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CBC interview In preparation for the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival

Lynn was interviewed by the CBC in preparation for her appearance at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. We have the print article, but they also included the audio, which I will go through point-by-point after the cut. Everything she says in the article is in the audio, even though the article is written in the past tense.



The article written by Gavin Fisher

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/for-better-or-for-worse-creator-says-successful-comic-strip-was-cathartic-1.3594536

The interviewer is a woman who does not identify herself, but I am going to guess it's not Gavin Fisher.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/programs/theearlyedition/for-better-or-for-worse-creator-says-successful-comic-strip-was-cathartic-1.3594562

Interviewer: She’s with us right now. Good morning, Lynn.
Lynn Johnston: Good morning.
Interviewer: Well, this is quite the career you’ve had. What is like to reflect back on a 30-year comic strip that’s still being reprinted today?
Lynn Johnston: Well, you know it was a great job. I was a job. {Laughs} and it connected me to all the people that I had admired all my life as a kid reading all the comic books and Mad Magazine and comic strips and uh…whoever gets to meet their heroes, right? And so here I was borrowing Charles Schulz’ car and staying with Mike Peters and some of these people I just loved.

My comment: Borrow Charles Schulz' car?!! I have never heard that story before. I wonder if he got it back in one piece. Throughout the interview, Lynn peppers her talk with a lot of her standard jokes and the interviewer has no reaction whatsoever. It seems to throw Lynn briefly each time it happens.

Interviewer: Oh boy, so when you won the Reuben Award back in 1985 you were the first Canadian ever to get that award and you were the first woman ever to win. So when you began your career describe what was it like being a woman in this industry.
Lynn Johnston: It was welcoming by the younger people. The old boys’ club was the old boys’ club you know and times have changed but everybody who was my age was enlightened to a pretty nice equality and I was really royally welcomed and very comfortable and always have been. It was exciting and nerve-wracking because they call that little chunk of the paper real estate and think about real estate here, right? It’s crazy and you have to be worthy of having that real estate and maintaining it for as long as possible so it’s terrifying to get that job. Wonderful, but terrifying.

My comment: Lynn tries to lead the interview into a discussion of North Vancouver real estate, but the interviewer does not bite. Actually the interviewer does not follow up on anything Lynn says and just launches into her next question each time. She has a nice voice, but she is not very good at interviewing.

Lynn is being a little more magnanimous than usual about her welcome into the almost all male and quite sexist National Cartoonist Society and her "enlightened" colleagues. They gave a Reuben to her and Cathy Guisewite a few years later and then it wasn't until last year, after almost 30 years had passed, before another woman won one. At least she didn't share the story of the NCS early days and the guy who drew pictures of penises to intimidate her like she did at the Toronto Comics Art Festival in 2014.


Interviewer: I can understand that, I mean, it’s interesting because tomorrow Doug Savage the local cartoonist in Vancouver is going to be the one interviewing you. We talked with him and here’s what he had to say about your time in the industry.

{Doug Savage says nice things about Lynn, which kind of tells you his interview at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival was just going to be a Lynn panderfest.}

Interviewer: That was Doug Savage and I love that quote there Lynn. I mean one of the best ways to get through life is to laugh at it. Would you agree with that sentiment about For Better or For Worse?
Lynn Johnston: Oh it sure saved my bacon. I’ve got to tell if I couldn't laugh about life, I don't know what I'd do, and the fun of the strip was knowing that other people were laughing along with me. I would get letters from people saying, “I felt exactly that way today, thank you for saying that”, so it was cathartic and it allowed me to vent and make a lot of friends.
Interviewer: Something else you did with this comic that hadn’t been done before was you let your characters age, so the Patterson family got older in real time, I mean, why did you decide to do that?
Lynn Johnston: In the beginning I didn’t plan to do that. I thought I would keep everybody the same age but as my own children aged, it was exciting to hear their new vocabulary and see their relationships with friends and banter with them and they became, you know, people, and I couldn’t let that material go. And so what happened was that the strip maintained the ages for about three years and then I let them grow giving the characters in the strip a three year advantage, uh my own kids a three year advantage on the kids in the strip. So there was a separation between my own children and the kids in the strip but really it followed our lives to some degree. We were living in northern Manitoba when it started. I like to say it was a place where you could steal a man’s wife, but you don’t touch his woodpile, eh? But you got to know everyone in town and their relationships with each other and a great deal of life there went into the strip because we were all very close and intimate in that small town.

My comment: Lynn really starts rambling here. Usually, when an interviewer claims she was the first to do the aging in real time thing, Lynn will correct them, but not this time. Lynn repeats her same old lie about stalling the strip ages for 3 years for her kids, but does so right after she talks about how she decided to start aging the kid characters so she could keep up with her kids. And then she launches into her bizarre wife/woodpile joke she always seems to tell about Lynn Lake. When was that ever a funny joke? The 1930s maybe? Does Lynn realize that it's a joke that degrades the value of women? It's so strange she tells it over and over again. Too much rambling means the interviewer is going to call it done and she does so by summarizing.

Interviewer: Well, we are very proud of the fact you have managed to continue and thrive for 30 years even though you haven’t been producing anything new for the past 8 years. That’s quite the run, so thank you {Lynn gasps here} so much for chatting with us this morning.

My comment: I could almost feel Lynn's heart jump in her throat with that gasp when the interviewer told her she hadn't done anything for the past 8 years. If the interviewer had not stopped Lynn, I feel confident we would have gotten a story about fabric or torsion dystonia or her divorce. Lynn does recover and makes a graceful exit, which is pretty cool for her after getting such a slam.

Lynn Johnston: Well, thanks for the call. It’s been a pleasure.
Interviewer: OK That’s award-winning comic artist Lynn Johnston, creator of For Better or For Worse..

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