For Better or For Worse has always been a sort of real-life chronicle, a look into the workings of a family and a neighbourhood - an average neighbourhood that could be in any town, anywhere.
Although I have focused on the lighter side, it has been important for me to explore those things in life that are not necessarily laughable, but, things that pose a challenge, things that must be dealt with seriously and worked through.If the Pattersons were an average family in an average neighbourhood, they would at some time be aware of the diversity in the people around them and would have to accept and try to understand those differences.
I felt that I was being true to life and true to my work if I gave Lawrence the courage to tell Michael he was gay. I wanted to challenge myself, to see if I could broach a sensitive subject and write it into the strip with care and compassion. I included a bit of laughter too.
Much thought went into this story. I must have had it in mind for two years or more before I wrote the series. I told my editor, Lee Salem, what I was planning to do. He suggested I send him my rough work, well in advance of the publication date, so that he could see what elements were involved and make deletions, if necessary. I wrote and sent in the material eight weeks before my deadline. Although Lee cautioned me that it was a sensitive issue and there could be some negative response, he felt that I had written the story well, that it contained no offensive material, and, that if I wished to run it, he and Universal Press would be supportive.1 2 3 4 5