Oct 4, 2019
2019: While I can’t tell you that I have read Lynn Johnston’s wonderful daily comic strip, “For Better or For Worse” from the very beginning in 1979, I can’t remember a time when The Patterson Family was not a part of my own family. I was a college sophomore when Lynn started. I remember becoming immediately attached to John and Elly’s daily adventures, raising their children, Michael and Elizabeth, their dog, Farley, getting to know their extended family—such as when Grandpa Jim started dating—and even the heart-breaking death of Farley.
Lynn Johnston podcast excerpt: "Everybody my age was great (when I started in the business). But there were a bunch of old farts that were just awful! At one point, I was president of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) and they would draw naked pictures of me as I was conducting a meeting! But I drew naked pictures of my own and got back at them.It was hard; they would have preferred I make them coffee and serve them tea and not really run the meetings."
When Mimi and I got married, we often read the strip together or shared a favorite. When Charlie was born, I related to the Patterson kids in new ways. And when Charlie started reading at four, I introduced him to collections of “For Better or For Worse” which he devoured over and over again. On any given day, “For Better or For Worse” could be funny, sweet, bittersweet or hauntingly dramatic – just like life in my own family or yours. Perhaps nothing about the strip was more shocking than the day in 2008 that Lynn announced she would no longer be producing new strips but would be re-releasing the original strip from day one, with occasional fixes to continuity and timeliness. Would that even work? It has and it does, with the strip continuing to appear in an astonishing 2,000 newspapers in 23 countries around the world. We are conducting this interview just days after learning of the sudden death of the former editor of Universal Press Syndicate, Lee Salem. And here is something Lynn and I share in common: Salem acquired both “For Better or For Worse” and Mr. Media, which started life in 1994 as a weekly syndicated newspaper column.