master.”
So we hope Connie gets her Mother’s Day wish—and we wish the same to all you DailyINK moms. We do know she’ll get the traditional and especially thoughtful Mother’s Day text from her college-age son, Chad, who rarely makes an appearance: “happy mo day send $$$”