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Gary Larson published the first new Far Side comics in 25 years

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‘Please remember, I’m just exploring, experimenting, and trying stuff’

SEP 16 1983, OCT 17 1983, JAN 1 1984, JUN 27 1986, SEP 23 1988; Cartoonist Gary Larson; autographs his latest book, Beyond the Far Side
Cartoonist Gary Larson autographs a book in 1988.
Photo: Glen Martin/The Denver Post/Getty Images

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.

new stuff image from gary larson’s far side Image: Farworks

“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.


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