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Gary LarsonBorn in Tacoma, Washington in 1950, cartoonist and author of The Far Side Gary Larson was an avid reader of comics himself from a young age.
Art wasn't his first love, however, when he was young. It was science, and more especially, biology.
Larson graduated from Washington State University in 1972 with a degree in communications. He had planned to pursue a career in the field of writing television commericals. However, upon graduation he formed a jazz duo with himself on guitar and banjo while a friend played trombone and keyboard. His duo folded after three years and then he found a job at a music store in Lynwood, Washington. He soon realized that this job wasn't meant for him, and decided to concentrate on drawing.
He took some samples of his work to the editor of a magazine called Pacific Search in Seattle. The editor loved them, and Larson quit his job at the music store to begin writing comics for a living. This comic, called "Nature's Way" is described by Larson as a "Mesozoic Far Side"
Drawing didn't earn much at first, so Larson got a job as an investigator for the local Humane Society. Then a reporter who Larson met showed his work to an editor at the Seattle Times. "Nature's Way" began to be published in the Seattle Times' Saturday paper in the children's section.
During a vacation, Larson drove down to San Francisco with his portfolio of comics. In 1979 he approached the San Francisco Chronicle's office to show off his work. This soon led to a syndication contract for his cartoon, "Nature's Way". The editors changed its name to "The Far Side". On January 1, 1980, "The Far Side" debuted in the San Francisco Chronicle.It turned out to be just in time, as the Seattle Times dropped "Nature's Way" on his return to Washington state.
Slowly taken up by more and more newspapers, The Far Side thrived for fourteen years until Larson retired from daily panels on January 1, 1995. At that time, the panel was appearing in more than 1,900 daily and Sunday newspapers worldwide. Quite a number of "Far Side" books were produced which topped best seller lists. Larson also received many awards including the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, and the Max & Moritz Price for Best International Comic Strip/Panel.
Larson has also completed two animated films, "Gary Larson's Tales From The Far Side" I and II, which were completed in 1994 and 1997, and were screened at international film festivals.
"Every one of these cartoons is just something that drifted into my head when I was alone with my thoughts. And, for better or worse, I 'jotted' them down. It was only later, when perhaps I received an angry letter from someone, that it struck me: Hey! Someone's been reading my diary!" --Gary Larson, from the preface to The Complete Far Side
Revered by its fans as the funniest, most original, most "What the ... ?"-inspiring cartoon ever, The Far Side debuted in January 1980 and enjoyed an illustrious 14 years on the world's comics pages until Gary Larson's retirement in 1994. The Complete Far Side celebrates Gary's twisted, irreverent genius in this ultimate Far Side book, a lavish production which takes its place alongside collector's-edition art books.
A masterpiece of comic brilliance, The Complete Far Side contains every Far Side cartoon ever syndicated-over 4,000 if you must know-presented in (more or less) chronological order by year of publication, with more than 1,100 that have never before appeared in a book. Also included are additional Far Side cartoons Larson created after his retirement: 13 that appeared in the last Far Side book, Last Chapter and Worse, and six cartoons that periodically ran as a special feature in the New York Times Science Times section as The Far Side of Science. Creator Gary Larson offers a rare glimpse into the mind of The Far Side in quirky and thoughtful introductions to each of the 14 chapters. Complaint letters, fan letters, and queries from puzzled readers appear alongside some of the more provocative or elusive panels. Actor, author, and comedian Steve Martin offers his pithy thoughts in a foreword, and Gary Larson's former editor describes what it was like to be "the guy who could explain every Far Side cartoon."
During its 14-year run, The Far Side was syndicated internationally to over 1,900 daily newspapers. It spawned 22 books and has been translated into a total of 17 different languages.
For his work with The Far Side, Gary Larson received the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society in both 1991 and 1994. The National Cartoonists Society also named The Far Side Best Syndicated Panel in 1985 and 1987. In 1993, The Far Side was awarded the Max and Moritz Prize for Best International Comic Strip/Panel by the International Comics Salon. In 1995, Larson's animated film Gary Larson's Tales from The Far Side won the Grand Prix at the Annecy International Festival in Annecy, France. His second animated film, Gary Larson's Tales from The Far Side II, premiered in 1997 in the United States at the Telluride Film Festival and in Europe at the Venice International Film Festival.