As you may or may not know, trumanf recently told us of an entry he’d read by a regular contributor to the Comics Curmudgeon. I’ve highlighted certain passages of the part of it that attracted my interest the most:
Very briefly, watching Lynn Johnston draw this past Saturday was just sad. She was doing a drawing on a sheet of paper about 7 feet tall, so she couldn’t reach the top edge. Whenever she would step back to gauge the result, her hands would subtly tremble. When she came back and gripped the edge of the drawing board, and gripped the sharpie to draw with, the trembling would move to her head.
She had several originals of strips and the final printed versions, and in one case (Liz playing in sandcastle in summer and not making it in time, with big bro telling her to go play in the sprinkler to disguise it) had significant changes, and part of it was, from the note affixed, because her hand had trembled too much to be of publishable quality.
The conclusion that a lot of us came to was that the dystonia that Lynn offered as one of the reasons for retiring in the first place has come back to haunt her. Given her odd belief that telling people what’s wrong with you is an unfair burden on their time and general need to not depress people with bad news, we could conceivably never have known about this until we were told of it by an eyewitness. This puts her plan to go to straight reprints some time next Spring in a slightly different perspective; she might have spent years trying to rearrange the Pattersons’ history into something she mistakenly thinks that everyone would love but her inability to hold her pen seems to have gotten in the way.