But then I thought about how the whole Anthony/Liz saga had been portrayed for the last 3-4 years of the strip or so, and realized that we could probably already roughly conclude how that would work out. It's obvious on many occasions in that storyline just where LJ was engaging in damage control or trying to counter valid objections that the fan community had had.
So I'm curious. What strips or storylines do you think LJ created, adjusted or manipulated due to the snark and/or negative response the readers had had? I'm not talking about things mentioned in the monthly letters, since those were very easy to change or adjust to the prevailing winds - just insert a sentence or two and that's all that needs to be done. No, I'm thinking more of occasions where Lynn Johnston felt it important enough to devote actual strip space addressing the concerns. The first is merely a blip on the radar. The latter is a genuine coup.
Just as an example for Anthony and Liz:
I think the "Coming-After" storyline was in response to the negative feedback she had been receiving about Anthony. She set this story up to portray Anthony as a hero who saved Liz, and therefore only nasty people who were unfair would continue to loathe Anthony. Unfortunately, she apparently didn't realize that an ear-twist and a forced apology aren't sufficient to deal fully with a sexual assault, so when she thought she had already dealt with Liz's problem (being assaulted), she could immediately move on to Anthony's problem (his loveless marriage).
But of course that didn't work. And I actually think that Paul Wright was created in response to that resulting negative reaction. (I also think that Paul Wright was created to counter some less common but no less damning objections that Liz would never date a non-white man) He helped distract attention away from the appalling possibility of Liz hooking up with Anthony after her sexual assault (and emotional assault!). In a sense, Paul Wright may have been us snarkers' baby, so to speak.
I also think Mason and Julia were created because of the unseemliness of hooking Liz up with Anthony. but I'm not as sure of it. It's possible it's just her idea of drama, but I've also felt that LJ recognized that there was still a certain sense of unseemliness to the two of them hooking up. By having Julia give her blessing to the Anthony/Liz union, LJ may have hoped to reduce that unseemliness. After all, hooking up was something Liz and Anthony had some objection or resistance to, (no matter how little sense it made narratively) and it took Julia to break through that. They couldn't do it themselves.
The trial as well was a response to the backlash that something like that should take place in the strip. In my recollection, LJ was totally willing to sweep the whole thing under the rug and never mention Howard again outside the letters. It was only until the protests were too loud, and more importantly, too compelling, to be ignored that we finally got that story in the strip nearly a year later.
And of course there was the entire Candace and Liz recounting of Anthony's marriage as the hybrid loomed, where LJ tried once again to portray Anthony as the innocent victim and Therese as the Destroyer of Lives. The material itself, that Anthony was a victim and Therese a terrible wife, had already been rehashed on many occasions by that time, but she still felt the need to bring it up again to once again convince us that we needn't view Anthony's actions in his first marriage as his fault.
And of course, that was related to what I feel was perhaps our crowning moment as snarkers, where LJ claimed that Therese was responsible for Anthony's reviled mustache. (Anthony shaving it was also in response to us, I believe) I remember reading that at the time and thinking just how far she had fallen into self-parody in an attempt to get snarkers on board with the whole thing. See? We have to hate Therese now!
That said, where else do you think the snarking community has had enough of an effect on the gang from Corbeil that we actually showed up in spirit in the strip?