I always loved reading the Sunday comics; it was a little ritual every week: my dad pulled out the sports section, mom clipped coupons, and I lay on the couch reading the comic section. Sure, I loved Garfield, For Better or For Worse, Blondie, and Bloom County was cool. Cathy bugged me even back then with all of her bad dates, self-obsessing and “ACK’s!” But the comic that I really liked, the one that always made me laugh out loud was The Far Side. Drawn and written by Gary Larson, The Far Side was not your average comic strip. In fact it wasn’t a strip at all; it was a single panel of quirky, irreverent, smart, funny stuff. And while it would make sense to show you some examples here of Mr. Larson’s amazing work, he has asked nicely that people not distribute images of his work online. Instead, you’ll have to support the awesomeness of Mr. Larson’s work by getting The Complete Far Side and enjoying it all over again. The funniest ones that I remember seemed to always involve animals. You remember the one with the cows. They have a lookout cow that signals when a car is coming, and all the cows that have been standing around on just their two back legs having a civilized conversation in the field drop down on all fours to appear cow-like to the passing car. When they get the all clear after the car leaves, they all stand up again. Good stuff. In fact, this one with the cows was such a hit in our family, my brother and I had a print of it framed and gave it to my dad one Father’s Day. The Far Side became wildly popular in the 1980s; there were calendars, mugs, t-shirts, canvas tote bags and huge compilation books. Far Side-mania was sweeping bookstores and gift shops everywhere. Would you believe 23 books of Far Side comics were produced – and every one of them made The New York Times Best seller list. Gary Larson’s work ran for 14 years in newspapers all over the world, carried by over 1,800+ newspapers and translated into many different languages. You could even say that The Far Side heralded in the new decade as it launched on January 1, 1980. What made The Far Side so special was its simplicity and complexity — I know it sounds weird to put those two together. Fans of the comic, you know it’s true. It was sometimes more than a little strange. It poked fun at the absurdity of everyday life, know-it-all-smartie-pants, and cavemen. It even found humor in hell and cats (ok, cats are easy) and wide old ladies wearing cat eye glasses with no pupils. The Far Side was, and still is, very funny. My dad is in the process of moving; he sent me a text the other day saying “look what I still have…” It was the framed picture of the cows standing back up after the car drives by. And it still made me laugh.
Author: Lori Ferraro
Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.
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