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Bradenton Herald: Comic strips reflect modern America

Oh, that we always received such respect.

Clearly, the comics are a powerful medium for talking about the human experience. They should be required reading for painters who have forgotten that storytelling matters. While painters have been turning art inside out, manufacturing one style after another, Johnston has worked the old-fashioned way, with good drawing and a down-to-earth storyline – not unlike Rembrandt four centuries ago. His “Girl with the Broom,” showing a small child who has seen too much, could be April Patterson without her loving family in “For Better or For Worse.” As the girl in Rembrandt’s painting breaks from her drudgery to take a sip of water, you can see in her watchful, timid eyes that she’s been robbed of a carefree childhood.

Evocations as memorable come from Johnston’s drawings, like the day Grandma Patterson died and the hospital called with the news. Ellie Patterson walked across the kitchen to her shaken father, her face screwed tight. He was goggle-eyed, his body seeming to collapse from its frame.

Don’t you wish art on the wall could be as compelling?

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