Book Review: The Complete Far Side from 1980-1994 by Gary Larson

Far Side - Larson

The Complete Far Side from 1980-1994

By Gary Larson

My Rating: 5 Stars

What’s not to like about The Complete Far Side from 1980-1994? Seriously? There is something wrong with you if you have to even ask that question. There simply isn’t anything. These volumes were amazing. The full run of Far Side comics in date order is presented in this lovely set. While they are quite heavy and I wouldn’t recommend dragging them around with you except maybe from your kitchen table to the living room couch, they are well worth getting and dragging home. I picked them up from my local library and don’t regret it for one second. The greatest thing about this set is that you not only get the comics but each year begins with a couple pages of insight, comment or story from Mr. Larson himself. This extra bit is what truly made these volumes for me. They were hysterical and made for a great read because it’s a bit of history, reaction and background on one of the greatest comics in the history of all comics. I never knew so many people disliked this comic. I can’t fathom that but sadly, it’s true. The year introductions are often full of letters written to the editors of newspapers, Larson or his editors. They often made me look at the comics in an entirely new light or sometimes they reconfirmed my belief that Larson is the greatest creator of comics of all time. Those are big words, I know, but it’s true. He’s an absolute genius when is comes to subtlety of humor.

When reading this I found that I understood previous comics different from how I first interpreted them and found some funnier than before while others simply remained some of my favorites of all time. I grew up reading The Far Side. I cut them out of the newspaper and posted them on my bulletin boards. When I got older and had an office of my own, I bought the desk calendars and gleefully tore off yesterdays page to reveal another day full of The Far Side. When I started running my own libraries, I bought desk calendars for my front counters so my customers could enjoy them as much as I always have. I was so sad when the desk calendars stopped coming out each year and to this day I struggle to find a comic to replace it with. Nothing seems to work like The Far Side. I have my doubts that anything ever will. Perhaps I will take these volumes and put them on display at the front counter and just turn a page each day for customers to enjoy. That might be an excellent solution to my problem. I’m certain they would get read each and every day. Or perhaps I’ll allow these volumes to replace the standard Webster’s dictionary I keep open on the dictionary stand. This might be an acceptable substitute for that display shelf. Seriously, who uses a dictionary anymore with spellcheck so readily available? I might have a good argument here…I wonder if my staff will go for it. But I digress…read won’t regret it. They are the greatest comic of all time and Mr. Gary Larson will forever be considered a genius in my mind.  If you haven’t read The Far Side before you are in for a serious treat. I hope you love them as much as I do.


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