A comic strip by Gary Larson popular in the late eighties, early nineties. The Far Side used a single-panel format, (you know, like Family Circus, only the Far Side was as good as Family Circus is lousy) and explored issues such as mortality and the absurd, usually using talking cows standing on their hind legs.

Larson's tastes tended towards the bizzare, sometimes to the confusion of the population at large. A Simpsons episode has a gag where Homer flips through a Far Side page-a-day calendar saying "I don't get it. I don't get it. Tee hee ... I don't get it." Folks with a penchant for the odd and a healthy eye for irony usually rolled in the aisles. Classic strips include:

No caption, cartoon of a boy pushing as hard as he can against a door. The door is labelled "pull," and a sign near the door says "Midvale School for the Gifted."

No caption, cartoon of a laundry room which has crudely drawn arrows scrawled on the wall and floor. The arrows point to the open door of the dryer, on which has been written "CAT FUD" and an arrow pointing into the dryer. A cat is eying the open door curiously, and behind the dryer you can see the dog hiding, thinking "Oh please, oh please..."

A common theme throughout the Far Side was 'What if animal treated humans like humans treat animals?' Also, clowns and frumpy women with horn-rimmed glasses. The strips are not generally available online, as Larson has stated that he feels uncomfortable seeing his personal work distributed beyond his control.

Following Gary Larson's choice to abandon the world of comic strips forever, he travelled to Japan where he began work on an animated Far Side movie. Though it was never completed to the extent that he envisioned it, there exists a rough print of the film which has been bouncing around file-sharing servers ever since. It was sadly abandoned before ever reaching theatres or television, and has been reduced to an obscure collecter's item that few even know exist. It runs at just slightly under 30 minutes, and displays The Far Side in a wholly different context and medium.

The animated presentation is somewhat less effective than the original strip itself, with part of Larson's brilliance being the ability to use only one panel to convey his humour, sometimes even without a caption. The animation style is based on his work, but there are occasions when it is clear that he did not do all the art in the movie. Still, this animated feature remains an exhibititon of superbly bizarre Far Side humour, replete with anthropomorphic fauna and ladies with beehive hair and funny glasses. If you are lucky enough to locate a copy of this movie, do yourself a favour and hang on to it, just for posterity

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