Here’s some very welcome news — it looks like The Far Side may be returning to the funny pages. (Well, perhaps not to the physical funny pages, because it looks like any new panels apparently will be offered online only, but you get the idea.)
Gary Larson’s The Far Side was unquestionably one of the most original — and funniest — cartoons ever conceived. It ran from 1980 to 1995 and brought a daily chuckle to millions of fans, including me. When it ceased its run we groaned, but clung happily to our favorite Far Side offerings. But recently The Far Side‘s official website posted a new cartoon, featuring the familiar Far Side cows, dogs, and women wearing cat-eye glasses being blowtorched out of an iceberg. Under the drawing was the announcement: “Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen. A new online era of The Far Side is coming!”
I don’t think you can overestimate the significance of bringing a smile to people’s faces, especially in this era of so much rancor and discord. It would be a great thing if The Far Side made its return to brighten our days, Then, we could all start lobbying for a return of Calvin and Hobbes, too, and all would be right with the world.
I always feel sorry for dogs that have to wear one of those neck cones. They’ve got to be embarrassed. Having to wear a cone shows that you don’t have the kind of control that a self-respecting dog really should have, and the only way you can be stopping from worrying stitches or constantly licking a wound is through some artificial restraint. And, because you’re wearing an embarrassing neck cone, you can’t do what a dog needs to do — like chew from time to time on your back leg.
Yes, I’ve always thought: dogs must really hate those neck cones.
Now there’s proof of it. Here’s an article about Barley, a golden retriever who lives in Amsterdam. Poor Barley got one of those despised neck cones when he was neutered. When Barley got the cone, he started moping around and not behaving like his normal, happy self. Then his human family decided to see if Barley would feel better if they put one of the neck cones on the golden retriever stuffed animal that is Barley’s favorite toy and boon companion, and sure enough — Barley perked right up when he saw his pal in a cone, too. You might call his reaction a bit of friendly schadenfreude. In fact, you might call it canine conenfreude.
It’s nice to see a confirmation that dogs definitely have complex feelings, too. Now if we could only figure out a way to test that The Far Side cartoon that postulated that dogs don’t like to stay inside playing the violin while other dogs are outside, pestering the postman.
I enjoyed Richard’s post on Bill Watterson, and it reminded me of how much I miss the comics pages from the late ’80s and early ’90s. At that time, there were three comic strips that were must reading: Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert. All were radical departures from the popular comic strips of the ’60s and ’70s, strips like Blondie and Peanuts. Unlike the standard strips, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert often involved bizarre situations, distorted realities, and plots that assumed that the reader was reasonably intelligent and well educated. Perhaps for that same reason, unlike the standard strips, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Dilbert were consistently hilarious.
These three strips hold up remarkably well. At home we’ve got “treasury” collections of each, and they remain a pleasure to read even today, decades after the strips were first published. And they also pass the true comic strip acid test: stroll among the cubicles in any office building, and you are sure to see Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, and The Far Side strips tacked onto cubicle walls or slid under glass desk tops, there to forever brighten the days of white-collar workers.