The Far Side

The Far Side

The Far Side first appeared in newspapers on January 1, 1980 and ran for fifteen years, it’s last appearance being on January 1, 1995. All 23 Far Side compilation books were on The New York Times Best Seller list. The single-panel cartoon was created by Gary Larson who originally worked in a music store. Bored at work, he picked up a pencil and began to draw cartoons. He sold the first six panels to a local magazine. He created additional cartoons that he then sold to the Seattle Times, and was eventually syndicated through the San Francisco Chronicle. His cartoons caused the reader to look at everyday things in a bizarre, hilarious way. Perhaps Larson’s most well-known cartoon depicts something we all can relate to – pushing on a door that clearly says ‘Pull’. This classic cartoon appeared on mugs, t-shirts, and was pinned to many office cork boards. His book The Prehistory of The Far Side gave insights into some of the comments Larson received from readers as well as some insights into his thought process for creating the cartoons. One particular cartoon he discusses shows God playing a Jeopardy-like game show (hopefully, for Larson’s sake, God has a sense of humor). Of this cartoon Larson said, “First, I made God look the way I think most of us are pretty sure he looks. Secondly, I made sure he was really winning hands down. Even if Norman had only ten points it would have meant that he beat God to the buzzer at least once, and someone would have gotten mad.”* *Larson, Gary. The Prehistory of the Far...
Peanuts

Peanuts

On October 2, 1950, one of, if not the greatest, cartoon cartoon characters of all time was born. Charlie Brown, the blockhead created by Charles M. Schulz made his first appearance in the comic strip Peanuts on that date. Peanuts had, at its peak, a readership of 355 million. The strip included memorable characters like Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Woodstock, Sally, and Peppermint Patty. Nearly 50 years later, on February 13, 2000, Charlie would make his final appearance – one day after the death of his creator Mr. Schulz. The Final Strip: Most Memorable Characters: Charlie Brown Charlie was the product of Charles M. Schulz’s formative years. Charlie, despite his numerous failures is always determined to try his best regardless of the outcomes. For example, how many times did he try to kick that football that Lucy was ‘holding’ for him? Snoopy Charlie Brown’s dog was quite the opposite of Charlie. Confident and self-assured his vivid imagination led him to believe he was a World War I Flying Ace who was often flying his ‘Sopwith Camel’ (doghouse) in pursuit of the Red Baron. Snoopy had six siblings, five of which made appearances in the strip (Andy, Olaf, Marbles, Spike, and his sister Belle). Lucy Lucy van Pelt first appeared on March 3, 1952 and was typically the rock in Charlie Brown’s shoe. She was smug, highly confident, crabby, bossy, and full of advice – as demonstrated by the sign on her booth ‘The doctor is “in”‘. She was in love with piano-playing Schroeder who barely gave her the time of day. She also hated being licked by Snoopy, who seemed...
Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes

On November 18, 1985, cartoonist Bill Watterson’s comic strip – Calvin and Hobbes – first appeared in syndication. The strip follows the adventures of Calvin, a high-octane six-year-old, and his stuffed (to everyone but Calvin) tiger Hobbes. Calvin Calvin is a highly intelligent boy whose imagination carries him and his ‘pet’ tiger on a never-ending stream of adventures. He’s convinced that if he could only write in cursive, his teacher Miss Wormwood would believe his hand-written note from the President of the United States indicating that Calvin needs to be excused from class for a ‘top secret matter of national security’. Susie Derkins Calvin’s neighbor friend Susie Derkins is often the target of his antics which usually end up backfiring on Calvin. This includes a personal favorite strip in which Calvin saves a snowball in the freezer until summer (something this author did as a child as well). He retrieves the snowball, sneaks up on Susie and fires…only to miss. While sulking, Susie gathers the remnants into snowball of her own, fires…and a direct hit! Snow Sculptures Calvin’s parents are constantly the victims of his imagination and energy. Calvin’s father often returns from or departs for work to the scene of non-typical (a gross understatement) snow sculptures, including a large snowman chasing scores of small snowmen, and a snowman appearing to have been run over by tire tracks in the driveway. Calvin often contemplates the deeper meaning of life while taking high-speed downhill rides in his wagon, sled, or toboggan. Cardboard Boxes Cardboard boxes provide an endless supply of entertainment for Calvin including his development of the Transmogrifier which...