Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Cartoonist returned strip to its roots

Comic strip returned to its origins

I was a big fan of the comic strip For Better or For Worse until it reverted to the past. Why did the author decide to start over?

Lynn Johnston, now 62, started the comic strip For Better or For Worse in 1979, telling the story of the Patterson family in the fictional Canadian town of Milborough, Ontario. She often drew on her family's real-life experiences for material.

For the first 28 years, the strip ran in real time — the characters aged and the strip reflected their experiences at benchmark moments in their lives. It runs in about 2,000 newspapers in the United States and Canada.

Johnston had been thinking of ending FBOFW, but in 2007, she and her husband split and Johnston decided to keep doing the comic. On Aug. 31, 2008, on what was supposed to be the final day, Johnston announced in the comic that she was taking the story back to a point just after its beginning. Half the material would be new and half would be reruns.

In a letter to readers on the strip's website (www.fborfw.com), Johnston wrote: "For the past 7 years or so I was aware that the stories were becoming more complicated, the drawings more controlled and the characters more realistic. Gone was the loose, funny, free-hand line I had started with. . . . There were so many characters . . . and only one statement a day (less than 30 seconds) to try and tell a story. . . . I have now let all of this pass into the mist as the story ends and I return to the beginning. . . .

"Without the need to visit all of the auxiliary characters, I can concentrate once again on the insular little Patterson household. I have the children all to myself again. . . . I can fix what I don't like about my early work as I add and subtract."

Holiday TV movie is on DVD

A few years ago I watched a movie on TV called The House Without a Christmas Tree. I enjoyed it but haven't seen it shown again. Is it available on DVD?

The House Without a Christmas Tree, a movie made for TV, was released in 1972. It starred Jason Robards as a widower in Nebraska, bitter over his loss, who refuses to get his 10-year-old daughter Addie a Christmas tree. When Addie wins a tree at school, it forces a confrontation with her father that ultimately ends in reconciliation.

It is unknown if any networks will pick up the movie for the next holiday season, but it is available in DVD from such retailers as amazon.com, walmart.com and meijer.com.

Another Sutherland actor

I would like to know if Rossif Sutherland is related to Donald and Kiefer Sutherland.

The 31-year-old actor-singer is Donald Sutherland's son and the half brother of Kiefer. His mother is Francine Racette. Kiefer's mother is Shirley Douglas. Rossif has appeared in episodes of ER and Monk and is starring in the 2010 movie The Con Artist with his father and Rebecca Romijn.

Q&A: Cartoonist returned strip to its roots 05/20/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries

    Blogs

    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.