Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Far Side

I recently came across my 10 year anniversary The Far Side comic anthology. This is by far the best comic strip to have ever graced syndicated newspaper comics. Gary Larson's humor is always fresh, always produces a giggle, smirk, or a whole-hearted laugh, and best yet, has stood the test of time! Larson probably stopped ahead of his game, and to use the term 'better to quit while you are ahead', but if he wasn't fresh out of ideas, the strip would still dominate the comic sections. Jim Davis's Garfield and that ultimately lame strip The Family Circus really should have taken Larsons route and retired many years ago. The only reason I can ponder for them to continue making their routine, trite, and overused jokes is to simply pay the bills, or they have no other hobby. Garfield I admit used to be entertaining when I was a child, but looking back even on old issues from the 1980's, there really isn't much decent humor in the story lines. Garfield is fat, he likes lasagna. His owner is a lonely nerd who can't find a decent woman. It has been tormenting deja vu, for the past 30 years. The Family Circus I've decided is only funny if you are a middle-aged/retirement age white middle class Christian. The only funny thing about this group of people is if Gary Larson decided to make satire of them. It is probably best explained as the un-funny version of Bill Cosby's Kids Say the Darnedest Things.
The Far Side
uses quirky, demented, original, and satirical humor to portray all different genres, including zoology, family, religion, social issues, work, and anything you can really think of! The best thing is each single panel cartoon is a snapshot of a larger story, which allows the reader to fill in the blanks as to why a particular story came about. For example (see duck cartoon attached). This cartoon is a snapshot in time of a larger story. A talking duck, a nemesis scientist, a capsized boat. These are all humorous to me. Asking myself "why" this story came to be makes me ponder and dream and really involve myself into the cartoon.
As opposed to say this Family Circus cartoon attached. Lame. That's all I have to say. It might be funny if I had tried that myself as a child, but only funny that Bill Keane was able to make a comic that pinpointed an event in my life. If someone can tell me what exactly is funny or thought provoking in Bill Keane's work, please let me know. The Family Circus really needs to die for it's sins against the comic world. As for you, The Far Side, I will always have you shrouded in rose pedals and scented candles.

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