July 10, 2020
You can find new and old Far Side cartoons at thefarside.com. Just in time to save me from the presidential campaign!
Here’s an article from the NYT this week about Mister Larson’s comeback.
‘Far Side’ Cartoonist Gary Larson Shares First New Work in 25 Years
The “Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson surprised fans this week with three new cartoons, 25 years after his retirement and months after he teased his return.
The new single-panel comics, dated Tuesday, show a man hailing a taxidermist instead of a taxi; two aliens discussing plans to “probe and release” a man approaching in a car; and four bears in a forest dining on Cub Scouts covered in honey.
“I don’t want to mislead anyone here,” Mr. Larson wrote on his website, explaining that the new works were not a resurrection of “The Far Side,” the daily cartoon that became a cultural phenomenon and routinely delighted and stumped fans.
Mr. Larson said that the day after he retired in 1995, it felt good not to draw on a deadline, and that he had moved on to other interests. His return to creating oddball situations started with a clogged pen, he said.
“Despite my retirement, I still had intermittent connections to cartooning, including my wife’s and my personal Christmas card,” he said. “Once a year, I’d sit myself down to take on Santa, and every year it began with the same ritual: me cursing at, and then cleaning out, my clogged pen.”
A few years ago, finally fed up with his “traitorous pen,” Mr. Larson tried using a digital tablet. Within moments of firing it up, he said, he was having fun drawing again.
“The ‘New Stuff’ that you’ll see here is the result of my journey into the world of digital art,” Mr. Larson said. “Believe me, this has been a bit of a learning curve for me. I hail from a world of pen and ink, and suddenly I was feeling like I was sitting at the controls of a 747.”
On Tuesday, fans began liking them and leaving comments. Many excitedly welcomed Mr. Larson back and praised his new works, noting the vibrant colors and Mr. Larson’s unmistakable brand of absurdist humor.
“Loved your cartoons in the past as they got me through my time onboard a Coast Guard Cutter in the late 1980’s,” one fan, Gary Frieders, wrote in the comments section below the taxidermist cartoon. “Welcome back and look forward to more outrageous humor from your new drawing ‘pad.’”
“So glad to see you back at the drawing board! Well a digital one,” said another fan, who signed his name as Roger. “Thank you for the years of laughter and also the dark warped lens with which I currently view the world.”
“The Far Side” became a phenomenon after it first appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 1, 1980. The single-panel comic, which often featured men, women, children, animals and insects in peculiar situations, ran until Mr. Larson’s retirement in 1995. One of the most confusing “Far Side” cartoons, “Cow Tools,” which showed a cow standing next to a work bench covered with an odd assortment of implements, continues to be a topic of conversation to this day.
In an interview in December, Mr. Larson said his own benchmark for success was “pretty basic.”
“I just wanted to be able to pay my rent,” he said. “Beyond reaching that goal I really didn’t care much. I was doing something I loved, getting by, and that’s what mattered.”
At the time, he had also relaunched a website that would feature classic “Far Side” cartoons. “I’m looking forward to slipping in some new things every so often,” he said.
Visitors to the website were greeted with “The Daily Dose,” a random selection of past cartoons, along with a weekly set of cartoons arranged by theme. Still, fans had an ever-growing appetite for new material.
“Again, please remember, I’m just exploring, experimenting, and trying stuff. New Stuff,” Mr. Larson said on his website. “I have just one last thing to say before I go: thank you, clogged pen.”