Saturday, October 31, 2015

Gary Larson - The Far Side Gallery

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I was going through my collection of books and found The Far Side Gallery.  I grew up reading the single-panel comic, which ran from 1980 until 1995.  (Gary Larson, who penned The Far Side, decided to retire all those long years ago.)  That means that there are a lot of kids in high school now that have never seen it as a first-run panel.

How do you explain the comic to someone who has never seen it before?  The humor is definitely a little strange.  I don't think there's anything that someone wouldn't be able to get.  I can't recall any political humor or humor at the expense of any group.  Even though it was made a while ago, most of it could still be understood today.

For some reason, Gary Larson used a lot of ducks and cows.  (In one case, a professor at a lecture realizes that he's forgotten his duck.)  Most involved people, though.  One panel depicts a couple showing slides of their trip to Hell.  (Even though the phrase ‘to Hell and back' isn't as popular as it once was, most people would understand the impossibility of such a trip.)  In another Panel, a group of ‘primitive' people are hiding modern conveniences upon seeing that some anthropologists arriving.

There's no commentary in this book; it's just the panels.  Sometimes, it's nice to have some comments about the stuff, but it's also nice sometimes just to have a collection of the work.  In some of the other Far Side books, Larson explains what he liked about some panels or what didn't work about others.  Some of those panels appear in this book, so you may be a little confused about some of them.  Don't worry; you're in good company.

Because of the lack of commentary or any other new material, it's kind of hard to review the book.  I don't want to recount every single panel.  Then again, it's hard to talk in generalities because that takes up all of two sentences.  It's especially hard since the comic isn't running any more.  There's really nothing modern that I can really compare it to.

There was no continuing story like many modern comics have.  Each panel was its own story, so you could very easily pick up the book, look at one panel and get everything that was intended for the reader in one glance.  Some modern comics, like Bizarro, are like this, but it's still hard to compare.

I grew up on The Far Side, which probably explains why I look at the world a little differently.  The Far Side will be missed and I don't think will ever truly be replaced.  I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone.  As I said, anyone can enjoy it.  It would definitely make a great gift for someone.

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