Introduction to Gary Larson
Gary Larson was the cartoonist responsible for The Far Side. Using only a single panel, Larson would humor thousands of people a day. The comics had an original style to them, nobody can draw a person quite like Larson does. His love of science was apparent in the strips, for a large percentage of the humor focused on talking animals, or slightly clueless scientists.
Gary Larson was born in the year 1950, in the town of Tacoma, Washington. Although he enjoyed drawing as a child, he never considered cartooning as a career, and never took any special art classes. Larson focused on the sciences, and eventually he was immortalized in science by having a biting louse and a butterfly Named after him. Larson went to Washington State University and graduated in Communications. Then he moved to Seattle, started working at a music store, and submitted a few cartoons to the magazine Pacific Search, under the title "Nature's Way". The Seattle Times picked it up, but canceled it after two years. Next Larson sent it to The San Francisco Chronicle with the title "The Far Side". Soon enough, it was in hundreds of papers, with a huge fanbase.
The big question: Why did he quit?
In 1995, after 15 successful years of The Far Side, Larson walked away. Why? Well, a cartoonist is forced to create five comic strips a week. They must be funny exactly five times a week. A deadline like that can kill creativity and most importantly, it just isn't fun anymore. Larson quit for these reasons, but he did not stop creating, in 1999 he came out with the semi-children’s book A Worm's Story.
Comics on the Internet.
Cartoonists have it no easier than musicians when it comes to the Internet. It is easy enough to scan your Farside books and share the comics with the rest of the world. The author, of course, receives nothing. Gary Larson wrote this following letter addressing the subject.
RE: Online Use of Far Side Cartoons
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I'm walking a fine line
On the one hand, I confess to finding it quite flattering that some of my fans have created web sites displaying and / or distributing my work on the Internet. And, on the other, I'm struggling to find the words that convincingly but sensitively persuade these Far Side enthusiasts to "cease and desist" before they have to read these words from some lawyer.
What impact this unauthorized use has had (and is having) in tangible terms is, naturally, of great concern to my publishers and therefore to me -- but it's not the focus of this letter. My effort here is to try and speak to the intangible impact, the emotional cost to me, personally, of seeing my work collected, digitized, and offered up in cyberspace beyond my control.
Years ago I was having lunch one day with the cartoonist Richard Guindon, and the subject came up how neither one of us ever solicited or accepted ideas from others. But, until Richard summed it up quite neatly, I never really understood my own aversions to doing this: ''It's like having someone else write in your diary, he said. And how true that statement rang with me . In effect, we drew cartoons that we hoped would be entertaining or, at the very least, not boring; but regardless, they would always come from an intensely personal, and therefore original perspective.
To attempt to be "funny" is a very scary, risk-laden proposition. (Ask any stand-up comic who has ever "bombed "on stage.) But if there was ever an axiom to follow in this business, it would be this: be honest to yourself and -- most important -- respect your audience.
So, in a nutshell (probably an unfortunate choice of words for me), I only ask that this respect be returned, and the way for anyone to do that is to please, please refrain from putting The Far Side out on the Internet. These cartoons are my ''children,'' of sorts, and like a parent, I'm concerned about where they go at night without telling me. And, seeing them at someone's web site is like getting the call at 2:00 a.m. that goes, "Uh, Dad, you're not going to like this much, but guess where I am.
I hope my explanation helps you to understand the importance this has for me, personally, and why I'm making this request.
Please send my "kids" home. I'll be eternally grateful.
— Gary Larson
Far Side Galleries
The Far Side Gallery
The Far Side Gallery 2
The Far Side Gallery 3
The Far Side Gallery 4
The Far Side Gallery 5
The Prehistory of the Far Side : A 10th Anniversary Exhibit
Far Side Collections
Last Chapter and Worse
Gary Larson's the Curse of Madame 'C'
Wiener Dog Art
Far Side Assortment
Cows of Our Planet
Night of the Crash-Test Dummies
The Far Side Observer
Hound of the Far Side
It Came from the Far Side
Valley of the Far Side
Bride of the Far Side
In Search of the Far Side
Beyond the Far Side
The Far Side
There's a Hair in My Dirt! : A Worm's Story