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Sunday, August 31, 2008

For Better or for Worse

Have you ever loved a comic strip so much that you would run to the paper as soon as it arrived on your door so that you could turn straight to the comics section to read it? Or have you kept the online comic as number one on your favorites list so that it's the first thing you go to when you log on to your computer in the morning? That is how I feel about this comic strip, For Better or for Worse by Lynn Johnston. You can find the official website here.

Let me introduce you to the Patterson family: the parent's John and Elly, and their children Mike, Elizabeth, and April. During the passing of the years, Mike married childhood friend Deanna, and they had a daughter and son of their own, Meredith and Robin. Just this last week, daughter Elizabeth married high school sweetheart Anthony. I have followed this strip for 28 years. I feel like my children grew up with the Patterson children, and I feel like I have known them personally.

As of September 1, the strip as we have known it comes to an end and starts in a new direction. The strip will no longer progress the characters and they won't continue the story. Creator Lynn Johnston is going into semi retirement and is taking the comic strip back to the beginning, redrawing her strip from the very start, and adding new things every now and then.
Even though the comic strip won't completely go away, it will never be the same, and I am mourning the passing of the story as I've known it.

I'll never forget this strip below which I saw in the Sunday paper when I was pregnant with my daughter. I even clipped it out and probably have it in a box somewhere. I thought it was so funny, and could imagine my daughter's father doing something like this! They showed a repeat of it a few months ago and I squealed with delight! Please click to enlarge the comics.
Over the years I saw the Patterson children grow. For many years it was just Michael and Elizabeth, then by surprise, along came April. April was born at home during an April snowstorm. It was a pretty dramatic story line!

Perhaps my favorite storyline was about the family dog Farley and his dramatic rescue of little April when she fell into a creek.

There's Farley above, happy and full of life. The week that this series unfolded, I couldn't think of anything else and would wait by the door for the paper and rip it open to see if April was okay.

I breathed such a sigh of relief when dear old Farley rescued her from the water, and with the help of John and Elly, were both pulled safely from the creek.
Once on land though, Farley didn't fare so well and he died. I bawled and bawled. To follow the series, you can check it out here.

There were other memorable series such as when Michael's friend Lawrence came out of the closet. She was dropped from several papers during this time, but I applauded her for bringing this issue out into the open. I hope it opened the eyes of people. She also had series on how Mike and Deanna got together. Some of my favorites were when Elizabeth went to teach in an Ojibway village in northern Ontario called Mtigwaki. This was a village that Lynn Johnston went to great detail to portray. Another memorable subject from the series was April's friendship with a special needs girl at her school named Shannon. Whatever she portrayed in her comic strip, Ms. Johnston made you feel great empathy and like these were people you could know personally. You can read some of her most popular series on the website under the Explore More section.

This past week, Elizabeth married her high school sweetheart Anthony. After many years apart, they maintained their friendship through Elizabeth's boyfriends, and Antony's unfortunate marriage and divorce, and finally found love again with each other.

However, Elizabeth's grandfather had a heart attack shortly before the wedding, and immediately after leaving the church, the newly married couple went to visit Grandpa Jim and his wife Iris at the hospital. It was a very touching end to the story. I bawled like a baby.
There is one more post that will be in today's paper that will wrap up the storyline and tell a little bit about the future, although sadly, we won't get to see it play out. I would really have liked that. You can see it today here. After I read it, I had to cry a little more.

Although the series isn't really ending, it won't progress, and that makes me a little bit sad. I feel like I am losing some old friends. I just want to thank Lynn Johnson for sharing them with me for the last 28 years! Well done, Lynn!


Raxx - A day in the life said...

I get how you feel, my sister is a fan too, her kids are almost the same age as those in the story, I read it, but I cant say I was an avid follower, but my sister spoke of it all the time.

It was a wonderful sereis though, and I'm sure you would enjoy the new version just as much.

Youre lucky, not all fans get to experience a 'rebirth' of their favorite characters, so just enjoy!!

Smilingsal said...

What a beautiful tribute you have given the author. I hope you figure out how to send her a notice to come to your blog to see it.

Happy Sunday.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

It is my favorite comic too. I was so sad when I opened todays paper and saw the ending.. but happy to know that it will continue, even if in a different way. Great tribute!

Tricia said...

You wrote such a nice tribute of your favorite comic. I hope you can enjoy the new strip.

Justine said...

Holy cow, do all comic strips have such dramatic story lines? I remember reading this when I was younger, but the only comic I ever really truly loved was Ziggy. I haven't read a comic strip in a longgggggggggggg time.

Justine :o )

Deb said...

Hi Kady! Sorry about your comic strip, it was a good run and seemed to have brought you much enjoyment but, like all good things they sometimes come to an end. But we can always pull out the memories whether kept in our minds or boxes and smile. Deb

Tootsie said...

it's been a LONG time since I read the comics...may have to do that now

Shelia said...

Hi Kady! They still have comics? LOL I must confess, I don't read them anymore. This was nice how you featured it. Have a great holiday tomorrow.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

kari and kijsa said...

What a great tribute!
Thank you for all your prayers and blessings!
Have a wonderful Labor Day,
kari & kijsa

Susan Hickam said...

This strip and Calvin and Hobbes are my two favorites-I don't get the paper but I always read it first whenever I could. I will miss it but I am glad she isn't gone completely.

Cathy said...

Hi Kady,

Thank you for the sweet comments on my blog. I am thrilled to pieces too!

xo Cath

BittersweetPunkin said...

I know..I read that article's nice that its starting all over from the it can touch another generation or two....

Buffie said...

oh how sad!!! I read it all the time....

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I've loved that comic strip for so long. It is sad. I'll miss that family!

Buffie said...

Oh you should at least try and blow dry your hair that way, it would look SOOOO pretty! Try it for me, pleeeease and post a photo! : )

imjacobsmom said...

I'm an avid fan of this strip, too. I was shocked when I read the last strip with the conclusion. I'm just glad that she will continue on....Robyn

nikkicrumpet said...

28 years...amazing that it had such loyal fans for so long. A true testament to her talents. I'm sorry for your loss :[

Nikki via The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

Wow, I never thought of a comic strip being sad! It's such a shame when good things come to an end.
I still miss Opus and Calvin and Hobbes. Oh, and the Far Side.

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