Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Real Genius: Gary Larson and The Far Side

The term genius gets tossed around way too flippantly these days. The bugg eyed, idiot kid who can beat out tunes for dancing bears on an upended five gallon bucket is routinely hailed as the next Mozart. Madonna has been called a genius, at what exactly I never cared to find out. That Jarvik guy is pretty bright and Stephen Hawking may well be a genius, but who among you can say the read and understand anything he has written? Then there is Gary Larson, creator of the Far Side. There is something uniquely ingenious about a Far Side cartoon. First of all, the drawings couldn't be simpler, just enough to convey the scene. You remember things like:
  • The two spiders on the web, one has a bag over his head the other has a stream of silk hanging from him.
  • The kid in bed and his father is trying to get him to quiet down, the kids mother is below holding the string of a balloon with a scary face.
  • The four idiots looking at a half glass of water.
  • The entomologist laying dead on his back his arms and legs curled above him.
  • Two giant polar bears talking over the bitten in roof of an igloo.
  • The kid, specifically the far side kid pushing on a door that says pull.
The drawing is there to set up the scene, the caption is usually the punchline.


  • Bob did I scare you or what?
  • Billy are you going to sleep or do I have to stamp my foot three times and summon the floating head of death?
  • Half full. Half empty. Half full, no half empty, wait what was the question? Where's my cheeseburger?
  • How entomologists die.
  • I like the chewy centers!
  • Exception: a sign in the art says "Midvale school for the gifted".

I haven't seen a Far Side book or calender since my mom, God rest her soul, passed away. Every year she would send me one for Christmas, but I still remember them. Can anyone remember a ______ from last Thursday? Most other cartoons if they are particularly funny that day might, might mind you, get a chuckle. Some are as about as funny as a gut full of pin worms, i.e. Garfield, The Family Circus, Cathy, Andy Capp, The Peanuts, Blondie, Hi & Lois, Funkie Winkerbean, Momma, Tumbleweeds, etc..

2 comments:

ScottJ said...

With "opus" back in the comic section I must admit I nearly sprayed coffee out my nose at one a few months back... dealing with personal Tasers and Catie Couric. Not to me missed. A classic (in my mind).

ScottJ said...

Let's try that again, Scott... "Not to BE missed."