“Enter if you dare,” is the message on Gary Larson’s website asking people to explore his new content. Cartoonist “The Far Side” surprised fans this week when he released comics never seen before for 25 years.
He retired in 1995 and quoted “tiredness and fear that my job will suffer if I keep going for many years to come, or at least to the graveyard of mediocre cartoons,” a statement at the time.
The 69-year-old attributes a clogged pen to his return to the industry. On the occasions when Larson sat down to draw, he said on his website, it became a ritual to “berate my clogged pen and then clean it up”. A few years ago, he decided to rebel against the “treacherous” pen by experimenting with a digital tablet.
“I got one, lit it, and lo and behold, something completely unexpected happened: within a few moments, I had fun drawing again.” Larson says he is amazed at all the tools and the “creative potential they contain”.
He warns his fans that the products of his digital rebirth are not a “resurrection” from “The Far Side”. The single-panel cartoon first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1980 and ran for 15 years until Larson retired. The famous cartoon has featured in nearly 2,000 newspapers and 40 million books, sold 77 million calendars, and has been translated into more than 17 languages, according to long-time publisher Andrews McMeel Universal, which hosts Larson’s website.
“The Far Side” fans had an appetite for Larson’s strange humor and it became one of the most popular cartoons of his time. The “New Stuff” certainly has its own brand, but Larson’s distinctive style is still there. The first new works he premiered show four bears picnicking on scouts, a man greeting a taxidermist, and two aliens hunting and planning to “examine and release” a man who is in approaching a truck.
The fans already like and comment on his “Daily Dose” of cartoons on the website and are excited to see the new content continue.
Larson says he wants to remind everyone that “he only researches, experiments, and tries things”. He says he doesn’t know where his digital journey will take him, but he is grateful to this clogged pen for sending him on this adventure.