April 19, 2014

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For Better, For Worse...Forever

A farewell to a beloved comic strip...or is it?

Have you ever seen something end...then begin again?

That's what's just happened to a popular comic strip.

I know it's probably not common for an adult to say he's a comic strip reader.  But one of the first things I look for in the newspaper every day...other than the top stories...is the comic strip "For Better Or For Worse".

It's been different than the other strips...a slice of life story which, while it's bordered on the controversial, tells about a family's minor, and major triumphs and tragedies.

But with the marriage of the Patterson family's second child, daughter Elizabeth, artist Lynn Johnston decided it was time to end the story of nearly 30 years, saying, in part, it had become too complicated.  She had combined old and new material, using the modern-day characters rememberances of their younger years.  But she said readers found that confusing.

But instead of running reruns of old strips, Johnston has gone back to her old drawing style, at least partially, to "fill in" stories from the strip's early years.  She calls it "new-runs".

So there are new strips, but old stories.  It's kind of a combination of  "Muppet Babies" and "Star Wars: Episode One".

It will be interesting to see if the strip's popularity holds, or if Johnston decides to end it altogether.  In any event, it may be the greatest Canadian import to America ever.

I spent much of my growing-up years living near the border of Canada, and watching its television stations.  Many of the programs they ran were American programs.  Their radio stations also ran American songs.  That changed in the early 1970's, when a new law regulated how much imported entertainment could air.

The popularity of Johnston's strip in America has helped to change the "balance of trade".

 

 

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