Saturday, August 30, 2008

For Better or For Worse

For Better or For Worse, My 3rd favorite comic strip ended today--the storyline that is. The comic owner Lynn Johnson has health issues and is ready to semi-retire. She's told her story and is starting something totally new come Sept 1.... retelling the whole comic again with fresh drawings and new ideas. It will be 50/50 between old and new stuff. The characters I so love will never change or die... which is sad is many ways.

I realize that when you invest 29 years into a story that it becomes a part of you. Think of all the blood, sweat, tears and ink, she's put into this strip. I've followed it for many years...not always faithfully but for the last 8 years or so, I've given it my total all.

Ms. Johnson could have let other artists take over the comic or she could have retired it completely like Calvin & Hobbes (my all-time favorite comic, first to the Far Side.) but she's taking a different road. Some of the newspapers are dropping the comic after Sunday's issue (which is where the characters say goodbye). They believe that the stories been told, why continue it even if it's re-inked and embellished. I can see their point.

This comic strip moved me often. I watched the Patterson kids grow up. Michael always made me laugh, Liz sometimes aggravated me but I always related to her hard knocks in love and April...she was so full of mischief that you couldn't help but love her. There were many other characters that I liked that were friends and family. Ms. Johnson was never afraid of a story line, like the Lawrence coming out of the closet and how the Patterson's stood by him. Many papers chose not to run the strip while that storyline played out. And Farley, their first sheepdog who saved April from drowning and died afterwards. I think I cried for hours over that...and whenever a family member visited his 'tree.'

The last month of strips have been centered on Elizabeth marrying her high school sweetheart, Anthony. I am sort of disappointed. Each day has been full of sap and little wit. Their Grandpa (Ellie's dad Jim) has had bad health for the last few years. And he seemed to linger on the verge of death so much this summer that I wanted to say.. "Go ahead and die!"'s been horrible to watch, almost like a sufferring animal. So naturally he has a heart attack on the wedding day and after the vows, Liz and Anthony rush to the hospital so that he can see her in her grandmother's dress. There, Liz talks to Iris-Jim's second wife.

I will probably continue to read the strip but not with the anticipation I used to have. There were nights when I would stay up after midnight so I could go to the FBoFW website to read what happened next, especially when Liz found out that Paul was cheating on her...or when she was attacked by a co-worker and Anthony came to save her...

those days are over but I will stay faithful... and enjoy looking back through the years with an old friend.