Some people say love never dies, well, nether does the humor of Gary Larson, creator of The Far Side comics. The first book in this “series” simply called The Far Side was released in 1982 by Chronicle Publishing Company, retail price $5.95. Not bad considering you get 50 pages of fun – y 50 pages. Yes, 50 pages, each containing 4 drawings per page. Do the math – that’s 200 illustrations that are guaranteed to make even the crabbiest of you crack a smile.
Recommend this product?
This book is the first in a long series of cartoons; while some of them have been featured in newspapers, magazines and on calendars – some of them are “never before seen”. To show you the popularity of The Far Side, this book had it’s first printing in August of 1982 and had it’s twenty-sixth printing February 1987. That’s a lot of books!
While Larson keeps it simple with a minimal presentation – each “cartoon” is unique. Sure there are recurring characters like the cavemen, the scientists and of course the Devil himself. None of the drawings are extremely detailed, but nonetheless they convey the thought perfectly. Some of the best ones are those without captions; so perfect they don’t need words to get the punch line across.
In Larsons The Far Side animals seem to have the upper hand in almost every case. My theory further perpetuated in this book when those loveable bears in the crosshairs return again. So too are the adorable little snakes, this time with a few youngsters in tow. By far one of the cutest is the running of the lemmings. Lemmings, for those that don’t know, have some bizarre recessed trait for committing suicide – in mass numbers. In my favorite cell from the book lemmings are running down a hill towards the water in pairs of two, one smart lemming is sporting an inner tube and a huge grin [page 41, first block]. Another good one is the cow that does a “ring and run”, ringing the humans doorbell then munching on some grass when he answers.
Poking fun at the smart, stupid and generally confused; Larson once again delivers humoristic looks at how some people behave and react. The usual characters are all here – Carl – one of the moronic camping fools, Sylvia – the old lady with rollers in her hair constantly talking on the phone, Henry and Warren – the two space klutz’s, Omar the ogre, the cavemen – Thag, Dirk and Zog [to name a few] and Mrs. Oswald. If you can’t laugh at cartoon, what can you laugh at?
Humans Vs. Animals
Ever wonder what wolves do at a boring party? Curious on how the chef gets the lobster into the pot? Don’t get too upset at the Santa Claus ones – he’s only joking about writing a book about venison. You do however have to feel sorry for the two birds that have been feeding a baby all day but it’s still crying – maybe it’s the fact that they’ve been feeding it worms … the jury is still out on this one. In most cases the animals are getting some much needed revenge against the humans but there is a rare occasion when a human out fixes and animal [no pun intended].
The Long and Short of It
A great gift for any of The Far Side comics, books or calendars. My one big beef with this book is that the pages aren’t numbered, so if you want to quote a certain cell you have to count from the first page and hope you get the math right.
I bought several copies of these books as gifts but wanted to make them special. One friend is a total junkie for the cows and bears of The Far Side series – instead of just wrapping the book and handing it to her I had all the cow and bear cells from the book cut out, trimmed, blocked, matted and framed for her. She still has it on her wall and every year I give her another 16 x 20 frame for her collection.
Kids love these books as well. While they might not be able to read all the words or understand some of the depictions – my brood love pulling out one of these and giggling like a gaggle of geese. There’s no adult language, nudity or off color humor [that could be considered offensive] but use your own judgment where small children are concerned.
Since this is the first of the series you get to see some of the recurring characters, like Andrew, when he was young. While The Far Side books are not presented in any order, fans keep track of the different scenarios, people and places – sort of like little scrapbooks. It just seemed like yesterday that Dirk the caveman learned how to make fire, now look at him, all grown up and selling used rock tires.
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