The Far Side comics by Gary Larson are known for their quirky humor and unique take on everyday situations. Running from 1980 to 1995, The Far Side featured single-panel comics that poked fun at human nature and the absurdities of life through surreal scenarios and anthropomorphized animals. Even decades after the strip ended, The Far Side comics continue to resonate with readers and elicit laughter with their offbeat humor and witty observations.
The Far Side
One of the things that made The Far Side comics so hilarious was Larson’s ability to take everyday situations and insert a surreal twist or anthropomorphize animals in unexpected ways. Many comics featured animals taking on human roles and behaviors in absurd scenarios. Larson would portray cows as office workers, birds attending a university lecture, or dogs waiting in line to see a therapist. Seeing animals act just like humans in everyday contexts was always good for a laugh.
Wry observations about human nature
Larson also loved putting humans in bizarre situations. One classic comic shows a man waking up in a hospital bed with cow organs transplanted where his human organs used to be. Another shows scientists peering through a microscope discovering a civilization of tiny people living on a piece of cottage cheese on a plate. The unexpected and odd premises Larson came up with consistently delivered laughs. His creative scenarios took everyday life to the most absurd extremes.
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20 Funny Comics Of The Far Side
Wry observations about human nature
As much as Larson loved absurd scenarios, many of his comics also cleverly commented on human nature and behavior through subtle but witty observations. A common theme was lampooning how humans often act irrationally or against their self-interest. One comic shows a man yelling at his car as it tries driving away without him, not realizing he’s still holding the door open. Another portrays a caveman just discovering the wheel but using it to move a large boulder inches at a time.
Larson also enjoyed poking fun at modern conveniences and technologies. One strip shows the first ape inventing the wheel but using it to rotate himself side to side. Another comic depicts the first computer user happily typing nonsense strings of letters and numbers, oblivious to the computer’s actual functions. These types of comics revealed Larson’s talent for finding humor in human foibles and proclivities through sharp yet good-natured caricatures.
Larson’s attention to detail
What made The Far Side comics even funnier was Larson’s masterful artwork and attention to precise details. Even in a single panel, Larson packed in subtle visual gags and background jokes that enhanced the humor. Readers would discover new layers of comedy with every re-read.
In one classic strip showing cows playing poker, one cow is holding cards depicting other cows – a clever in-joke hidden in the artwork. Another comic places a fly casually reading a newspaper on the back of a cow’s neck, its headline reading “Fly on Cow Makes News.” Larson also loved sneaking in Easter eggs, like subtle pattern repeats or hidden objects, that rewarded obsessive examination. His artwork brought each absurd scenario to vivid life through impeccable draftsmanship and an eye for the perfect comedic detail.
Legacy and influence of The Far Side
Decades after the end of The Far Side daily comic strip, Gary Larson’s surreal sense of humor still resonates with readers. His single-panel comics have endured because they tap into universal truths about human nature and experience through an offbeat, imaginative lens. Larson’s creative scenarios and observational wit continue to find new generations of fans who appreciate his unique brand of comedy. The Far Side set the standard for surreal, non-sequitur humor in cartoons. It has undoubtedly influenced many cartoonists and comedy creators who came after. Larson’s comics showed how a single panel could pack a huge comedic punch through absurdist premises and visual gags. Even in their brevity, his strips had immense re-read value thanks to layered jokes and Easter eggs. The Far Side comics remain timeless in their ability to find the absurdity and humor in everyday life through Larson’s brilliantly bizarre perspective. Decades later, his funny, imaginative comics still leave readers in stitches