It was a year ago this week that the comic strip “For Better or For Worse” ended…sort of.
After 29 years of drawing a “semi-autobiographical” account of her family, cartoonist Lynn Johnston decided to end the strip's story-line with the wedding of daughter Elizabeth to her old high school flame Anthony.
I wrote an article celebrating the end of the strip and somewhat questioned Lynn's decision to continue the strip starting from the beginning. Her plan was to retell their story from the beginning with updated drawings and story lines, which she labeled "new-runs."
I questioned the decision and actually wrote “I doubt that I will follow it with the same interest and passion that I have invested in ‘FBOFW' over the past 29 years. But we shall see.”
Well, a year has passed, and I have to admit that I am thoroughly enjoying the “new-runs.” In fact Lynn had me the very first day of the “new-runs,” when Michael begged his mother to buy him a puppy. Knowing that his mother would eventually give in and that the beloved sheepdog Farley would be the puppy was somewhat exhilarating!
And in today's strip, it is the first day of school and Michael discovers that a girl whose family had moved away has returned to be in his first grade class. And yes, long-time followers of “FBOFW” know that in about 20 years or so, he and Deanna Sobinski will be re-united through a serious car accident.
And Michael will visit her in the hospital, and they will fall in love, eventually marry, and have two children together, Meredith and Robin. And their apartment will catch on fire, and they will eventually move back into the Patterson's family house in which Michael grew up, and they will buy the house when his parents decide they want to retire and down-size.
I don't know why I find this all so fascinating, but I do, and I am sure that many other loyal readers of “FBOFW” got a bit “verklempt” today when the teacher announced that Deanna had returned to Michael's class.
It has also been fascinating to watch Michael constantly teasing younger sister Elizabeth, knowing how close they become when they grow up. This must be very comforting to many parents of younger children who are being driven crazy by their kids constantly tormenting one another.
Perhaps the reason I am enjoying these “new-run” strips so much is that they almost have a “Lost” quality to them, as I watch past events occur that I know will impact future events.
Now all that has to happen is for Benjamin Linus or Daniel Faraday to show up in the strip in a few years to warn daughter April not to play near the river behind their yard, so she doesn't have to be saved by family dog Farley, who loses his life in the process!