You look at just about any Saturday morning cartoon strip, and it’s a time capsule of boomer humour at its boomeriest. Three to four panels, the lowest of hanging fruit and a punchline so weak that you’d swear that your face had just been gently caressed by a hand made out of cotton candy. And then there was The Far Side.
Gary Larson’s cartoon was unmistakable during the golden age of newspapers, running for 15 years from 1980 through to 1995. After Larson was done, The Far Side lived on solely through regular collections and seldom had a spot on the internet save for scans of the original cartoons. That’s all changing right meow, as The Far Side is available online through a dedicated website, with plenty of extra content to boot.
So why has Larson taken forever to immortalise his legacy online? Quite simple, and a for a reason most of us can get behind. He’s not the biggest fan of the internet. “Truthfully, I still have some ambivalence about officially entering the online world—I previously equated it to a rabbit hole, although ‘black hole’ sometimes seems more apropos,” Larson wrote on his site.
But my change of heart on this has been due not only to some evolution in my own thinking, but also in two areas I’ve always cared about when it comes to this computer/Internet “stuff”: security and graphics.
If you’ve never picked up any of Larson’s Far Side books, you’ve missed out on what is essentially the genesis of internet humour. It’s wild stuff, meme-worthy single panel experiments into comedy that paved the way for more experimental humour such as The Perry Bible Fellowship and a whole host of other cutting edge content.
Larson’s hoping to have more control over his work with a dedicated website and while it won’t see The Far Side revived in this turbulent age, it’ll always be nice to have a retro slice of surreal humour that shows just how far ahead of the curve the cartoonist was.
Last Updated: December 18, 2019