As you know, it was about this time last year that we were speculating on what form the new format would take. The three main questions were:
- how much new material would there be
- how closely would the artwork match Lynn’s original material
- what points would be expanded on.
The first question is the simplest to answer. That’s because Lynn promised that the first year would have fifty percent new material and each following a lesser percentage until a point came when the strip would be pretty much straight reprints. As I write this, she’s produced roughly one hundred and eighty so she’s at least kept that promise. I’m not sure how fast the ratio will decline over the years but however it plays out will be up to Lynn herself.
As for the artwork, she tried her best to match the older style but it was a promise she simply couldn’t deliver on. As we’ve seen, she’s got the new-old set of Pattersons looking like people from the latter years of the strip and reverted to her habit of showing them as if they were a few feet away from her. The older artwork might have been a subpar copy of Schulz but it, despite being a lot cruder than the style we’re used to, was better at expressing emotions.
The answer to the third question is the most complex. As we’ve seen, she seems to have spared little expense showing us how put-upon Elly is, how big and oblivious a jerk John is, how needy and weird Connie is, how big a show-off Annie is and how annoying the children are. In short, she’s amplified the negative at the expense of the characters’ likeability. What she hasn’t done, despite an implied promise to do so, is give her readers more of what they want to see: Farley. It looks to me that he’s pretty much the shaggy, lumbering, slow-witted extra that he was in the original strip; were it not for the hype surrounding him, we’d again be forgiven if we’d assumed that the Pattersons don’t have a pet.