on November 13, 2003
In terms of content, this is *nearly* the ultimate collection of Gary Larson's wonderful Far Side comics (why do all the good cartoonists like Larson and Watterson retire early, while banal ones like Jim Davis [Garfield] go on ad nauseum?).
Books are very well made, like good art history volumes, with thoughtful notes included between each section (divided by years), and the paper and ink quality is excellent.
However, while this collection features all of the Far Side comics published since inception (and a few more never before seen by the public), it leaves out Larson's hilarious Farsidian take on classic art pieces as featured in the superb "Weiner Dog Art" collection from the 90's. Also, and I suppose this would have made what are already two massive tomes even more unruly to handle, it leaves out all of "Prehistory of the Far Side" material.
So just make sure you get "Weiner Dog Art" and "Prehistory", and then with this collection you'll have the ultimate Far Side opus.
on December 17, 2003
Here we have the COMPLETE syndicated run of the Far Side Comic series. It was ground breaking for many as one can see from the letters to the editor from newspapers which appear on some pages.
The only thin I didn't like was the fact that they didn't have a major bonus section like the book "Prehistory of the Far Side" had. That one had some which were rejected by his editor as being too racy, I would have loved to see more of those in this release. Still This item is well worth the price.
I hope that Dan Piraro does this type of book If and when his "Bizarro" series ends. If you like "Far Side" you will like probably like "Bizarro"
A few of the "Far Side" comics slightly offend me as a Christian, but almost all of them don't.
on October 28, 2003
This is the Holy Grail for Far Side fans; a two-volume, leatherbound, slipcase edition of every single Far Side strip ever produced, including ones that were never anthologized. It carries a hefty price tag, but this should not be an issue for a true Larson fan; the price of admission pales in comparison to the endless amount of humor and satisfaction that one will get time and time again. The Far Side never gets old, and it's like having a long-lost friend come back.
The pages are thick and glossy and extremely well-bound; it's like an encyclopedia, only with a lot more relevant information and more interesting pictures. Organized chronologically and with a two-page cartoon introducing the year, the Complete Far Side shows the progression of Larson's humor and the transformation of the public reaction to his cartoons (this is done with various letters from editors and such, though not in a way that mimics The Pre-History of the Far Side). Some of the strips are presented in color, something that will perhaps be seen as a disappointment to some, but to the majority it is nothing short of a bonus; most of these that are in color have been previously anthologized in black and white.
I personally find Steve Martin's introduction to be a brilliant homage to Gary Larson, and the comments from Larson's editor prove to be tongue-in-cheek moments where one who truly "gets" The Far Side can laugh at the ignorant masses.
This is the centerpiece of my library now, and while it is somewhat bulky, when it's in your lap or on the table, the ten pounds per book seems irrelevant when you realize the sheer scope of what you have in your hands.
And if you ever visit the Midvale School for the Gifted...pull, don't push.
on December 28, 2014
How could a complete Far Side collection ever be given less than five stars? An awesome trip down memory lane, and the comics still have an edge, even in this modern world (cripes, 20 years have passed?). My only wish, one that would make this a 5.5 or 6 star review, were that possible, is that instead of three volumes it should be broken up into 6, or even 9. Smaller volumes would make for better casual reading, and they'd be easier to hold for those of us with arthritis, carpal tunnel, etc (and if you're old enough to remember reading The Far Side in the newspapers, you're probably either already experiencing this, or you will be soon).
on July 6, 2004
While the price tag may seem hefty, it's easily worth the money.
This "Complete" collection is far more than I ever expected. Since I had so many of the older collections, I made the assumption that this was just a cool way to put all the stuff in one place. Not so... It's not just convenience, it simply better than any combination of older volumes you will ever find.
Here are some observations:
1. The collection includes a ton of cartoons that have NEVER been published in book form. These classics have not been seen anywhere since their original newspaper publication.
2. Even though the original cartoons were in black and white, a large percentage of these classics have been colorized! The color versions are seemlessly sprinkled into the pages, keeping the flow. Both older and newer cartoons are equally colorized.
3. The quality of the package itself is top-notch. They use high quality paper, printing, binding and packaging.
4. The set is very large and VERY HEAVY. You may have trouble lifting it.
5. The cartoons are layed out in a variety of sizes. Some are expanded to the entire page, where others are mixed in about the same size as they were in the original newspapers.
6. Lastly... These cartoons are FUNNY!!!!!! All the fancy packaging and quality are just gravy. The bottom line is that these cartoons will have you laughing for years to come.
on June 23, 2004
A truly amazing piece of modern literature... if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this collection is worth 4.3 million of 'em! If you've been a Larson fan, then you know what you're in for... whacky animals and insects that are usually smarter than their human counterparts, light handed commentary on the workings of life and nature, and an incredible wit that captures appeals to everyone and offends no one (except maybe cows or chickens). These cartoons will take you back to where you were the first time you read them.
If you've never read Larson, then you need to pick up this collection immediately (be careful and don't hurt your back... 18 pounds of books is a heavy load). Enjoy the fit and finish of the slipcase and covers of the books. Feel the weight of the high-quality artbook-grade coated paper, smell the fresh ink... and then dig in to the BEST cartoons ever created!
This collection is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY you spend on it. I have every Larson book ever published, and they don't hold a candle to these books. The introductions to the individual chapters are worth the price alone. Because of this collection, the Far Side will be enjoyed by future generations to come.
on June 22, 2004
One cannot help but admire the care and thought that went into the making of this of this anthology of Gary Larson's Far Side comics...Larson takes up the mantle of the late Charles Addams with his own stylized brand of macabre humor, and it is a treat to have such a collection at your disposal...However, I must protest the decision to house such a mammoth undertaking in only two volumes. The books can only be read while on a flat surface due to the weight of the pages. Take note, that should you attempt to read these while having them propped on your lap, while sitting in your favorite easy chair, you will eventually cause damage to the binding, as you will undoubtly note how the pages will sag towards you. Over time, this can cause the bind to separate from the spine. You will also damage some selected portions of your anatomy as the edge of the binding burrows itself deep into your flesh! The presentation of these fine cartoons would have been better served had they been divided into four, rather than two volumes. It's a minor annoyance, and does not detract (too much) from enjoying the set, but take caution on how you handle these hernia inducing books.... Recommended with the slightest of reservations...
on June 21, 2004
I was hoping to get the Complete Far Side for Christmas last year, so I held off on purchasing a copy for myself. Well, Christmas came and the books didn't (probably because nobody wanted to lug the 18-pounder around the store!), so when I went to buy it after Christmas, it was sold out everywhere I went. Bummer! The only copies you could get for several months were through auctions and sellers asking over the full price for used copies. So I decided to wait to see if it would be reissued.
Success! When I saw this on the Amazon site for sale at the nice discounted price, I purchased it in world record time. And boy am I glad I did. I bought this about 6 or 7 weeks ago and I'm still in the first book as I take my time to review the strips and the various articles. Some of the strips still miss the mark as they did when I first saw them, but still, a good percentage are still pretty darn funny 10 years after Larson retired the strip. The presentation is tremendous. So much so, my wife (a home-decorating-aholic) actaully allowed me to display these books on my desk in our house (and believe me, most of my stuff is relegated to the closet).
The high quality binding and paper make this a must for the Far Side fan. I just wish that other comic compilations (like the new Complete Peanuts series) would have taken a lesson from Larson.
on June 19, 2004
If you have to buy one book on Amazon, please, please, please, make it this. Large though it may be, you won't be disappointed! God, I love this guy. I can't imagine life without Gary Larson and his wonderfully twisted sense of humor. A day doesn't go by that I don't laugh to myself over one of his cartoons. And when I was interviewing for employees, I used to show them some of his work---if they didn't laugh, they didn't get hired! Truly, he's is one of the planet's funniest animals! What I enjoyed most about this volumous work was Larson's hilarious and insightful essays that preceded each year's comics, Steve Martin's great foreword, and, more than anything else, the countless letters from the public on various subjects. Most of them are enemies, shaking their finger at Gary Larson for some kind of offense they took from a cartoon. But my all-time favorite: The Modern Anteater. If you like this type of humor, you'd probably enjoy David Sedaris' books or "The Bark of the Dogwood" by Jackson McCrae. True, humor such as this is not for everyone, but darn it's funny to me.
on June 14, 2004
My shelves were already cluttered with several volumes of "Far Side" collections (sitting proudly beside my "Bloom County" and "Calvin and Hobbes" volumes) when I strolled past these beauties at a book store. My eyes must have nearly popped out of my head and I had to walk over and gently remove these hefty volumes from the protective box. The price tag caught the corner of my eye and I have to be honest - you have GOT to be a hard-core comic lover to drop over 80 bucks for a collection of comics. The Mrs. gave me a funny look. "You don't need THAT, do you?" Turns out the Mrs. had secretly just purchased this very collection as a present. What a wife! You still with me? If you can see yourself spending 90 dollars buying a "comic book" - you've got to get this collection.
Gary Larson doesn't have quite the visual flair of Bill Watterson or Berkely Breathed, but the lack of artistic sophistication is part of the charm of this fantastic series. Crude line drawings get right to the point and Larson's captions hit the nail squarely on the head.
In the universe of the Far Side cows and ducks and often microscopic organisms have equal status with humans. Larson looks at many of our most commonly held misconceptions and frailties, has us gaze into the mirror, then twists the mirror to hilarious result.
To "get" the Far Side requires some basic education. You have to know about bacteria and space exploration and a little history to know what the heck the joke is, but he doesn't pander to us. It's also decidedly NOT all "high-brow". My personal favorite frame shows the aftermath of a messy barroom brawl, with bodies and broken furniture strewn about. A barmaid is trying to explain to a cop how "the little sailor guy" went crazy after eating some spinach and crazy music started playing. How many episodes of "Popeye" would you have to see to "get" that joke? I don't know - but knowledge of the folklore about Popeye is essential for that joke. He similarly skews fairy tales along with legends about vampires and devils and angels.
Another fantastic element to this collection are Mr. Larson's insightful comments which separate the "chapters" - describing some of his inspirational process as well as struggles he encountered along the way trying to produce The Far Side.