Columnist Arthur Black misses the Far Side

A columnist for the Advertiser in Newfoundland is missing Gary Larson’s Far Side which ended 12 years ago.

Far Side cartoons were like no newspaper cartoons before or since. They were not only off the wall, they were out the door, down the street and out in the ozone.

28 thoughts on “Columnist Arthur Black misses the Far Side

  1. Don’t we all miss The Far Side? I keep hoping for the day when Larson will pull a Breathed and come back with “The Really Far Side” or something. Even once a week Far Side is better than none, though, “There’s a Hair in My Dirt” was a decent substitute if he never returns.

  2. When’s the last time you laughed out loud at the moribund antics of Dagwood? Or Dennis the Menace? Or Canada’s own once-brilliant, now soap-opera-mediocre For Better or Worse?

    Everytime I see comments like this on the web I want to puke. Perps like this always point out the same easy targets while ignoring the many quality strips that are out there. The funny pages didn’t begin and end with Larson, Watterson and Breathed. Rock didnâ??t die with The Beatles, either. We had Zeppelin, Sabbath, Van Halen, etc., …

    Before Larson there was Kliban. After Larson there is Piraro(yes, more of a peer, but one that is VASTLY overlooked, IMO). Before Watterson there was Schulz. Before Breathed, Trudeau. yeah they were great

    Some of my favorites today. Add yours if I miss one:

    Mark Tatulli

    Wiley Miller

    Mark Pett

    Darrin Bell

    Jim Meddick

    Stephan Pastis

    Tatsuya Ishida ,link>

    Thereâ??s plenty of quality still to be found in the comic section, and even more online. Those are the peeps I try and pay homage to each and every week

    Instead of bemoaning the long ago retirement of some great cartoonist(s), enjoy the current talent while you can…

  3. Eric,
    I’d add on “Lucky Cow”, “Brewster Rockit”, “Ink Pen”, “Retail”, “Cow and Boy”, “Frazz” and “Jump Start”. And I still love “Tumbleweeds” after all these years.

  4. Ray Billingsey’s “Curtis” is very underrated. It’s an excellent comic strip. “Retail” should be added, and so should “Ink Pen” — one of the most consistently funny strips that you hardly ever hear about. And Paul Gilligan’s “Pooch Cafe” is fantastic. And one of the greatest panels currently in papers is “F Minus,” by Tony Carillo. WHen it started out in 2005, I thought it was mediocre, but it has improved vastly and is now a daily must-read. “Red and Rover” is “Calvin and Hobbes”-ish, but has come into its own. There are more that I like to read, too…maybe I’m just really into the comics, but I think that there are plenty of good strips out there now.

    Everyone misses “The Far Side,” but there’s lots more to enjoy.

  5. Curtis is underrated.

    Dave K., I did have Lucky Cow on my list. Great toon! Jump Start is another toon I really enjoy…

    …and although it hasn’t started yet(I believe), I’d add this toon to my list: Based on it’s previous life as Love Junk, it’s already a fav of mine.

    I like Cul de Sac, too, it’s just too new for me.

    One great toon that I neglected to mention(I’m watching the Red Sox/Indians as I post here), is The Norm. Innovative in both daily format and Sunday format, I’ve loved this toon since I first read it. I just wish Michale Jantz didn’t marry Reine and Norm. The strip lost the romantic tension after they married…

  6. Okay. Just a few daily must reads for me.

    Non Sequitur
    Get Fuzzy
    Peals Before Swine
    Cul de Sac (best new strip out there)

    Oh yeah, one more…

    Police Limit

  7. There are some great lists here. I read most of them on a daily basis. One strip I enjoy, that I think gets overlooked is “Jump Start” by Robb Armstrong.

    Tatulli- good call on PBF. That strip is the best. Also, my 7 year old son really digs Lio. He’ll usually drop what he is doing to read it. Particularly the Sunday strips.

  8. Eric,
    Sorry about that. Missed “Lucky Cow” in your list. How about some great strips that for whatever reason didn’t make it? My top three would be “Hubert and Abby”, “Franklin Fibbs”, and “Big Top”.

  9. Dave,
    My alltime fav toon that didn’t make it by MA homey Lennie Peterson called . Here’s some great samples:

    I also loved Bliss, with it’s crude art and sharp writing, and The Hots both written by Stephan Hersch, The Hots but was illustrated by a very talented woman whose name escapes me. Loved her style, though. Nina Palley? Wish I could remember her name…

    Both toons should have made it, but escpecially The Big Picture. It was in the vein of Seinfeld or The Norm, but was often edited by editors so Lennie canned it. Wish he kept it alive online…

  10. I did enjoy the “Big Picture”. Great social commentary mixed with humor. And Lennie afraid to show the warts in his life.

  11. I agree Mark. I never paid attention to Agnes until I met Tony this spring. Tony is very funny in real life and his writing is excellent.

    My list of must-reads includes: Cul de Sac, Agnes, Bloom County, Lucky Cow, A Doctor A Lawyer and A Cop, Bizarro, Retail, Zits, Pearls, Lio, and Speed Bump.

    I’ve also been a fan of Chad Carpenter’s Tundra, (self-syndicated strip) for over a year now. He’s as close to the Far Side as I’ve seen.

  12. Growing up on Charles Addams twisted New Yorker cartoons I found the Far Side less groundbreaking than some folks but still loved the strip. Even though I miss new material, Larson was prolific enough that I can get a great fix from his books any time.

    My daily reads are: Real Life Adventures (a very overlooked and very funny panel)
    Sherman’s Lagoon,
    Tina’s Groove (also very overlooked in the web chatter department)
    Goose and Grimm,
    Pooch Cafe (I never understand negative comments about this strip – I think it’s hilarious)
    Mr Boffo (my favorite of all Joe Martin’s many strips – although cats with hands is pretty funny too)
    Non Sequitor
    Pearls Before Swine
    Blondie (yes, I said it! Blondie!)
    All cartoons in the Editorial section – so many great people working in that medium right now
    Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee

    I also am enjoying the new Arctic Circle.

  13. Speaking of Charles Addams, after reading his biography out earlier this year, I was dissappointed to find that most of his cartoons came from the New Yorker gag writing staff rather that Addams himself.
    This book showed me sides of the man and his personal life I probably would rather not have known. I was more interested in a focus on his work – that may be a similar situation to some people’s reaction to the current Schulz bio.

  14. Sure, The Far Side was great–maybe the most consistently funny one panel ever. But I don’t think you could say it was like “no newspaper cartoons before or since.” That’s a tad grandiose. It was a gag panel. a really hilarious one, but there are plenty of cartoons like it.

    it’s been 12 years. Get over it.

    now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go whine about The Clash and how there was no good music before or after them.

  15. The Clash AND Big Audio Dynamite. But re: the Larson phenomenon, while prolific and a great talent, you’d have never heard of the guy if there’d been no B.Kliban.

  16. Thanks, Anne!

    Personally, I don’t think there has been a better time in the comics from a content point of view. Sure, you can look back at some of the great cartoons that are no longer with us (ahem! apart from in re-runs – for chrissake, BUY THE BOOK COLLECTIONS AND DROP THE STRIPS FROM THE PRECIOUS NEWSPAPER REAL ESTATE!), but as a snapshot of the art (not the market), I think we are in another golden age:

    Some of my daily reads:
    Cul de Sac
    Edison Lee
    A Doctor a Lawyer and a Cop
    Over the Hedge
    Pooch Cafe
    Tina’s Groove
    Non Sequitur
    The Other Coast
    Between Friends
    Get Fuzzy
    Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog
    Insanity Streak
    Spot the Frog
    Argyle Sweater (often just as funny as the Far Side)
    Bizarro (Dan’s panel is probably the cleverest and best drawn successor to the Far Side)

    It’s no wonder I don’t get enough drawing done.

  17. He may miss Larson. But there tons of funny strips out there.
    When Larson last retired he did the smart thing. He left on a high note, rather than dry out and become tired. Always leave your audience wanting more.

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