A reader asked me to comment on the end/pseudo-beginning of “For Better or For Worse,” so here it is.
The first time I saw Lynn Johnston’s work was in a compilation book about motherhood back in the early 1970s. I don’t know if this was before or after “For Better or For Worse” began but later I did realize it was the same woman. The one page/one panel cartoon that stood out for me from that book was one of a mother at the bathroom door, a toddler with her hand on the toilet lever, a tail -hair standing straight out on end in panic- coming from the toilet and the caption, “Bye bye, kitty.” Sick, on a “Far Side” level, but I loved it and it stayed with me.
Now, some decades later, Lynn Johnston has decided to end her FBofW strip. Sort of. The end came a few weeks back, shown here, with Johnston doing her best to epilogue all the ongoing storylines and characters. It’s rather wordy and involved, because of the soap opera-ness many have complained about in recent years. While I haven’t paid too much attention to the strip in that time, I would think that if one loved the characters, that shouldn’t have mattered. Although I guess the soap opera might have been infinitely more interesting had it been entirely autobiographical, the strip’s title taking on new meaning with her marriage falling apart in the last few years. But of course, FBofW ending fairly happily as you can see.
Now, equally controversial along with FBofW ending is the pseudo-re-start of the strip. Obviously Lynn Johnston has a writer’s heart. She’s not retiring with the strip’s end, she’s re-writing, re-vamping – a final edit if you will. Many writers wish for that once a book has gone to print, and Johnston is getting it. FBofW is starting over with Johnston tweaking it as it goes along. And I wish her best of luck. You go, Lynn! And keep flushing those kitties.