The Complete Far Side Hardcover – Sep 1 2003
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Gary Larson calls The Complete Far Side, the massive two-volume collection of his Far Side cartoons, an "18-pound hernia giver." Sure to give any coffee table a solid workout, the handsome and heavy 1,250-page "legacy book" is a must for fervent fans; over 4,300 single-panel comics with more than half in color and 1,100 that have not appeared in any book form before (the popular--and far less weighty--paperback collections).
Set in rough chronological order, the comics share pages with occasional letters from fans, detractors, editors, folks made famous by a particular cartoon, and those begging for explanations. Though few explanations are provided (Larson personally supplies merely one, plus a single apology), this collection helps answer the inevitable "how do you think up these things" conundrum. Before each year's cartoons, Larson provides insight with essays about his childhood, various travels, occupational hazards, and his official rules for dealing with bedtime monsters (which often turned out to be his older brother). Most wonderful is the first essay on how the comic started. (His longtime editor Jake Morrissey's long introduction is a must read on The Far Side's story).
Despite no central characters, it's easy to spot patterns in Larson's wild and wacky cartoons. Animals, insects, and inanimate objects often exhibit all-too-human impulses. Larson's subjects are often in scenes of peril--disasters, visits to hell, and perhaps a hundred cartoons set on a one-palm tree deserted island. It is what Larson's fertile imagination mined from those situations that created fans and enemies for 14 years. (Larson retired at his peak and then went into jazz music). The comics are not indexed (how could they be--first lines? listings of cartoons with cows?); finding a favorite requires a great memory for its publication date. Best simply to peruse the pages of this beautiful collection in which you will certainly find more than a few new chuckles before landing on your beloved Larson sketch. --Doug Thomas
From Publishers Weekly
Lumpy cows and dinosaurs, nerds wearing glasses and women with big hair abound in this hefty two-volume slipcased compilation of Larson's twisted and beloved single-panel comic. Complete with every syndicated Far Side cartoon arranged chronologically by year of publication, in addition to 19 that were created after Larson's retirement in 1995, this deluxe set features chapter introductions by Larson as well as letters from fans and puzzled readers ("Help!... [This comic] has stumped not only me but the entire office"). Readers will be amused by the insightfully funny and nostalgic chapter introductions that offer a peek into the cartoon genius's mind, such as the intro to 1982 that illustrates what Larson calls the "ohpleaseohplease syndrome" an obsession he shares with biologists and naturalists (and his brother) to acquire a lizard or another creature, if only briefly, and to "drink it in" before it escapes into its own world. Comedian/author Martin provides a foreword that captures the offbeat and candid humor underlying each comic, as he sorrowfully reports that "many of the scenes depicted in this book are actually false." Readers may not be stunned by this revelation, but they will surely enjoy flipping through the slick, full-colored pages of this mammoth treasury, a lavish (and heavy!) collector's item that is the perfect gift for Far Side fans. Just make sure they say "ohpleaseohplease."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Bought for my husband and daughter . Both are big fans. Shipping was very quickPublished 1 month ago by Colleen Witman
Edges of the box were a little worn but overall great product~Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Such a great boxed set - It's quality makes the asking price understandable.Published 5 months ago by BLAKE LAZURCA
Anyone who knows far side and Gary Larson will automatically love this collection. Great set with every far side cartoon ever created. Each book weighs a lot. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Howard Shinder
always funny and now I have the whole collection....yay!!Published 13 months ago by Hemorrhaging Orifice