The Lynn Johnston Interview
It’s easy to form a mistaken impression about Lynn Johnston. I should know. Thinking myself rather well-informed, I had known her to be a fantastically talented woman masterminding one of the most successful strips—critically and popularly—in recent comics history. I also knew she loosely modeled For Better Or For Worse on her own family. And I was also aware that Universal Press Syndicate had sought her out, intent on convincing her to wield her unique talents in fashioning a new type of family strip-one done by a woman. (This was during a time when Cathy Guisewite’s Cathy had shown the comics-reading public to be hungry for a female perspective.) To prepare for this interview, I read the autobiographical introduction to her strip’s tenth-anniversary collection, where I learned about her childhood, which overall seemed healthy and normal. What I did not and could not know, however, was even more striking and served to heighten my already considerable admiration for the woman behind the drawing board. In achieving the pinnacle of success she currently enjoys as the creator of a strip appearing in more than 1,600 papers, Lynn Johnston had to rise above obstacles that would have shackled most people. If For Better Or For Worse seems so honestly and genuinely realized, its characters so in touch with themselves and their world, it is because they are extensions of their creator’s complex and perceptive personality. Lynn, 46, was born Lynn Ridgway in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, and she grew up in British Columbia. She is married to Rod Johnston (whose middle name is John). She has two children, Aaron Michael, 20, and Katy Elizabeth, 16. (Do those middle names sound familiar?) They live in Corbeil, Ontario. This interview—originally published in 1994 in Hogan’s Alley #1—was conducted, transcribed and edited by Tom Heintjes.