For years, I've been a big fan of the comic strip For Better or For Worse. I've loved the family-based humor, I've loved that it can be alternately hilarious and touching, that it can deal with the silly and mundane but also touch on the "big" issues, and I've loved that my family has basically grown up with the family in the strip. My parents are of a similar age of John and Elly, I'm a year or so older than Michael, and Lil' Sis is a couple of years older than Elizabeth. We even had a dog that was about the same age as Farley. I remember crying when Farley died.
One of the big differences between For Better and For Worse and most other comic strips is that in this particular comic, the characters have aged in "real-time." As my family grew up, so did the Pattersons. Michael graduated, got married, and started to have kids all within a year or so of when I passed those milestones. As I watched my parents transition from middle aged to empty nesters to grandparents, I watched John and Elly Patterson deal with many of the same issues and experience the same sorts of joys.
So over the last few months, I've been wondering what's been going on with the comic strip. Suddenly, most of the strips have been "re-runs," and very old ones at that. I was afraid at first that the creator of the strip had decided to retire, or maybe had developed some sort of chronic disease or something like that.
During my illness, and all the time on my hands it produced, I decided to do some looking into my questions. According to the official website,
FBorFW is now a mix of selected strips from the past and newly drawn panels
that will help reintroduce favourite storylines. The strip's current storylines
will be interlaced with Patterson family remembrances until sometime in 2008. At
that point, time will stand still for the Patterson family, but not for their
stories! Earlier story arcs will be expanded upon and relived by a current
generation of fans and introduced for the first time to a new generation.
In a nutshell, what that means is that from now on, the Patterson family will no longer age. They'll have new storylines and such, but their characters will remain static. Makes sense from a creative point of view...I can't imagine how hard it's been to have them realistically "grow up" over the years. But, as silly as it may sound, with this has come almost a sense of mourning for me. Having lived such parallel lives for so long, having grown up alongside these characters, even though they're fictional...I'm gonna miss it.