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Gary Larson

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Occupation  cartoonist (retired)
Role  Cartoonist
Name  Gary Larson
Nationality  American

A caricature by Gary Larson, has grass field with fence at the left, with three cows, from the back a cow is walking, in the middle a cow with a bell is chewing a grass, at the bottom is a cow eating from the grass, below is a word “Hey, wait a minute! This is grass! We’ve been eating grass!”

Born  August 14, 1950 (age 73) Tacoma, Washington (1950-08-14)
Movies  Gary Larson's Tales from The Far Side
Parents  Doris Larson, Verner Larson
Education  Washington State University, Curtis Senior High School
Awards  Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year
Books  The Complete Far Side, The Far Side Gallery, The Far Side Gallery 3, The Far Side Gallery 5, The Far Side Gallery 2

Similar  Bill Watterson, Garry Trudeau, Berkeley Breathed

The far side 1986 gary larson interview on 20 20

Gary Larson (born August 14, 1950) is an American cartoonist. He is the creator of The Far Side, a single-panel cartoon series that was syndicated internationally to over 1,900 newspapers for fifteen years. The series ended with Larson's retirement on January 1, 1995. His twenty-three books of collected cartoons have combined sales of more than forty-five million copies.


A caricature by Gary Larson, from left a man standing holding a bow, has mustache wearing white long sleeve, a hat and eyeglasses, at the right is a boy standing in front of the tree, with an apple in his head, has black hair wearing a long sleeve and pants, with a speech bubble saying “C’mon, Dad! Shoot the apple! Shoot the apple!” Below is a word “ Unknown to most historians, William Tell had an older and less fortunate son named Warren.

Gary larson quote

Early life and education

In the red Background Gary Larson is smiling with his left hand over his forehead, has white hair wearing eyeglasses black bracelet and black shirt.

Larson was born and raised in University Place, Washington, in suburban Tacoma, the son of Verner, a car salesman, and Doris, a secretary. He graduated from Curtis Senior High School in University Place and from Washington State University in Pullman with a degree in communications. During high school and college, he played jazz guitar and banjo.

A caricature by Gary Larson, at the top is the title THE FAR SIDE By GARY LARSONIn the middle, is the caricature, has two monkeys on a tree with vines and leaves, from left, monkey picking up hairs at the back of another monkey, at the right a monkey just sitting still on top of a branch. Below is the words “Well, well - another bland hair. … Conducting a little more ‘research’ with that Jane Goodall tramp?” at the bottom right is Gary Larson’s signature.

Larson said his family has "a morbid sense of humor", and that he was influenced by the "paranoid" sense of humor of his older brother, Dan. Dan played pranks on Gary, for example by taking advantage of his fear of monsters under the bed by waiting in the closet for the right moment to pounce. Dan "scared the hell out of me" whenever he could, Gary said, but Dan also nurtured Gary's love of scientific knowledge. They caught animals in Puget Sound and placed them in terrariums in the basement, and also made a small desert ecosystem.

Early cartoon work

A caricature by Gary Larson, in a river with grass land and trees, a two alligator, laying on the ground with a broken kayak, a paddle, a hat in the river, an eyeglass and a ragged shirt on the land next to alligators. Below are the words “That was incredible. No fur, No claws, horns, antlers, or nothin’ … just soft and pink.”

According to Larson in his anthology The Prehistory of The Far Side, he was working in a music store when he took a few days off, after finally realizing how much he hated his job. During that Time, he decided to try cartooning. In 1976, he drew six cartoons and submitted them to Pacific Search (afterwards Pacific Northwest Magazine), a Seattle-based magazine. After contributing to another local Seattle paper, in 1979 Larson submitted his work to The Seattle Times. Under the title Nature's Way, his work was published weekly next to the Junior Jumble.

At the top is the title the THE FAR SIDE By GARY LARSON, in the middle A caricature by Gary Larson, outside the window two men arrived from a boat, from left a man sitting on the boat wearing a white hat and a shirt, at the right is a man walking out of the boat, wearing a hat, shirt and shorts. inside a room with three people inside, from left a man, standing, holding a VCR, a telephone has black hair and nose piercing, wearing a leaves at bottom, 2nd from left a man, standing, has black hair and nose piercing, wearing a leaves at bottom, 3rd from left, a man standing, tv and a lamp has black hair and nose piercing, wearing a leaves at bottom, below is a word “Anthropologists! Anthropologists!”

To supplement his income, Larson worked for the Humane Society as a cruelty investigator.

The Far Side

In a room with a large window, Gary Larson is smiling, sitting, looking to his left, has brown hair, and is wearing a checkered polo shirt.

Larson decided that he could increase his income from cartooning by selling his Nature's Way strip to another newspaper. While on vacation in San Francisco, he pitched his work to the San Francisco Chronicle and, to his surprise, the Chronicle bought the strip and promoted it for syndication, renaming it The Far Side. Its first appearance in the Chronicle was on January 1, 1980. A week later, The Seattle Times dropped Nature’s Way. The Far Side ran for fifteen years, syndicated initially by Chronicle Features and later by Universal Press Syndicate, until Larson retired with his final strip published on January 1, 1995.

A caricature by Gary Larson, in a snow field and lake with two snow bears and an igloo, from left a snow bear eating the igloo, at the right a snow bear standing looking at the igloo.Below is the word “Oh, hey! I just love these things! … Crunchy on the outside and chewy center!”

Themes in The Far Side were often surreal, such as “How cows behave when no human watches” or "The unexpected dangers of being an insect." Often, the behavior of supposedly superior humans was compared with animals. For instance, a father explains to his son that a bird song is a territorial marking common to the lower animals, while surrounded by fences and dense housing. Animals and other creatures were frequently presented anthropomorphically: one strip depicts a family of spiders driving in a car with a "Have a Nice Day" bumper sticker, featuring a "smiley face" with eight eyes.

One of Larson's more famous cartoons shows a chimpanzee couple grooming. The female finds a blonde human hair on the male and inquires, "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" A representative from the Jane Goodall Institute thought that this was in bad taste and wrote a critical letter to Larson regarding the cartoon. Larson contacted the Goodall institute personally to apologize only to find that Jane Goodall herself, who was in Africa at the time of the cartoon's publication and only learned of it years after its initial publication, approved of it, stating that she found it amusing. Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon go to the Goodall Institute. Goodall wrote a preface to The Far Side Gallery 5, detailing her version of the "Jane Goodall Tramp" controversy. She praised Larson's creative ideas, which often compare and contrast the behavior of humans and animals. In 1988, Larson visited Gombe Stream National Park and was attacked by Frodo, a chimp described by Goodall as a "bully". Larson sustained cuts and bruises from the encounter.

Larson's Far Side cartoons were syndicated worldwide and published in many collections. They were also reproduced extensively on greeting cards which were very popular, but these were discontinued in March 2009. Two animated versions were produced for television: Tales from the Far Side (1994) and Tales from the Far Side II (1997). A 2007 Far Side calendar donated all author royalties to Conservation International.


By late 1994, Larson thought the series was getting repetitive and did not want to enter what he called the "Graveyard of Mediocre Cartoons." He retired the strip on January 1, 1995. Since retiring from The Far Side, Larson has done occasional cartoon work, including magazine illustrations and promotional artwork for Far Side merchandise.

There's a Hair in My Dirt!: A Worm's Story

In 1998, Larson published his first post-Far Side book There's a Hair in My Dirt!: A Worm's Story, an illustrated book with thematic similarities to The Far Side. The short book tells the story of an earthworm who feels that his life is insignificant. The main plot is told by the young worm's father and follows the beautiful (but slightly dim) human maiden Harriet, who takes a stroll across a woodland trail, encountering different aspects of the ecological world. She admires it but knows little about the land around her, and that eventually leads to her downfall.

The story ends when the young worm realizes that the hair in his dirt is actually a "Harriet" (a hair from the long dead Harriet's body). The story became a New York Times Best Seller on May 24, 1998.

Other works and interests

Larson has been playing jazz guitar since his teen years. He took advanced lessons from two famous jazz guitarists, Remo Palmier and in exchange for guitar lessons from Herb Ellis, he provided him with the cover illustration for the album Doggin' Around (Concord, 1988) by Ellis and bassist Red Mitchell.

Larson drew a cover for the November 17, 2003, edition of The New Yorker magazine, an offer he felt was too prestigious to refuse.

Larson voices himself in the Simpsons 2010 episode "Once Upon a Time in Springfield."

Awards and honors

Larson was awarded the Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award by the National Cartoonists Society in 1985 and 1988. Larson earned the society’s Reuben Award for 1990 and 1994. Larson has been recognized for various individual strips by the National Cartoonist Society in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1995.

On March 15, 1989, a newly discovered insect species was named after Larson by Dale H. Clayton, head of the Committee of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. The Strigiphilus garylarsoni is a chewing louse of a genus found only on owls. Wrote Larson: "I considered this an extreme honor. Besides, I knew no one was going to write and ask to name a new species of swan after me. You have to grab these opportunities when they come along." An 8" x 11" (20 x 28 cm) magnification of the insect appeared in the Prehistory of the Far Side 10th anniversary compilation, along with the letter requesting permission to use his name. Similarly, an Ecuadorian rainforest butterfly was named after him; Serratoterga larsoni. The Garylarsonus beetle carries his name. The term "thagomizer", a feature of stegosaurus anatomy, was coined in a Far Side cartoon.

Personal life

In 1987, Larson married Toni Carmichael, an anthropologist. Early in their relationship, Carmichael became his business manager. "She's my pit bull, but she's a nice one," Larson has said.

In The Complete Far Side, Larson says that his greatest disappointment in life occurred when he was at a luncheon and sat across from cartoonist Charles Addams, creator of The Addams Family. Larson was not able to think of a single thing to say to him and deeply regretted the missed opportunity. (Addams died in 1988.)

In 2013 Larson has asked his fans not to repost his work on the internet. In a public letter, he told fans his work was too personal and important to him to have others take control of it.

Larson is also an outspoken environmentalist. "Protecting wildlife is 'at the top of my list,' he says."


Gary Larson Wikipedia