Legendary cartoonist and The Far Side creator Gary Larson is making single-frame comics once again, recently uploading some new artwork onto his official website. Last year, Larson had teased a new “online era” of his classic Far Side comic strips, and in December, an official website authorized by Larson was launched online. This week, Larson finally debuted a small handful of new comics, and the panels serve as the first new Far Side comics to be released by Larson in the past 25 years.
As of now, there are three single-panel comics that can be seen on Larson’s website. In a stark contrast to the original black-and-white Far Side comics some of us remember seeing in printed newspapers, these new images are much more detailed and fully colorized. One comic shows a man in a city, shouting, “Taxidermist!” as he hails a yellow vehicle filled with stuffed animals. Another comic shows two space aliens hunting humans, with one telling the other to “give him one, short blast — remember, this is probe and release.” A much more macabre comic shows a group of bears eating small children at a picnic table, with the caption reading, “Bears Eating Cub Scouts.”
Larson explains the visual differences with the new Far Side comics with a lengthy explanation posted on the website. Although Larson was very happily retired from his career as a cartoonist, the artist discovered a renewed love for drawing when he learned of the incredible advancements in digital technology. “So a few years ago-finally fed up with my once-loyal but now reliably traitorous pen-I decided to try a digital tablet,” Larson explains. “I got one, fired it up, and lo and behold, something totally unexpected happened: within moments, I was having fun drawing again. I was stunned at all the tools the thing offered, all the creative potential it contained. I simply had no idea how far these things had evolved.
Even better, Larson also suggests he will continue to create new artwork with his digital tools, now that he can work on his own time without the stress of constant deadlines. After all, it was this stress that led to Larson retiring from cartooning after spending 15 years penning The Far Side between 1980 and 1995. At the time, Larson, then 44 years old, also noted his opinion that the strip was starting to get stale. Seemingly an introvert, Larson has stayed largely out of the public eye since his retirement 25 years ago, but now fans can follow him once again through his website with all-new Far Side strips.
If there’s one thing a lot of us could really use right now, it’s joy, and for longtime fans of The Far Side, these new comic strips can help provide just that. Perhaps that’s especially true following the retirement of another legendary cartoonist this year, MAD Magazine’s Al Jaffee, who finally put the pen away at 99 years old. More humor is needed quickly, so now is the perfect time for The Far Side to return. You can check out the latest comics from Larson by visiting TheFarSide.com.