« Round-a-lay up! | Main | Mondays were made for the sweet taste of Banter Latte roundup with quality. »

Eric: It would, however, be acceptable for April to end up Roadside.

For Better or For Worse
So. We all know (well, everyone who cares even slightly knows) that For Better Or For Worse is going to be "ending" sometimes soon. We put "ending" in quotes because we also know it's not actually going to end. Instead, it's going to freeze time. The New Pattersons will become the focus, time will freeze, character development will stop, April will be forever trapped in the first trimester of pregnancy, the horror of marrying Anthony will forever be kept an inch away from Liz's brain....

...and so forth.

Fine. I can accept that. And I can accept and even honor the fact that Lynn Johnston -- until two years ago or so considered one of the most consistently awesome newspaper cartoonists and now reviled beyond rationality, all thanks to newly unmustachioed Anthony -- won't be handing off the comic to other creators, as syndicated artists have been doing since the beginning of time immemorial.

But. That doesn't mean we have to listen to her.

I swear to God. The day "For Better Or For Worse" goes into freeze-limbo? A new webcomic should start, continuing the story.

Oh, there would need to be mild changes. The Petersons instead of the Pattersons. Avril instead of April. Shit like that. And the character designs would have to change at least slightly.

But why couldn't a webcartoonist -- or a cabal of webcartoonists -- not continue the strip on... freed from Johnston's railroading and editorial concerns... bringing it back to its true roots, grounded in fallibility and a sense of reality.

Consider the chance to write about Liz's growing sense of ennui and even a trapped feeling stemming from this spineless passive-aggressive creature she's rebounded into bed with. Consider a chance to take teen star Rebecca and take her down a frightened Lindsey Lohan path. Consider just how elaborate a train layout you could give John. And consider the opportunity to actually have people slowly call Elly on her tureens of bullshit.

It wouldn't be hard. Assign an editor. Gather a number of talents. (Hell, David Willis and Aerie might get into bare fisted combat at the opportunity.) Go plotline by plotline, shaking up the creative team as you go so everyone gets a chance to play.

The rules would be simple: no radical changing of the fundamental underpinnings of the strip. FOOB is realistic. The only magic or fantasy is when one is considering the heartwarming sacrifice of a beloved and noble pet for a meanass ungrateful child. No satire -- this isn't "magnify the faults of FOOB for all to see," this is "pick up the story and actually get it back on track." And absolutely no animated gifs of the characters blinking, because that shit's creepy.

It would, of course, be necessary to continue to come up with patently ridiculous catchphrases and euphemisms for April and her peers.

Ideally, the people involved would be people who love -- really love -- For Better Or For Worse, but who can't stand seeing what's become of it in the name of wrapping it up in a nice big bow (and insuring that Liz Patterson is no career minded whore who marries someone she didn't go to elementary school with).

Who's in?

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 16, 2007 12:46 PM

Comments

Comment from: Bo Lindbergh [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 1:53 PM

I'll be the editor if someone can provide me with a digital copy of the complete archive.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 2:00 PM

A digital copy of the complete archive of a decades spanning syndicated strip?

What do you think this is? Garfield?

Comment from: The Right Reverend Wishlish [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 2:19 PM

I'll write it as long as:

1. I can have Liz explore polygamy.
2. John and Elly's marriage goes on the rocks when Elly realizes how obsessive John is with his trains.
3. April suddenly uncovers a repressed memory over Farley's death, leading to her Goth phase.
4. Anthony explores his bisexuality, to Liz's horror.
5. Liz's old boyfriend from up north comes back in a "Cape Fear" homage.

There's more...but I have to save something for the second month, right?

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 2:24 PM

Dude. Dude dude dude.

It's all about the slow build. We need eight months of Anthony getting caught looking at the guys at the community pool/swimming hole, and John focusing on constructing his new train layout in the basement. Meanwhile, April is babysitting when the kids want to play in the ravine where she almost died (and Farley did), and she gets increasingly neurotic right as Eva introduces her to a harsher sound....

...pacing, man.

Comment from: The Right Reverend Wishlish [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 2:35 PM

You're right, Eric, you're right. I keep forgetting that there's only four panels per strip.

I should have said "second year".

I also think we should take a look at the bookstore. I suspect that it'll get a big buyout offer from Walmart, maybe for four times what Elly sold it for. Ah, the conflict...

Don't forget the guest week crossover with Megatokyo.

Comment from: Benor [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 3:25 PM

Will the "homage" feature random, unnamed people, like a retail clerk or an insurance agent, who get to see a slice of the insanity and comment on it?

What I'm really asking is, will Mike (now from Shortpacked) appear to jump Anthony?

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 3:37 PM

"What do you think this is? Garfield?"

You couldn't have gone with Doonesbury on that? You had to jump straight to Garfield?

Comment from: Will "Scifantasy" Frank [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 3:55 PM

David Willis and Aerie might get into bare fisted combat at the opportunity.

Five bucks on Aerie, unless Willis's SO gets into the mix.

It's not an awful idea, Eric (inevitable copyright lawsuit notwithstanding, because you just know that there would be one). I might actually read that, and I never really paid attention to For Better.

Shaenon Garrity, if she isn't too busy, might deserve a place on the list too. After all, she wrote eloquently on the problems in the strip now--she fulfills the "loves the strip, can't stand what's been done" requirement.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 4:04 PM

Shaenon would rock on toast.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 4:11 PM

You couldn't have gone with Doonesbury on that? You had to jump straight to Garfield?

Doonesbury's archive is only available on Mycomicspage.com at twelve bucks a year.

Garfield's entire archive, from the very first day until today, honest to God if it was in the paper it's here, is available for free on garfield.com.

You can hate Garfield all you like. In the world of newspaper syndicates and long standing comic pages, they totally win at Internet.

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 4:39 PM

Guerrilla continuity. I like it.

I would totally read that. Heck, I'd donate to their legal fund after the inevitable lawsuit, then laugh as the judge ruled that they were in the right because there are just some things you don't do to a good story, dammit. Or even a crappy one.

Plus, Mr. Patterson thinking "Burnsauce" is the funniest thing ever.

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 4:46 PM

Guerrilla continuity. I like it.

I would totally read that. Heck, I'd donate to their legal fund after the inevitable lawsuit, then laugh as the judge ruled that they were in the right because there are just some things you don't do to a good story, dammit. Or even a crappy one.

Plus, Mr. Patterson thinking "Burnsauce" is the funniest thing ever.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 4:55 PM

It wouldn't garner a lawsuit, any more than Alan Moore's version of Supreme did. Because this wouldn't be For Better or For Worse starring Elly and John Patterson, their children Elizabeth "Liz" Patterson, Michael Patterson and April Patterson, plus all the rest and Dawn Wells.

This would be In Sickness and In Health, starring Lenore "Len" Peterson, Jack Peterson, Libby Peterson, Nick Peterson, and Avril Peterson, plus all the rest and Tina Louise.

You can't copyright ideas, just executions. File off enough serial numbers and it's entirely new and fresh.

Comment from: EsotericWombat [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 5:25 PM

If it's to be a cabal, I'm in.

Comment from: Kade [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 6:43 PM

Hmmm, yes, now that you mention it I've really gotten tired of Penny Arcade's work as well. We should make "BETTAR TAHN PENNY ARCAEDE" and just copy and paste their artwork to form the comics.

Or Megatokyo. Screw Fred Gallagher, lets invite Rodney Caston on board and we'll just start churning out one fourth-wall breaking gag after another.

And I can't forget PVP. That totally needs to go back to video game joke-a-day format instead of these constant dramafests.

What kind of pretension is it to cause this sort of a post? What makes you think you're at all entitled to even propose something like this? Because you love the characters? Where were you when this guy was just starting out? Did you pay his rent? Did you buy shares in his LLP? You've turned in a complete 180 degrees from when you wrote about fans and a sense of entitlement. Now you're the jackass with the thumb up his ass talking as if he created the damn thing. And now look at you, proposing intellectual property plagiarism. Oh sure, you want to change the names a tad, and the title, but nobody's fooled.

You people, and especially you Burns, sicken me. You're like a bunch of neurotic Harry Potter fans who want to write a Mary Sue fanfiction because they didn't like how the series ended, powered by nothing but your own smug self-satisfaction.

Comment from: PerfessorEvil [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 6:48 PM

(grabs popcorn, asbestos undies, settles down to watch)

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 16, 2007 7:44 PM

Hm.

Yeah, pretty much.

But it's not entitlement. Is it presumption? Absolutely. And I own that presumption. But entitlement would be demanding that For Better or For Worse change to reflect what we want.

It won't, and more to the point it shouldn't. I entirely respect Lynn Johnston's decisions to go down whatever path she chooses to, even if I think the results are hollow compared to what she used to produce.

As for Intellectual Property Plagiarism? As God is my witness I don't know what that means. I know what Copyright Infringement means, because that involves taking IP you don't own and using it. I know what Plagiarism means -- that's taking someone else's words and passing them off as your own. But "Intellectual Property Plagiarism?"

The words you're actually looking for, for the record, is "ripping off." Which is true enough.

Where were you when this guy was just starting out? Did you pay his rent? Did you buy shares in his LLP?

Lynn Johnston's not a "he" of any sort, so's you know.

As for:

You people, and especially you Burns, sicken me. You're like a bunch of neurotic Harry Potter fans who want to write a Mary Sue fanfiction because they didn't like how the series ended, powered by nothing but your own smug self-satisfaction.

I don't know if we would get a Mary Sue out of it (I'm not sure where one would fit in -- maybe a Marty Stu with an even bosser mustache?) but yeah, that's actually exactly what I'm suggesting here. I'm suggesting that I am finding the ending and semifreeze of For Better and For Worse unsatisfactory, and I'm proposing I/others like me write a fanfiction to continue it. So, I don't think there's anything "like" about it, except that we're not discussing Harry Potter.

If you feel that fanfiction is inherently wrong, bad and disrespectful, then that's how you feel and I understand. I don't feel that way. I certainly don't feel that someone who writes "Harry Potter Fanfiction because he didn't like how the series ended" is doing anything wrong. Though I acknowledge such fan fiction is in a legal grey area, which is why I proposed filing the serial numbers off while making it clear where the source material is coming from.

None of which -- none of which -- should imply Lynn Johnston owes me or anyone else a tinker's damn. She doesn't. She certainly doesn't "owe" anyone any ending to her series than the one she wants to give.

I'm interested in why this provokes such a visceral reaction on your part, but I acknowledge it regardless.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 1:32 PM

Part of the problem is that Lynn's been writing bad FBOFW fanfic for a few years now.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 4:12 PM

Man, you say "fanfic" like it's a bad thing.

Fanfic has existed since man first started telling stories. If you want to get into it, Tristan and Isolde working their way into the King Arthur and the Round Table stories is the first crossover 'fic. Or at least the earliest example of it that I can think of (since I fully expect someone to throw out an ancient Greek example, an ancient Chinese example, until we go back to Eve elaborating on a story Adam told).

I'd love to see this happen. Heck, I'd throw out a few storylines, like what happens when Libby Peterson's cat starts discovering the various wildlife around the house and there's a rabies scare. Or maybe the marital problems that develop as Nick's wife Donna feels increasingly ignored as Nick's career takes off.

My biggest hope is a huge storyline where it's revealed that Andrew, Libby's first boyfriend newly divorced, has a severe drug problem. This is why he always looked all haggard and grew that hideous moustache (to hide some of the signs of his addiction). It turns out that his wife, Elena (with accent mark as appropriate) divorced him because his problem was getting too much to bear. Upon discovery of this, Libby breaks up with him, and he hits rock bottom. On a journey of self-discovery, he discovers how much his addiction hurt Elena, and he reconciles with her. He even melts his old moustache trimmer to symbolically show that part of his life is behind him.

And for the record, we all know Aerie would take out Willis without a problem. As Randy showed in Something Positive, she took out a bear once. I'm not messing with a woman who can take out a bear.

Comment from: Carina [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 4:19 PM

I'd volunteer as one of the artist. Seriously.

Can't do five pages a week, but two b&w four panel strips in a simple style should be do-able. XD

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 4:32 PM

32: I cite The Argonautica.

I won't volunteer for the project, though, because I don't care. I understand, mind, but FBOFW isn't one of my fandoms.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 4:42 PM

I should have been clearer: I cite The Argonautica as the first crossover. The first fanfiction still extant? Does anyone believe that Homer invented the characters and overall plot of The Iliad? He must have been at a mythology con, all those bards sitting around in their pointed Pan ears, and said to his pals, "You know, I oughta write the definitive Achilles/Patroclus slash."

Comment from: LurkerWithout [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 8:01 PM

Or Megatokyo. Screw Fred Gallagher, lets invite Rodney Caston on board and we'll just start churning out one fourth-wall breaking gag after another.

I would totally read Caston's UltimateKyoto...

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 10:41 PM

Kade, some of us have been paying "his" rent for nearly thirty years now. She's now gone off in this bizarre direction that no one likes. That's cool, Lynn's entirely too old and wizened to care what anyone else thinks. It's here baby, she can do with it what we want. WE, however, as an audience, do not have to keep reading her. SHE is not ENTITLED to US. If we decide to go on and create new comics in the same feeling as her early work, that just shows how much we have loved what she has done through the years.

Eric, do you have links to Aere's and Shannon's critiques of the new direction?

Paul, if you want to talk about grabbing someone else's characters, why not jump back to the Romans taking ownership of the Greek's gods and heroes? Better yet the Babylonians taking the Sumerians. I'd say the first case of assimilating someone else's characters would be when some guy writing an epic to his late king Gilgimesh found some dusty old Sumerian character named Ziasudra and renamed him Utnapishtim (those silly Isrealites would then take his story and ascribe it a character named Noah, for those of you not familiar with these fellows).

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 10:44 PM

Typo-'splosion, wow. Take two -- "It's her baby, she can do with it what she wants."

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 11:06 PM

32: No, I say "bad fanfic" like it's a bad thing. :)

Comment from: Doug Wykstra [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 17, 2007 11:18 PM

Waitwaitwait...

April is pregnant?

Wow, I really haven't been reading FBOFW enough. Oh, and I second the request for Aerie's and Shaenon's thoughts on Lynn Johnson's new direction.

And aside from everything else, I find it incredibly depressing that Jim is going to be spending eternity in a state where his body is incapable of forming the actions his brain wants to express. Maybe Johnson will have some mercy and kill him off first.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 18, 2007 12:37 AM

I should have made that comment more clear - I was addressing Kade with my comment about fanfic, not you Dave.

And while I hadn't thought of the last two years of FBOFW that way, I have to agree with your assessment. It will now be lovingly stolen and presented to my friends as an original thought.

I'm not so sure where the "April is pregnant" thing is coming from. Though I'm hoping it's true. Wouldn't that be a hilarious thing to have happen right as the time freeze goes forth? April, stuck in having morning sickness in perpetuity? It much describes what Johnston's former fans have felt like the last two years.

Comment from: Thomas Blight [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 18, 2007 1:31 AM

I have nothing to add, except to say this would be an awesome idea, and also to say Oh SNAP! to 32's comment. That is a wicked burn.

Comment from: cyco [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 18, 2007 2:26 PM

Just wanted to point out that it's "Aeire", not "Aerie." Sorry, but it was bothering me :)

Comment from: Kisc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 18, 2007 8:15 PM

I've never enjoyed FBOFW myself.

I didn't even notice when Randy changed Something Positive, for example, but I think SP is way better than FBOFW.

But I would drop WWE PPV money for Wilis v Aeire.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 18, 2007 9:08 PM

Man, you say "fanfic" like it's a bad thing.
Why not? We say "Cancerous growth" like it's a bad thing as well.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 12:53 AM

By the way...

But it's not entitlement.

I completely disagree

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 1:13 AM

Well, if you think all fanfic is bad, William, I don't suppose there's much I could offer to dissuade you on that point - what I might find good, you might not (and vice-versa - it wouldn't surprise me that the one fic that would change your mind is something I despise).

But while I grant that the ruck and run of fanfic is bad, it's no more prone to being bad than any other medium. There's good fanfic out there, no matter what some might believe.

Also... as for your blog post... I can see your point, but I think it's off-base because ultimately, it isn't stealing her characters. She still controls them, and all people talk about are just reflections of that. It's no more theft than parody, homage, or satire. In fact, what Eric proposes is a bit of all three. It wouldn't surprise me to see you disagree - vehemently - with that sentiment, but I think it's a fair one.

Comment from: EsotericWombat [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 4:21 AM

crossover-fic goes back further than King Arthur. Just about every Greek epic used characters from others. Take Oedipus' appearance in The Odyssey.

What I'd like to see, knowing full well that it wouldn't help here, is a GPL that deals with continuity. So an author grant the right to use characters and titles on the condition that it not be for profit and it follows a few guidelines. Of course Lynn wouldn't agree to that.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 7:57 AM

because ultimately, it isn't stealing her characters
That's not true at all. Eric's idea called for someone to take the ideas, stories and characters of FBOFW and make a version of it a certain segment of readers wanted to see. And changing April to Avril won't erase that it is Johnston's character that is being taken and re-written.

If Eric had said, "I wanna see something LIKE this comic, following the same themes and methods" I'd be down with that. But he didn't, and those of you who are behind the idea didn't either.

Take Oedipus' appearance in The Odyssey.
Aside from the idea that these tales of gods were essentially "public domain"...

Image someone saying, "Hey Aeschylus. Killer trio of plays, that Oresteia. But I don't like how it winds up. In fact, I think it sucks dick like a Spartan rite of passage. How about you change it? No? Okay then... I'm just going to take The Eumenides, change the ending so Orestes makes naked man-love to Apollo. Don't worry though, I'm going to change their names to Alltestes and Rampollo so no one will be confused. Kthanksbye!"

Even back then, I doubt the idea would fly.

Long and short: The idea is a bad bit of fannish selfishness.

Comment from: Cullen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 8:32 AM

William_G: Horse shit.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a big fan of either this idea or of fan fiction in general. But for the love of God, writers have been doing stuff like this for centuries.

For instance, take that fannish hack Shakespeare. Many of his plays were ripped off wholesale from other writers of his day, rewritten to his liking. His historical routinely changed history to suit the story. Now maybe you don't agree, but some people think that one or two of them might last a few years.

Hell, people have been doing that to him ever since his plays hit the stage. Do you know how many rewritings and reworkings of his stuff are out there? Some of it even bearing his name?

On this, no one's stopping Johnston from ever picking up her story from where she left off, or from her to give it to some other writer if she desires. None of this will cost her a cent in the long run. In fact, it might send people her way to see what the noise is about. People may well think her stuff is better.

Let me reiterate: I don't like this idea at all. I think that, if there needs to be a response to Johnston's failings as a story teller (if they are failings), it should be done with a work a little more original than what's being proposed here. I also think that people who write fan fiction (if they're good at their craft) are wasting time that could be spent creating their own worlds and characters.

But when they aren't demanding money for their efforts or demanding that people read their version and not the original, that's not being selfish. At all.

Comment from: RKMilholland [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 9:51 AM

It seems like a lot of energy wasted for fans to have their cake and eat it, too. And also a bit of a slap in the face of Johnston, whom all these fans supposedly like the work of (but instead contantly complain about). You're basically telling a cartoonist, "You don't deserve control of what you've created. I'm taking it from you so fuck off."

It's like when a reader sent me a 20 page treatment of how to "save" Something Positive since Davan had become "mean" since Branwen entered the comic.

I personally think a far better idea is to take the spirit of the For Better of For Worse everyone DID like and create a completely NEW strip with that spirit - and let it evolve as it needs to.

But I don't read For Better or For Worse and always thought it was a piss-poor strip - and frankly feel ill having defended her, even in the slightest.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 11:14 AM

I could give you that people would be adapting the characters and a chunk of ideas from Johnston, William. But stealing the stories? I believe the point of this is to do completely different stories than Johnston, who has been upsetting her fans for a while now.

Maybe it's a bit easier for me to say all this. I used to be a fan of FBOFW, but at this point, I only read it just to have context with which to laugh at the rantings of the people who don't like it. I'd probably start reading Mallard Fillmore if I could find people rant about that in an entertaining fashion. It's much like sitting through a bad movie to appreciate Mike/Joel and the 'bots making fun of it. To me, this idea comes off as the most detailed rant involving the most effort that one could come up with, so that's why I'd read it. This isn't to say I'd keep up with it, but I'd at least be in the original audience.

As for Randy's idea, that someone create a strip in the spirit of FBOFW... well, plenty of webcomics already do try that. Heck, I find it entertaining that he suggested this when you could argue that Something Positive is an R-rated version of that. A slice-of-life strip involving people the author knows in real life mixed with a few pastiches and original creations, showing both the ups and downs of life while ultimately showing the closeness and togetherness of the people you depend on most (be they friends or family)? I'm not saying there aren't differences, but in terms of the spirit, it's the one comic I read that's closest to FBOFW in spirit.

Anyhow, it does beg the question as to how much work do you have to put into making your work different from FBOFW to go to the point where you wouldn't hear objections like the ones William and Randy offer. I mean, does the Lord Of The Rings get a pass for J.R.R. Tolkein trying to better Shakespeare by showing where Shakespeare "copped out" while writing Macbeth? Do you nail every webcomic artist who copies a formula used by another artist but uses a much different cast (and jokes) than the original? Given how many comics I've seen slammed as a "Penny Arcade" or "Sluggy Freelance" clone, the answer to that one is probably yes. But anyhow, what's the baseline? What amount of work needs to be done so that you get a work sufficiently "original" that the creator shouldn't be called out for copying?

Comment from: Carina [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Dunno, you've always get yelled at for copying, no matter how original you think your work is. I know how often I've been excused for copying works I've never even heard off. We live in interesting times, and the "you have a blue skinned alien, *I* have a blue skinned alien, that means you're a copying BASTARD" is common enough. (Insert the cusswords and flames appropiate for the more foulmouthed part of the population.)

As for the For Better or For worse clone: If there's some serious writing behind it, it'll take a month, maximal six, and you've got a pretty unique work, which has FBOFW as it's roots, nothing more.

Even more: Such a comic can't survive without moving from that kind of roots, storywise. So if it's an honest effort and not - how described above - an elaborate rant, it HAS to grow into it's own style, just to survive.

Remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? They started out as copy and parody of (back then) famous super hero comic too, and moved on and beyound as what it was intended. That's normal. Eventually the story takes over (given a good writer). I don't think it's much to worry about, as long one doesn't run into things like "copyright infringment".

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 12:23 PM

A very very very slight reminder to folks to argue their positions and not personalities (one or two people didn't tred over the line in responses to, say, William, but tred near enough that I figure it can't hurt to make mention).

Comment from: Cullen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 1:02 PM

I hope it wasn't me doing the near treading. I wasn't meaning to go anywhere close to the line, but functioning on little sleep might've made my judgment off

Comment from: Johnny Catbird [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 5:11 PM

I know I'm late to the party (really late), but can someone point me to a summary of where the FBOFW vitriol is coming from? From what I've gathered, the past couple of years have produced storylines that are considered sub-par to what has traditionally appeared in the comic. There are also some liberties being taken with the characters that people are objecting to as well. I never was a huge fan of Johnston's, so this backlash seems to be coming from nowhere. The most superficial searches have yielded nothing more than what I just posted, so any background to this would be appreciated.

I just hate feeling like I'm out of the loop.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 6:56 PM

Well, I actually stopped reading FBOFW for a few years, and only picked it back up on the theory that the outrage would be much more entertaining with some level of background.

From what I gather, the problem is that Lynn Johnston has been pushing for a particular viewpoint that is shared by very little of her fanbase. Namely, that the best person for you to end up with is your childhood sweetheart. Also, that the profession that suits you best is the one you talked about doing when you were little (although people don't snipe as much at that one).

It first started raising some eyebrows when Mike met his childhood sweetheart for the first time in a decade or so when she was in a serious car accident. There were some people who raised questions about that, but it could have been handled worse, even with him falling in love with her for... healing in the hospital, I suppose. Perhaps the most blatant she got there was that Deanna's mother was presented as an absolute, soul-crushing harpy because she was a strawman for those that didn't necessarily see things Johnston's way in terms of family relations and weddings.

It's much mroe blatant with Liz, because Johnston seems to be pushing Liz towards ending up with her childhood sweetheart, despite the fact that he seems like the biggest loser one could possibly find. If you want to get more info on that, I highly recommend doing a Google search with "For Better Or For Worse" and "moustache". You'll get a much better discussion of it than I can give here.

I think the biggest complaint ultimately stems from the fact that Johnston is obviously pushing one particular viewpoint when it seems counter-intuitive based on the actual characters she's presenting.

Also, lest we forget, the eyes that blink on the web version are so creepy that even her most dedicated fans can't come up with an argument in support of them.

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 9:16 PM

Johnson had me and she lost me. Let FBoFW rest in pieces, Eric. There are far better things to do with our time and efforts, far better characters to run with, and far better stories to be told.

What you're doing is offering an illusion, a mirage, instead of letting people move on and finding something better and more interesting. Fanfics are only echoes. It's when the fic writer goes on and writes stories of their own characters and own settings that they start meaning anything.

Rob H., Tangents Webcomic Reviews

Comment from: EsotericWombat [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 10:07 PM

William: There isn't a copyright issue here, just as there wasn't one then.

You know, I wouldn't be surprised to hear if had that happened. It's not like there's a record of every Greek play.

The classic plays get messed with all the time. I myself have been involved in a production of Medea that eschewed the "being rewarded by Zeus for killing your children" ending, Macbeth with six players and entire scenes rewritten as in-character monologues to duck around the missing characters (including a re-working of the Hecate monologue, which was widely believed to have been added by Thomas Middleton because audiences loved the witch scenes so much), and Julius Caeser set in fascist Italy.

Randy: I see your point. As far as I'm concerned, the reason to do this is to not let the story die at a frayed end. Taking things in any kind of a different direction is secondary.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 19, 2007 10:40 PM

You're basically telling a cartoonist, "You don't deserve control of what you've created. I'm taking it from you so fuck off."
If you guys won't listen to me, then listen to Randy. Absolutely correct.

Comment from: EsotericWombat [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 1:26 AM

It's a valid point. And I would be opposed to anything being done to contradict anything that Lynn continues to do with the strip. That would absolutely be a "fuck you" to her. But what's ungracious about a group of storytellers telling a story that someone else doesn't want to tell anymore?

Comment from: RKMilholland [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 6:13 AM

"But what's ungracious about a group of storytellers telling a story that someone else doesn't want to tell anymore?"

Well, you're using her story, her characters, and her IP to tell a story she doesn't believe in or whose values she doesn't hold because you liked her storytelling enough to read it, but not enough to think she was competent enough to end it "right" or know the voice of the characters she created.

That's pretty far from gacious.

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 6:33 AM

Honestly. Listen to Randy and William G. They know what they're talking about. It's one thing to do a quick parody strip on lieu with what T Campbell and the like did in an attempt to try and warn Johnson to wake up and smell the burnt coffee... or of Willis and his ilk with the parodies ridiculing what Johnson has wrought. This though... is wrong.

It's like someone taking Opus and the crew and continuing the adventures of Bloom County online (without Breathed's permission) because they hated Outland and Opus. It's theft. Pure and simple.

Rob H.

Comment from: Carina [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 8:20 AM

So I gather there are at least two different understandings about what exactly Eric proposed: One, that Eric proposed to take FBOFW, rename the characters, and stay otherwise exactly the same. And second, do a strip in the spirit of FBOFW, with a mirror of the current situation as starting point; but otherwise independant, kinda like the classical "inspired by ...".

Those who tend to be upset see the first option, and that what causes the screams of "Theft." That kinda takes me with surprise, because I honestly thought Version 2 was the one proposed.

Hm. Maybe I'm just way to idealistic. Option one didn't cross my mind to begin with. XD I agree that that one is rather tasteless.

But option 2 still sounds fine IMHO. Art and Literature would be very... drab today if we couldn't adapt other people's work anymore.

Comment from: Jason [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 10:01 AM

Those who tend to be upset see the first option, and that what causes the screams of "Theft." That kinda takes me with surprise, because I honestly thought Version 2 was the one proposed.

Well, when Eric makes liberal use of "filing off the serial numbers" as a metaphor, I think you're about the only person here who thinks Option 2 was what he meant.

Option 1 would be a good idea, if it was what was being discussed. What they're talking about here is just run-of-the-mill fanfiction: The author did something I didn't like, or didn't do something I wanted, so now I'm going to put words in the characters' mouths. Because dammit, if she'd done it right the first time, I wouldn't have to!

I'm actually going to defend people's rights to create fanfic -- as has been said it's as old as civilization itself. But everybody pretending there's some noble goal here instead of self-gratification needs to stop lying to everyone else, and possibly themselves.

To do this right, and I mean right, you need to rewind to a point before the time-freeze. Before Elizabeth dragged herself kicking and screaming back home. Before Anthony grew a moustache. Before Michael started macking on some chick in the hospital. Before Elly decided her lot in life was to squirt out kids.

In other words, start it with a woman deciding whether to have a family or a career. Or, since this is 2007 and not 1977, maybe she decides to do both; doing freelance work from home part-time while the kids are young. And let it roll, one year per year.

As 32 said, that's kind of like what Randy does with S*P: Over the last 5+ years he's created characters that people can relate to and care about. Even the anti-social gaming geek who got thrown out of every group he was ever part of -- who now has a kid. Though I think Randy may be thinking of ending the comic's run sometime before 2030.

Would I read this FBOFW reset? Sure, if the writing's good enough. Can the writers do things that Johnston has done? Of course -- there's no cornering the market on having a boy and two girls, or wondering what comes next, or Very Special Episodes.

But I think you need to restart, not continue, if you ever want to have anything other than a cheap knock-off.

Comment from: Jason [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 10:05 AM

Bah. Spent all that time making sure I said what I wanted to say, and screwed up a number. The second paragraph should begin, "Option 2 would be a good idea...."

Comment from: Jennifer the Chaos Queen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 1:41 PM

I'm with Carina and Jason here. It can't be a blatant ripoff/rewrite of the strip anyway, or LJ will sue (I do not know the technical details of such and I really can't explain it, but from what I've seen happen to other spoof-comic posters, "parody doesn't exist in Canada" or something like that?). I would much rather see some kind of reset, with similar-yet-different characters that end up morphing as the plot requires. I'd love to see a reboot of Liz, since the whole forcing-her-with-Granthony thing has been the worst forced plotline of all.

One chick online (ellcee) writes "foefic", which frequently takes the characters and throws them into vastly different time periods. Maybe making that sort of change in addition to others would help to be less "OMG YOU STOLE IT", I don't know.

Btw, I posted a link to this to the LJ community binky_betsy, which discusses in great detail how badly the strip has gone downhill since about 2002. God knows, a lot of them would probably agree with this.

Comment from: Maritza Campos [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 5:41 PM

I simply don't think it is possible. Watching FBOFW now is painful, but it's like I have always said: FBOFW is Lynn's. If someone else does it, it's not FBOFW. It's her to destroy it if she wants. I have heard the same arguments about, say, George Lucas or J. K. Rowling, and they never fly for me. The most awesome fanfic is not more authentic than the most abysmally bad original story... as much as sometimes people would like to think otherwise.

Comment from: Maritza Campos [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 5:41 PM

I simply don't think it is possible. Watching FBOFW now is painful, but it's like I have always said: FBOFW is Lynn's. If someone else does it, it's not FBOFW. It's her to destroy it if she wants. I have heard the same arguments about, say, George Lucas or J. K. Rowling, and they never fly for me. The most awesome fanfic is not more authentic than the most abysmally bad original story... as much as sometimes people would like to think otherwise.

Comment from: Maritza Campos [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 5:41 PM

I simply don't think it is possible. Watching FBOFW now is painful, but it's like I have always said: FBOFW is Lynn's. If someone else does it, it's not FBOFW. It's her to destroy it if she wants. I have heard the same arguments about, say, George Lucas or J. K. Rowling, and they never fly for me. The most awesome fanfic is not more authentic than the most abysmally bad original story... as much as sometimes people would like to think otherwise.

Comment from: Maritza Campos [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 5:44 PM

Oops.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 7:45 PM

1) I agree with Randy and William (and I think Tangent)'s positions on this. You really can't remake the events to your liking. At the best, you can make stuff like some of the anime fanfics I've seen (and written) for a private mailing list. At worst, it's hentai stuff, with a naked April sandwiched between Gerald and some other kid from school.

I don't even think "taking the best spirits out of FBOFW" would be that good of an idea because then you're essentially saying, let's reinvent this genre. And that's a much easier thing to say than can be done.

2) And really the problem isn't just that the quality of Johnson's content has severely declined, it's seems to be really apparent she's pretty much mailing her strips in before she clocks out for good. I don't think she's even really trying. The Deus Ex Machina crappiness of the plots are just horrible.

3) Finally, I also think that Lynn Johnson isn't the worst comic strip writer out there at the present time. Funky Winkerbean isn't funny anymore. It's far worse off than FBOFW. Luann isn't that much better, and the creator has already shown he can allow his fans to vote on what would they like to see happen to Luann and do what he wants with her anyway. Many of the other serial comic strip drama are either stale or just recycling old plots they hope people won't remember about. I don't care about Gasoline Alley anymore. I don't care about a lot of these strips anymore.

In the end, the best thing we can do now is just to stop reading For Better or For Worse and let Johnson wonder why is readership down even so close to the end of the strip's run.

Comment from: Ununnilium [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 20, 2007 10:56 PM

I'm sorry, but I just don't get that there's something morally wrong with the very concept of fanfic. What's the difference between, say, that upcoming Star Trek prequel movie, starring none of the same cast, written, produced, directed, and otherwise made by completely different people, and a Star Trek fan movie? Nothing, except that people got paid for one of them.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 12:38 AM

Morals also have to do with permission. Paramount, for example, the company that making the movie owns the copyrights to Star Trek, and thus legally have permission to make Star Trek. Fanfic writing involves using their characters, which may or may not be copyrighted in making their own work. If you notice, a lot fanfics often will say at the beginning of the work something to the effect of "Such and such copyrighted and used without permission by this author. Please don't sue me!"

Let me put it this way, if you want to write a book about a Federation spaceship that has nothing to do with the Enterprise, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, but just the places, races, and create your own series about it, you'd probably would still need Paramounts approval to write it, even if you weren't going to sell it.

Comment from: EsotericWombat [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 3:01 AM

Randy: No one here has said that she's incompetent to end it right. But the whole reason she's ending it in the first plays is because she believes she's incompetent to tell it anymore. Not in those words of course. Let me see if I can dig up the quote...

from this article

"I have to admit that I'm not in a place where I can do this," Johnston says. "I'm past the point where I can remember what it's like to be a young mother."

The only thing I would support is a continuation of the story that's faithful to Johnston's work at her best.

that said however, I don't think I'd follow through with anything like this without first writing a letter to Lynn Johnston. Which isn't to say I think it's necessary wrong-- I tend to agree with Eric as to whether or not a lawsuit would come of it-- I guess it's a question of whether or not this can be considered the same as just about any other fanfiction. And I'm uncertain, now that I think of it. I'm vehemently opposed to the notion that fanfiction itself is a fuck you to the creator, which I don't think you're saying, but it seems to have been suggested here.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 7:15 AM

Morals also have to do with permission.

Henry Jenkins, director of media studies at MIT, has written, "Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations instead of owned by the folk."

The hiccup in morality here, compared to human history up until relatively recently, isn't that I in writing fanfiction behave as if I owned the original stories. It's that stories are legally owned.

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 9:19 AM

Henry Jenkins, director of media studies at MIT, has written, "Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations instead of owned by the folk."

The hiccup in morality here, compared to human history up until relatively recently, isn't that I in writing fanfiction behave as if I owned the original stories. It's that stories are legally owned.

Well said. It's also worth noting that "relatively recently" basically means "after Mickey Mouse". Look at how many of the great works from the turn of the century - Sherlock Holmes and HP Lovecraft come to mind - have spawned countless "spin-offs" ranging from simple retellings to vast re-imaginings, which have expanded the scope and influence of these works beyond anything their original authors could ever have hoped to achieve. Could Neil Gaiman have written A Study in Emerald if these stories were still under copyright? And there's dozens of other examples - Hellboy and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen come to mind, as does virtually every Disney movie ever, but they're not alone.

Saying "It's LJ's story" or "It's LJ's IP" takes an overly simplistic view of ownership. Would you still say the same thing even after (well, honestly, in the modern age, it's more like if) her copyrights expired? If so, I don't share that view of authorial ownership. It's LJ's story, but that doesn't mean that she has complete control over it forever, nor should it.

Comment from: Gina D [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 9:30 AM

Art isn't about morality, anyway. Art has always been needed to be transgressive sometimes to address what it needed to say.

That's recognized in law to an extent when it talks about parodies. But the law is a commercial, not moral instrument in the case of copyright. IP's about money, not feelings.

In another webcomic recently, points are being made about how characters and stories are created by human beings, but they become more than that through being appreciated by an audience. Even though that almost always involves the audience doing things that horrify the creator(s) - rightfully so - the process of creation and art is not done by a creator alone.

It's only human for authors to want to keep others from changing their creations. But it's not really possible or desirable as an absolute, and it's not an ultimate moral imperative. It's consideration for human feelings, something that is in natural opposition at many times to the creation of art. And at that point the competing goals of a creator determine their actions.

Fanfic is art that in many cases transgresses the emotions of the creators, and the boundaries of the law, and creates things that are just as much art and just as moral as any other art. Permission isn't required, or you get to the "soviet realism" sort of censorship-art that is itself immoral in its reduction of art to propaganda. In many cases the transgression of permission boundaries seems to enable fanfic artists to pass other personal boundaries and expose areas of human nature and impulse that you see written so rawly almost nowhere else (not even most pornography or erotica, which has its own boundaries most of the time on the side of dehumanization).

That it's about self-gratification? If so, it wouldn't find an audience; if the only person gratified were the fanfic writer herself.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 3:07 PM

It looks like the debate is steering towards a discussion of when does it become acceptable to work with another author's work? Is it when the author basically stops their own work (which is how some people are treating the upcoming FBOFW time freeze)? Is it after so many years of the work having ended? Is it ever?

Part of it, of course, is that some creators are much more protective of their creations than others (I've seen some pretty much beg others to write fanfic for them, and then there are others who'd threaten to sue at the mere thought of fanfiction). Part of it is, of course, the quality of the work done (you can get away with an awful lot simply by being really, really good at it). And part is individual perception, as always.

The responses here are instructive. It might be the kind of project that'd have to wait a couple of years, so that people could feel comfortable in saying "Yup, FBOFW has ended." It's also the kind of project where whoever is doing it has to hit a home run with it, because even a stand-up triple will get them raked over the coals (like I should be for mixing metaphors - I strangely never get mocked for that). And even then, there will be criticism.

Well, I suppose whichever way people go with it, I hope it gives me entertainment. That's all I've ever been in it for, and if nothing else I've been up front about that.

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 21, 2007 4:56 PM

It looks like the debate is steering towards a discussion of when does it become acceptable to work with another author's work? Is it when the author basically stops their own work (which is how some people are treating the upcoming FBOFW time freeze)? Is it after so many years of the work having ended? Is it ever?

At most 14 years.

You can't argue with it. It's Science! ;)

Comment from: Jason [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 22, 2007 11:27 AM

M-m-m-multi-quote!

That it's about self-gratification? If so, it wouldn't find an audience; if the only person gratified were the fanfic writer herself.

From what I've seen (which I'll admit isn't much) that seems to be about it. That and literary circle-jerks where everyone sits around praising everyone else's fanfic to each other.

Again, I'm not saying it can't or shouldn't be done -- I wrote a particularly crappy bit of Trek fanfiction freshman year that I'm glad to have (mostly) forgotten about. No Mary Sue-ism, or anything like that; it just stank on ice. But I don't pretend that my drek was entertainment to anyone other than myself or the other people on that Usenet group.

Morals also have to do with permission.

To a degree, yes. The original Star Trek novels, in my opinion, basically amounted to fanfics that Paramount liked and allowed to be published. I do tend to look more favorably on a project that has the original artist's permission to proceed, if for no other reason than the fact that the characters are slightly more likely to stay true to the original intents.

The responses here are instructive. It might be the kind of project that'd have to wait a couple of years, so that people could feel comfortable in saying "Yup, FBOFW has ended."

Also true. Waiting a little while would seem less... petulant than starting right now. Given some of the other responses to this snark, I'd say that beginning the project now would swing things too far in the other direction -- people would be taking their anger/disappointment at Johnston out on the characters they're trying to keep alive.

Waiting a couple years (or even a couple months) would give people time to settle down and write a story instead of a series of four-panel reactions to the original author's (mis-)management of the end of the series.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 22, 2007 11:59 AM

Also true. Waiting a little while would seem less... petulant than starting right now. Given some of the other responses to this snark, I'd say that beginning the project now would swing things too far in the other direction -- people would be taking their anger/disappointment at Johnston out on the characters they're trying to keep alive.

In this, actually, I agree. There would need to be time spent letting things settle down before anything really productive could be done.

Really, a lot of the comments above hit home. One that in particular resonated was the discussion/debate over "starting from base premeses" versus "picking up where Johnston left off." I have to wonder if both can't be effectively done -- wait until the end/semifreeze happens, then take some time getting used to the situation as it stands, then launching with that as a starting premise. (Whatever it might be.)

Comment from: The Right Reverend Wishlish [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 22, 2007 1:17 PM

A few thoughts:

1. Man, some people have a lot of free time.

2. What if someone, y'know, ASKED Lynn Johnston if something like this could happen? Something where the characters were more nudge-nudge than blatant copies of her characters.

3. Did anyone notice today's strip? We're getting some background in the Anthony/Therese relationship. What if all this is a swerve? What if...Therese asks Anthony back? And what if Anthony accepts? Remember, it's the "wise friend" who's trying to throw some caution on the Liz/Anthony passion pyre. Could be interesting- Liz is left devastated by Anthony's betrayal after years of foreshadowing that Anthony is the one for her. Now that would be some storytelling.

Comment from: Mr Myth [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 22, 2007 2:46 PM

One of the things that this discussion (and the most recent strips in FBoFW itself) has made me consider is whether the biggest gripe is the direction the strip has gone in the last few years or whether it is how effectively it was taken down that road.

There has been a lot of concern over Liz giving up her independent life and returning to her 'proper' place with her family - but there has been even more anger over the figure of Anthony himself. And it leaves me wondering - if Lynn had managed to genuinely portray Anthony as a sympathetic figure, and had actually sold the reader on his connection to Liz, would the outrage have reached this level?

It isn't completely pertinent to the discussion at hand, but I think finding an answer to that might help reveal what 'bringing it back to its true roots' really means.

In any case, setting that aside - my personal feelings echo those of William and Randy. It seems unnecessary to try and recreate an idealized version of FBoFW in an attempt to "fix" Lynn's mistakes - rather than create a new strip infused with the spirit the fans want to celebrate. An homage to what the strip once meant, rather than an exercise in indulgence.

Comment from: Lewis Powell [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 22, 2007 8:34 PM

"In any case, setting that aside - my personal feelings echo those of William and Randy. It seems unnecessary to try and recreate an idealized version of FBoFW in an attempt to "fix" Lynn's mistakes - rather than create a new strip infused with the spirit the fans want to celebrate. An homage to what the strip once meant, rather than an exercise in indulgence."

I don't understand this. If people have become invested in and grown to care about these characters, then what is wrong with wanting to tell a story about them? While the basic idea behind the strip may have played a large role in its ability to get people invested and caring, generally, people don't become attached to the format, but to the characters. To use the McCloudian nomenclature, the passion of your readers is (largely) going to come from the animistic aspects of the work. The characters and their relationships and histories. Now, letting your characters age and suchlike may be crucial to tapping in to that animism, but the primary emotional connection is between the readers and the characters. No one loves the characters of the hypothetical FBoFW-Style (but not cloned) comic, at least not yet. No one cares about the trials and successes of some hypothetical family. Now, obviously, if people wanted to create a new strip and get fans to fall in love with that family from the start, that's fantastic. But its a totally different project than "what-if"ing the characters you already know and care about.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 23, 2007 9:52 AM

The element of writing fanfiction that is least understood by the Why don't you just create your own characters? school of detractors is that it's the loved characters which provide the inspiration.

Melville was inspired by whaling. Graves was inspired by history. White was inspired by Le Morte d'Arthur. Eric is inspired by mythology, superheroes and science fiction. I am inspired by the Doctor, Captain Kirk, and Buffy Summers.

When I started Arthur, King of Time and Space (which may or may not constitute creating my own characters when Arthur commands a starship and Merlin has a time machine), I had already been uploading daily Doctor Who crossover cartoons to the web for five years. And I haven't stopped them since AKOTAS - for daily updates from me you have to go to AKOTAS, but much of my most (and least) inspired humor and pathos can't be migrated there because it's just too character-specific.

What do you write about? You couldn't, and wouldn't, stop - or switch to a different subject or genre - just because your family and friends didn't understand, could you? Perhaps you've even tried, and found it wouldn't work? That's because this is something you're passionate about, isn't it?

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 25, 2007 12:48 AM

If people have become invested in and grown to care about these characters, then what is wrong with wanting to tell a story about them?
Because the characters don't belong to them. Obvious, non?

Comment from: Ununnilium [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 25, 2007 5:27 AM

Lewis said what I wanted to say but didn't have the words for.

William: Some people disagree with the idea that legal ownership implies total control of all possible intellectual property rights. Oddly enough, they're allowed to think this way.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 25, 2007 10:57 AM

William: There are many fanfiction writers to whom it is not obvious that fanfiction isn't fair use, and some of us are lawyers.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 26, 2007 1:21 PM

Yeah, no lawyer has ever been wrong.

Where's an eye-rolling emoticon when you need one?

Comment from: Factitious [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 26, 2007 7:08 PM

Of course lawyers can be wrong. What's more, so can non-lawyers who speculate about the law, even when they try to present their speculations as being obvious fact. If we're really interested in whether a particular FBOFW-inspired project is infringement or not, the way to find out would be to have it actually go to court. Even then, the answer would heavily depend on where it goes to court, who hears the case, how much various parties are willing to pay, &c.

None of which has much to do with whether there's anything wrong with telling a story about these characters, of course. Can we drop this "hey, listen to my pet interpretation of copyright law" tangent?

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 26, 2007 8:50 PM

Look. Sometimes there comes a time when a story is just not worth reading any longer. You then put the story aside and read something else. FBoFW is such a story. It has ceased to be worth reading. But there are many other comics out there that are worth reading. There are many other stories out there worth telling.

Why waste our time retconning something no longer worth reading? Nostalgia? When there's so much out there that is far better to read?

I will admit that FBoFW strongly shaped my comic reading. To this day I prefer story-comics over gag-a-day strips. And you know something? Megatokyo, Clan of the Cats, Inverloch... these are stories that are better than FBoFW (just to list off a bare few, and your own opinions will obviously vary). So. Let's move on.

Lynn? You had me. And you lost me. Thank you for what you did in the past... but I'm not going to look back. What you've done in the present with your comic... isn't something I want to read. Not when there are thousands of better comics out there.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews
http://www.tangents.us

Comment from: Lewis Powell [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 27, 2007 11:20 PM

"Yeah, no lawyer has ever been wrong.
Where's an eye-rolling emoticon when you need one?"

William, forgive me if I am misinterpreting your post, but, are you trying to start a fight or an argument or something?

There is no conceivable way that Paul or anyone else you might have been responding to was saying that lawyers are never wrong.

Paul's point was that there are lawyers who, even given their knowledge of the law, would maintain that fan fiction qualifies as fair use.

Now I don't particularly care about the legal specifics, as I am talking about the underlying facts/rights that would justify or ground the protections of copyright law, but if you are going to engage with someone, could you at least have the courtesy to make half an attempt to understand their point before throwing out a patently absurd objection and indicating that their point was without merit?

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 30, 2007 9:34 AM

The point was without merit. You guys are continuing to argue in defense of a stupid, insulting to the artist, selfish, dripping in entitlement idea.

This is not fan-fic. This is pirating someone else's idea and trying to recast it with your own ideas. How you guys can continue to come in support of something that utterly pig ignorant while claiming to be fans of the artist is beyond me. Not a single one of you have a right to even consider going through with this idea.

So yes, all of your arguments are completely without merit. It's been without merit since word one.

I feel your viewpoints on this matter are fundamentally flawed and without value. Got it now?

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 30, 2007 9:41 AM

The point was without merit. The entire concept has been without merit since the first word. You guys are continuing to argue in defense of a stupid, insulting to the artist, selfish, dripping in entitlement idea.

This is not fan-fic. This is pirating someone else's idea and trying to recast it with your own ideas. How you guys can continue to come in support of something that utterly pig ignorant while claiming to be fans of the artist is beyond me. Not a single one of you have a right to even consider going through with this idea.

I feel the viewpoints in support of this matter are fundamentally flawed and without value. I've only been nice about it as I have thus far because I mistakenly believed that I may have been able to talk sense to some of you. I see I was wrong now. You'll continue to obfuscate the issue until you've managed to work out all of the kinks in the justification...

Comment from: William S. [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 1, 2007 12:22 PM

"""This is pirating someone else's idea and trying to recast it with your own ideas."""
Ideas are not property. Were it not for being able to "pirate" ideas, there would be no ideas. Hollywood exists because of piracy of the idea of the movie player.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 1, 2007 7:23 PM

The statements and opinions I've expressed here are variations on things I've been saying about fanfiction generally for thirty-five years. It's unlikely that I'm going to be dissuaded now on the basis of one questionable case, especially a hypothetical case.

Comment from: Merus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 2, 2007 8:17 AM

I always thought the idea of fanfic was that people love something enough to want to add to that fictional universe someone else had created. This seems more like trying to replace that universe.

I gotta say, it does reek of entitlement.

I would make some reference about how it's amazing that I'm agreeing with William G. but it's not particularly remarkable. It is remarkable that it's Eric that suggested this charade considering the stuff about entitlement over on the Evergreen column.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 2, 2007 4:32 PM

Plenty of fanfic tries to replace something that's in the canon of whatever source the fanfic is writing on, though. Any ship fic for a couple not paired together in the original work, any elseworlds fic based off of something mentioned off-hand once (like that which sprung around the last episode of Evangelion), pretty much every single hate fic ever... There is tons of fanfic that exists to "replace" some element of the original universe.

Also, I think it's a bit easier to suggest making fic about FBOFW when that comic has always been fanfic about Lynn Johnston's family - and the "original source" hasn't always been fond of said fanfic, either - Aaron, the real-life Michael, has been on record multiple times about annoyances with the strip.

Comment from: ItsWalky [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 5, 2007 8:36 PM

That reminds me. I keep meaning to finish Avalon.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 13, 2007 9:00 PM

Wow. Do I feel like a dick.

As a matter of policy, I don't take posts down. It's not fair to the discussion and to the record, and it can only go badly for you. Suffice it to say, however, that whatever Ms. Johnston wants to domoving forward is okay by me.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 16, 2007 8:00 PM

Interesting: In the article she says she sent Liz back to Anthony because Sparky told her she has too many characters. If the basis of some unpopular move I'd made with my characters was personal advice from Sparky, I'd stick to my guns too.

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?