First and Last – The Far Side

With the news that The Far Side is returning, in some fashion; and we are only months away from celebrating 40 years since Gary Larson began running the Far Side, the San Francisco Chronicle has dug up that January 1, 1980, Tuesday page, where it debuted.

“Laugh in the New Year,” The Chronicle headline read. “The Seventies brought us offbeat humor that we weren’t afraid to laugh at. And the Eighties? Take a trip to ‘The Far Side’ and see for yourself. Weekdays except Wednesdays, starting today on the TV listings page.”

Why didn’t The Far Side begin on Monday, the day before? Well, it did…kinda:

Readers on Dec. 31, 1979, were greeted with a full-page advertisement announcing the new strip and featuring six samples — presumably the cartoons that Larson submitted to get the job.

I would really like to see that full-page notice from the last day of 1979.

The San Francisco Chronicle tells the origin of the panel from their perspective.
Yes, The Far Side evolved from an earlier Gary Larson panel that began way up north of The Bay.
Matt Blitz goes into deeper detail on Nature’s Way becoming The Far Side.

The Far Side became wildly successful; and when Gary decided to end the panel after 15 years there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. January 1, 1995 was not a happy New Year’s Day for many comic fans, though Gary did end it on a wonderful note:

The first panel and last strip, and everything in-between (along with some bonus material), can be read in a high definition print format by getting the best selling The Complete Far Side.

Apologies to Gary Larson, who prefers his creations not to be reproduced,
and I hope he will forgive me for doing it as part of the historical record.