The Far Side Gallery 2

The Far Side Gallery 2Summary: The Far Side was syndicated in more than 1,900 daily newspapers from 1980 to 1995, when Gary Larson retired. During its run, the cartoon spawned 22 books from AMP, which were translated into a total of 17 different languages. For his work with The Far Side, Larson was awarded the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist from the National Cartoonists Society in 1991 and 1994. The group also named The Far Side Best Syndicated Panel in both 1985 and 1987.

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The Far Side Gallery 2, by Gary Larson 8.25

There was a time when I didn’t “get” The Far Side. Some of my friends did, but, for the most part, it was as out of reach as ‘Doonesbury’. I had to mature a bit, perhaps. At the very least, a change of world view was needed before I could learn to appreciate it.

Truth be told, back then, I just couldn’t stand the Gary Larson’s scrawls. I liked some of the humour, not all, but loathed how limited his penciling style is. I was a bigger fan of the deliciously deviant and artful ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and ‘Non Sequitur’ strips. Those had me running to the newspaper daily.

But I dig ‘The Far Side’ now – as evidence by my rating for this particular collection.

It’s hard to describe it, what it’s like. Each strip is a one-panel, comical slice of satire and/or absurdity. They don’t follow a particular character and have no rapport between any of them. Each strip can be read and savoured by its lonesome – or with others, should one get a hankering.

Anyway, since Larson’s humour is hard to put into words, here are a few examples of his work found in this book:

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This particular volume comes with an introduction by Stephen King. It’s fitting, I would say, given the period in which this was released (as King was likely in his prime then) and given that Larson has a twisted sense of humour that one might consider akin to King’s own.

Even if one has read many strips of ‘The Far Side’, this collection is worth checking out: Stephen King’s praise expresses the value of Larson’s work very well, and it is such a voluminous set that one can read it over and over without it losing any freshness. (Just buy it, you won’t regret it!)

Larson may have retired his strip two decades ago, but it remains as lively as it is hilarious.

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