There will be cows, undoubtedly; there will probably also be dinosaurs. The Far Side creator Gary Larson is set to release his first new work in 24 years, it was announced on Tuesday.
A “new online era” of Larson’s beloved, surreal comic creations had been promised on the cartoonist’s website in September. His publishers Andrews McMeel have now officially launched TheFarSide.com. They said the site would feature previously unseen sketches and doodles from Larson’s sketchbooks, a daily selection of cartoons from The Far Side – previously unavailable online – as well as the “periodic unveiling of new work by Larson” from next year. “In truth, we really have no idea what might show up. But, on the other hand, what’s changed?” they said.
Syndicated in almost 1,900 daily newspapers from 1980 to 1995, Larson retired The Far Side in 1995, citing “simple fatigue and a fear that if I continue for many more years my work will begin to suffer or at the very least ease into the Graveyard of Mediocre Cartoons”. He has worked to keep his cartoons from being reproduced digitally, because of what he called the “emotional cost” of having his work “offered up in cyberspace beyond my control”.
Marking the launch, Larson thanked fans for their patience, and set out to explain “why I’m so late to this party”. Larson admitted to “some ambivalence about officially entering the online world” but said that security and graphics are both better today, and there has also been some evolution in his own thinking. “I’m finally here,” said Larson. “And I could use a drink.”
“Finally, I also concede I’m a little exhausted. Trying to exert some control over my cartoons has always been an uphill slog, and I’ve sometimes wondered if my absence from the web may have inadvertently fuelled someone’s belief my cartoons were up for grabs. They’re not. But it’s always been inherently awkward to chase down a Far Side–festooned website when the person behind it is often simply a fan,” he wrote. “So I’m hopeful this official website will help temper the impulses of the infringement-inclined. Please, whoever you are, taketh down my cartoons and let this website become your place to stop by for a smile, a laugh, or a good ol’ fashioned recoiling. And I won’t have to release the Krakencow.”
Andrews McMeel described The Far Side as “an unparalleled comic masterpiece”, which it said had “revolutionised conventional considerations of humour in general, and of comics in particular”. According to the publisher, more than 40m books and 77m Far Side calendars have been sold, and it has been translated into more than 17 languages. Terms dreamed up by Larson – as in his cartoon of a caveman pointing to the tail of a stegosaurus and telling his audience that it is named “the thagomizer, after the late Thag Simmonds”, led paleontologists to adopt the invented word, while Larson himself has a species of chewing louse named after him: Strigiphilus garylarsoni.
On Tuesday, the site featured one of Larson’s most bizarre creations: the “cow tools” comic, in which a cow contemplates a series of confusing tools.
(For the source of this, and man other equally curious articles, please visit: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/17/far-side-creator-gary-larson-launches-website-with-promise-of-new-work/)