Yearning for The Far Side

There’s a film out now called Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which I have not seen, but it reminds me a bit of my favorite cartoon, “The Far Side.” “The Far Side,” by Gary Larson ran in syndication from 1980-1994. Even if you weren’t reading newspapers back then, if you’ve been at all in an American bookstore you’ve undoubtedly seen the various calendars.

It’s amazing how just a single panel with a caption can invoke so much laughter. Larson did this with a skill that is rarely duplicated successfully. I enjoyed the cartoon so much that when I was a freshman in college, I bought a subscription to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, which carried the cartoon daily. I clipped the cartoons out every day and put them on the perimeter of the dormroom ceiling (hey—I never claimed to be an interior decorator). By years’ end, the entire perimeter was covered in “Far Side” cartoons.

I also own a couple of the book collections, my favorite being The Prehistory of The Far Side, which features some cartoons that he wasn’t allowed to print in the newspapers.

Now, there is a new collection that has every single “Far Side” cartoon ever created. The price is steep though, so one would probably have to have a degree from the Midvale School for the Gifted to purchase the collection.