Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston

For Better or For Worse

A continuity strip covering 30 years in the life of a middle-class white Canadian family and their friends. Babies are born, children grow up, parenthood's ups and downs are explored, and characters experience changes in and conflicts with spouses, families, jobs, children, and lives. Ellie, the mother, goes from being a full-time homemaker to a part-time toy store employee to the store owner. Michael grows from a toddler to a teenager to an adult with a family of his own. Elizabeth spends years figuring out what to do her life, and whom to spend it with. In one infamous story arc, the beloved family dog saves the youngest, April, from drowning in a river and dies in the attempt. This is a comic about family, love, hardship, and joy. It is available online at

Appeal: slice-of-life, family drama, realism, family-friendly, middle grade plus

Art: Starts off sketchy but expressive, becomes more detailed in the middle years.

Textual style: Lots of exclamations and pronouncements, some sentimentality.

Other: Lynn Franks Johnston was born and raised in Canada, and attended the Vancouver School of Art. Over the course of her career she has been awarded several honorary doctorates, and been made a member of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Manitoba, and been inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame and the National Cartoon Museum Hall of Fame.

Awards: The author has won the Reuben Award, the Gemini Award for Best Cartoon Series, and the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award.

Johnston, Lynn Franks. It's All Downhill From Here: A For Better Or For Worse Collection. Kansas City : Andrews, McMeel & Parker, (c)1987. Print.

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