“The ‘New Stuff’ that you’ll see here is the result of my journey into the world of digital art,” Larson wrote on his site Tuesday. “Believe me, this has been a bit of a learning curve for me. I hail from a world of pen and ink, and suddenly I was feeling like I was sitting at the controls of a 747” with his new digital tablet.
Larson’s three new cartoons, rendered in a painterly style instead of his familiar line art, still reflected his signature offbeat humor — including one that features a visual pun on “taxidermists.”
Now, Larson says he feels a fresh sense of creative adventure. He had grown tired of daily deadlines. But when he experimented with a tablet several years ago after becoming frustrated with a clogged drawing pen, he wrote, “Something totally unexpected happened: Within moments, I was having fun drawing again. I was stunned at all the tools the thing offered, all the creative potential it contained. I simply had no idea how far these things had evolved. Perhaps fittingly, the first thing I drew was a caveman.”
“The Far Side” launched a destination site in December, drawing more than 1 million visitors in its first week, according to his distributor, Andrews McMeel Syndication. In May, the site — which had featured “Far Side” reruns and previously unpublished sketches — won a People’s Voice Webby award for best humor site.
“‘The Far Side’s’ millions of fans have been loyally faithfully reading Gary’s old work for years while eternally hoping that someday he would reemerge,” Andrews McMeel chief executive Andy Sareyan told The Washington Post. “With all the madness in the news these days, the timing of Gary’s absurdist view and comic relief just couldn’t be better.”
“Gary Larson coming back to the drawing table — or iPad — is what I’ll remember 2020 for. Yeah that! And only that,” said Liniers, the nom de toon of Argentinian cartoonist Ricardo Siri, on Thursday with winking jubilation. Liniers, who creates the syndicated strip “Macanudo,” posted a cartoon on Twitter on Tuesday cheering Larson’s return.
In hailing Larson’s return, Liniers notes how influential “The Far Side” was to him. Reading “The Far Side” as a boy, Liniers realized Larson “wasn’t going for normal punchlines. He was going for the nonsensical and surprising,” Liniers said. “Then I couldn’t get enough."
“He’s been a huge influence in my work. I’ve tried my best to be as out there as Mr. Larson, but let’s face it. I’m that little kid pushing the door with the pull sign at the Midvale School for the gifted and he’s Albert Einstein,” continues Liniers, referencing a classic “Far Side” cartoon.
Dave Coverly, creator of the popular single-panel cartoon “Speed Bump” welcomes Larson’s reemergence.
“Speaking as a fan, I’m looking forward to the laughs again,” he said. “Speaking as a cartoonist, I’m looking forward to discovering what the time off has done to his perspective and if he takes the panel in any new directions.”
Fans hailed the news on social media, with one tweeting that “It’s not the Far Side but it is.”
In 1995, Larson, “Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson and “Bloom County”/“Outland” creator Berkeley Breathed all left the comics pages, leaving readers clamoring for more work from the highly popular artists. Breathed, a children’s book author, resurrected “Bloom County” in 2015, and Watterson made a brief return by rendering a week’s worth of “Pearls Before Swine” strips as a guest artist in 2014.
Larson wrote what he enjoyed drawing in “The Far Side” was “that sense of exploring, reaching for something, taking some risks, sometimes hitting a home run and sometimes coming up with ‘Cow tools.’ (Let’s not get into that.)”
Now, he wrote: “So here goes. I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got this cool gizmo, and I’ve got no deadlines. And — to borrow from Sherlock Holmes — the game is afoot.”