The foreword by Lynn has already been dissected here.
Following this is an introductory piece by Kurtis Findlay. He waxes rhapsodic about the strip and includes a few choice quotes from people like Lee Salem,who was Lynn’s editor. Findlay points out that 1979 was the right time for FBORFW:if it had started in 1969 then there would’ve been less appetite for the kind of content Lynn wrote,and if it had started in 1989 then (presumably due to Cathy) it wouldn’t have made the impact it did. There’s a quick mention of the new-runs,which Kurtis says will be printed in the final volume. Assuming that still holds up,then my theory is that Volume 9 will start off (or Volume 8 end) with the ‘going-after’,as DreadedCandiru2 so delicately refers to it. If they’re printed elsewhere,then March 2005 could be the cutoff point. Wouldn’t that be a hilarious coincidence,to have the final volume pick up right when this community started? Another possible cutoff point in that scenario is April’s 8th grade grad.
The strips themselves are in ‘un-corrected’ form,essentially how they were first published. You get the sense that Lynn was getting a feel for the craft she’d already taken baby steps into with her three previous books. Highlights:
Lawrence (at least I think it’s him) first appears on 30 October 1979. The online strip archive has his first appearance being on 22 September:make of that what you will. By April 1980 it’s definitely him.
Elizabeth is an infant here,even though ‘officially’ she didn’t enter the world until 26 June 1981.
On 1 January 1980 John and Elly are somehow watching the kids sleep (CCTV?).
On 22 January 1980 someone put an Oreo in John’s typewriter. I remember doing something similar when I was a kid.
Connie first appears on 9 October 1979 and Annie on 23 October that same year.
Super Teddy puts in his first appearance on 26 March 1980,destroying the bill pile. The next day,Michael has taken the consequence:judging by his rubbing his butt,he got slapped.
In late April 1980 John takes some sort of trip,leading to needless worry on Elly’s part.
Between 11 and 30 June 1980 Elly and the kids go to Vancouver and visit her parents. Apparently at this time the Pattersons live in (or near) Toronto. When did it get finalized that they live in Milborough?
Elly celebrates her birthday on 26 and 27 August 1980.
In September 1980 Liz is being potty trained.
Elly gets her first real job in mid-October 1980:working as a temp for John.
The Sunday strip for 12 October 1980 features what I can only call ‘expanding bread’.
Deanna puts in an uncredited appearance on 8 March 1980:her first credited appearance is on 9 May.
On 10 February 1981 Lawrence breaks his leg. The resulting arc occupies about two weeks.
Elizabeth has a birthday party on 26 May 1981.
In the summer (11 to 31 July 1981) the Patterclan decamps to Ted’s lakeside place. Most of you have already dissected this.
Judging by Elly’s thoughts in the last panel of the 23 August 1981 strip,she hadn’t quite yet devolved into total housewife territory.
And that’s where I’ll stop,since by this point the Era of Reprints has begun.
Ted seems to be pretty prominent at this point,serving as an on and off again love interest for Connie.
Does anyone else’s copy have a ‘Coming in Volume Two’ blurb at the end?