The Complete Far Side - Gary Larson

It's hard to say when I first started reading The Far Side but I know I became a fan fairly quickly. When it first started appearing in newspapers, I wasn't yet four years old. When Gary Larson decided to call it quits, I was a freshman in college. That's a pretty decent run (beats "Seinfeld" and "Friends" hands-down), and as the two volumes of The Complete Far Side can attest, it results in a significant body of work.

So, in less than a month, I've read roughly fourteen years of Far Side cartoons (according to the notes, "every Far Side cartoon ever syndicated," including many which have never been published in a book until now). It's a remarkable thing, being able to see the whole Far Side universe, all in one place. (And it's heavy, too—each volume weighs around eight or nine pounds!) There are brief essays by Larson introducing each new year, many giving some insight into the mind of this cartoonist so many comics-readers revered and reviled.

One of the best parts is the inclusion of the occasional complaint letter from an irate reader, displayed next to the relevant cartoon. Or you could be one of the few Far Side readers who has now been immortalized as "the guy who didn't understand the one about King Kong." Considering the vast amounts of complaints and "I don't get it" letters Larson apparently received over the course of his career, I'm surprised there weren't more examples. Maybe they're saving those for a separate publication.

I checked this out from my library, but it's going on my wish-list. No Far Side fan should be without it!

Fed to jonathan's brain | May 04, 2004