Friday, December 6, 2019

Going back to the Far Side

The reports that the Far Side cartoon might be making a return is fantastic news. It's always been my favourite one-panel cartoon, ever since I got given one of his books for coming first in sixth-form geography in 1991, (the most useful thing to come out of all that time I had to spend in that class).

Part of the reason it struck such a chord was because Gary Larson has just a fucking bizarre sense of humour. His gags were always full of weird puns, animals being very un-animal, and in-jokes about song titles that I never really got. In fact, there were a lot of his cartoons that sailed way over my head, but the cartooning was always so goofy, I never really minded.

(I have no goddamn idea why the cartoon up above is so funny, but it's easily one of my top five Far Side cartoons. I think it's the 'howdy, howdy, howdy'.)

But the best thing about them was the focus on idiots, from all walks of life. There were powerful idiots, and rich idiots, and idiots in cars, and idiot scientists, and idiot animals, and idiot cavemen and there is always laughs in absolute stupidity. Especially because, crucially, there were never really that mean or nasty. The idiots were all pretty harmless, and there was a zen-like attitude to the morons, blissfully going around their ineptitude with absolute ignorance.

It's a lot harder than it looks, making fun of stupid without being mean about it, but Larson always made it look easy, and I look forward to any trip back to that side of things.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is my favorite one! It’s so layered! A vulture putting on cowboy clothes is funny. It’s funny that only one bird is lifting his head to listen. It’s funny that a man’s body being eaten by vultures is a background note to such a silly joke. “Howdy Howdy Howdy” is so funny! The drawing of the vulture in the clothes is so perfect with the oversized hat and worn jacket. You can just imagine his little bird body in there and imagine him thinking up this little joke. I have no tattoos but I think if I ever got one it would be of this comic.