The Far Side burnt Gary Larson out. The publishing schedule, the deadlines, the creative crunch — after nearly 16 years cranking out a daily strip, the cartoonist stepped away from his wickedly funny comic and didn’t look back. He earned the reputation of a recluse, sticking mostly to environmental activism, leisurely retirement activity, and the occasional one-off for The New Yorker. There was no looking back ... until the art drew him back in.
After updating the web 1.0 Far Side website in December 2019, Larson has published three new single-panel comics, his first true return to the form in nearly 25 years. According to a letter introducing the new material, the art itself stood in his way — mainly, a clogged pen that irked him to no end. “I thoroughly enjoyed my career as a syndicated cartoonist, and I hope, in spirit at least, we had some laughs together,” he writes.
The process eroded his interest. Then something changed.
“So a few years ago—finally fed up with my once-loyal but now reliably traitorous pen—I decided to try a digital tablet. I knew nothing about these devices but hoped it would just get me through my annual Christmas card ordeal. I got one, fired it up, and lo and behold, something totally unexpected happened: within moments, I was having fun drawing again.
“I was stunned at all the tools the thing offered, all the creative potential it contained. I simply had no idea how far these things had evolved. Perhaps fittingly, the first thing I drew was a caveman.”
Larson is upfront about the fresh comics: This is not the beginning of a new daily or weekly strip. Any new material will arrive when it’s ready. “I’m just exploring, experimenting, and trying stuff,” he says.
Readers can find the new comics on TheFarSide.com.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.