When Lynn Johnston created a happy ending for her alter ego, Elly Patterson, her family in 2008, it was a blow to the fans who’d followed them in real-time for 30 years through the daily “For Better or For Worse” comic strip.
Although Johnston was told, not once but twice, by gallery curators that her evocative line drawings and interpretation of middle-class suburban family life were “not art.” Karen Tait-Peacock, director of the Art Gallery of Sudbury believed otherwise, surprising her with an invitation to mount a touring exhibition. This accompanying volume, published by Goose Lane Editions, follows her lifelong artistic evolution. Featuring nearly 500 drawings, illustrations and photographs, it’s a fascinating glimpse into how a female Canadian cartoonist, working from her home in northern Manitoba, stayed true to her vision in a male-dominated, American-rooted cartoon culture, winning legions of loyal readers along the way.
For Better or for Worse: The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston
By Lynn Johnston & Katherine Hadway
$24.94, paperback, 192 pp.
Goose Lane Editions and Art Gallery of Sudbury, 2015