shoebox_dw: (gf bucky pointing)

For anyone who's wondering how the 'new-run' experiment - in which creator Lynn Johnston intersperses old strips with new ones in the old style - is working over on For Better or For Worse...

...well, you probably need to get back on your meds sooner than later, so I'll sum it up for you real quick: A week or so in, Johnston abruptly disconnected the letters page on her site in favour of one carefully handpicked question a week. You know, vital questions, like 'which character is your favourite to draw?' That sort of thing.

This has inspired me. This, and several weeks of watching Foob Reanimated stumble dazedly across my monitor.

Dear Lynn:

Why? Explain to me why I or anyone else with an even half-way plausible life should care about revisiting the Pattersons at this point?

You haven't added any distinctiveness, or even really any detail, and you sure as hell haven't provided any insight. All you've done is transmute the elements that were fresh and funny into dull-witted, plodding dross. It's as if Norman Lear, on revisiting All in the Family, decided that after all he'd rather it be more like Leave it to Beaver.

All the brave words in the world can't hide the fact that you're utterly bored with your creation. You have all the money anyone could want. So why are you doing this - why are you putting yourself through this - in lieu of curling up somewhere there are no drawing boards and licking your raw wounds in peace?

Yours quite seriously,

shoebox_dw: (gf bucky pointing)
--I couldn't let the grand (sort-of) finale go unsnarked, could I now? The below originated @ the [ profile] binky_betsy  group:

Well, least April got away clean. Of course, in Lynn's mind she never really mattered much anyway, not being 'a real person', so why not?

John and Elly's last recorded communication to each other, after thirty years of being the featured characters in a real-time comic strip, is a generic cliche. Not, mind, the one in the title; that was covered yesterday, by a recently-introduced minor character who barely rates a mention in today's wrapup. How, uh, sweet. Or something.

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (gf bucky pointing)
--So the Settling of the Century is here, and it is indeed a dilly; rivalling in scope and pomp only the last doomed fairytale re-enactment within memory, that of of Charles and Diana Windsor.

So much so, that I'm rather inclined to give FBOFW creator Lynn Johnston the benefit of the doubt for once. On the off chance it all
isn't being delivered with what the ever-hopeful Bertie Wooster liked to call 'a twinkle in his eye', however...


Lynn, the whole ruddy point of your strip to begin with was that these are real people, real problems, real flaws. You know, the whole 'camera in my house' thing.

OK. So real people, sometimes they do nice things for people, sometimes they don't realise how much it meant until later. Fine. That much of this wedding debacle works. In fact, handled properly, it could be a really nice way to wrap up the strip. Had the Pattersons not devolved into Pattersaints, had the denouement involved a real crisis...well, it occurs to me I'm describing the plot of It's a Wonderful Life. Sappy, but it works.

Thing is, Lynn, this isn't a meaningful Life Situation; it's a wedding. Not a marriage, a wedding - and not even a tasteful one. Three weeks yet to go, and you've already managed to leave the distinct impression that every one of the realistic, down-to-earth human beings in your strip has been carefully aligned over decades in advance of a tacky lavender-and-teal monstrosity that's been stripped of any personalisation whatsoever. (Certainly Modern Bride magazine would've disowned it on sight.)

shoebox_dw: (gf bucky pointing)
So Lynn Johnston has finally decided to respond to her critics, in a lengthy post to her website. It’s a curious document; half-condescending, half-defensive, all self-serving justification.
Much as I’d love to tear into it line by wretchedly spurious line…well, there is that whole ‘getting too worked up over a comic strip’ thingy. Also, I’m secure in the knowledge that the crews at [profile] binky_betsy and the CC have already thoroughly covered anything I might miss.
There are just a few things remaining that my brain stubbornly refuses to let past, in re: the creative process generally.
shoebox_dw: (gf bucky pointing)
As I, ah, may have just mentioned in a previous post, comic strip For Better or For Worse and this formerly devoted fan have long since divorced due to irreconcilable differences. With the coming of the Settleocalypse, aka the engagement of Liz and Anthony, it has become difficult even to muster up much interest in the doings of characters whose lives are so determinedly irrelevant to mine.

Or for that matter anyone born after 1950...check that. Anyone who isn't Lynn Johnston, or who hasn't had the misfortune to get tangled up in her hell-or-high-water scramble for the Perfect Family She Never Had. Really, you can't blame one poor innocent decade for the mess this woman's psyche is in at the moment. Even if it did contain Queen For a Day.

Today, however, the temptation to mark what will surely go down in history as a milestone of Foob snark is too great to resist.
shoebox_dw: (gf bucky pointing)
I figure I'll shamelessly milk for all the column ideas I can give everybody a chance to respond to the meme below this weekend. Meanwhile, the big engagement announcement over on the comics pages has inspired the rant below. Apologies for the length; it's been coming on for awhile...

Dearly beloved,

We are gathered here today to witness the final nail being pounded into the coffin containing the remains of the once-beloved For Better or for Worse. The comic strip that once helped thousands, including yours truly, understand that there was real humor and pathos and sometimes even joy to be found in the hum and drum of daily life...until realization set in that it was the daily life itself the author was actually celebrating, not the release. Not the flight of imagination and adventure, but the comfort in suppressing it.

The whole thing becomes a rather sad testament to the pitfalls of artists allowing too much of themselves into their work. The occasional transcendent genius - or pathetic monster - aside, most of us really aren't all that interesting.Certainly FBoFW creator Lynn Johnston isn't, very much anyway. She might have been, had she had the vision and courage artistically to rise above what’s been an admittedly fairly tough real life. Her first husband was a dashing biker dude who left her alone with small children to raise; her second (the model for John Patterson, the strip's paterfamilias) just recently walked out after apparently carrying on behind her back for quite awhile. Her relationship with her grown children, the models for the fictional ditto, is strained at best.

So it's possible to be sympathetic to her clear desire to find safety and security for her creations, probably more so than if she’d decided to pull a Funky Winkerbean and have them all become bitter recluses who read the obituaries for fun. On the other hand…for awhile there things just looked really promising, y'know?
Read more... )


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