The Cartoonists by Susanna McLeod


Lynn Johnston's New Treasury, "Something Old, Something New"

January 10, 2011


Readers felt a bit panicky a couple of years ago when Lynn Johnston announced she was retiring. What would we do without the Patterson family and "For Better or For Worse"? Then she came up with an idea, one that rescued long-term fans and would bring new ones, too - going back to the very beginning of her comic strip, Lynn revised the first three years, added new strips and rounded out storylines. It is a wonderful concept and now available in "Something Old, Something New: For Better or For Worse 1st Treasury".

Lynn Johnston began her classic comic strip, "For Better or For Worse" in 1979.. Featuring Elly and John Patterson, Lynn's cartoon family grew as her own real-life family grew. Michael, Elizabeth, and then April, became the early stars of the strip, and one particular character tugged the heartstrings of fans - Farley, the lovable dog.

The family reached joyful highs, sad and tragic lows, and expanded to new generations - Elly and John became grandparents! Fans became attached to Lynn's "second family", as if they were an extension of their own, sharing the emotions as they appeared in each instalment..

With that heart-warming success, "For Better or For Worse" grew to one of the top syndicated comic strips, read in over 2,000 newspapers around the world, with 220 million fans. The cartoonist from a small town in northern Manitoba and then northern Ontario became a multi-award-winning celebrity, and hasn't looked back.

"Something Old, Something New" Treasury by Lynn Johnston
"Something Old, Something New", (Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC, 2011) is based on the strip's first three collections, with Lynn enhancing her original work and then adding new storylines where old ones left off. It's a great concept that will keep dedicated fans happy and will certainly bring new readers.

Over years of creating "For Better or For Worse", Lynn's drawing style changed, became smooth and masterly. To add new strips to the old without seeming awkward, she had to re-learn her initial style.

"Trying to draw the way I did back then was a challenge I enjoyed," Lynn Johnston mentioned in the Foreword of her new Treasury. "It was fun to play with kids and the dog and slapstick adults." The extensive work eventually turned into the book, "Something Old, Something New."

The Treasury includes notes by Lynn, explaining her thoughts and ideas on specific strips, events in her life and the process of creating her comic strip. "Something Old, Something New" is a delightful read. It's almost like chatting with a comfortable old friend and learning new things about them.

Thanks, Lynn!

Visit "For Better or For Worse" site for news about Lynn and her travels, comic strip updates and autographed book collections, games and all sorts of "fun stuff".

Find your own copy of "Something Old, Something New: For Better or For Worse 1st Treasury" and many other of Lynn Johnston's wonderful books at Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Read "For Better or For Worse" daily at Universal Syndicate's GoComics.

"Something Old, Something New" cover graphic courtesy of Simon and Schuster Publishing, Toronto. Thank you. :)

© Susanna McLeod 2011