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The Complete Far Side, 1980–1994

4.68  ·  Rating details ·  6,262 ratings  ·  180 reviews
A New York Times best-seller!

"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

Hardcover, 1272 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
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Average rating 4.68  · 
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 ·  6,262 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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Gary Larson’s Far Side was pure MAGIC...
farsidewaxmanv2 ...and when it burst on the scene like a talking, cow-shaped comet in 1980, the strip was like nothing the newspaper funnies had ever seen. Penguinv2
While its single panel format and light-hearted depiction of awkward social situations and shared pain bore some resemblance to earlier comics like Ziggy and Larson’s own Nature’s Way, The Far Side was an anthropomorphic animal all its own, and dominated the public’s consciousness for the decade and a half that it
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, favorites, comics

This is the best collection of Gary Larson's artwork simply because it includes (almost) every single one of the daily syndicated comics that he penned over the years, from 1980 to 1994. As a bonus, the reader gets posters and yearly introductions from the author, detailing the creative process, the source of inspiration and wacky anecdotes related to the series. I've spaced out my lecture over almost a whole year, in order to prolong the pleasure and avoid 'overeating' a favourite 'dish', yet
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2000s, dewey700s, humor
One of the benefits of working in a public library was opening those boxes of new books.
With the Far Side series, I usually ordered multiple copies, sending a couple to a bindery for extended shelf life. Many, most, of the worthy cartoon format books, the 741.5s, don't have library quality bindings.
Of course I read a copy, when it was fresh out of the box, then re-read as needed in following months and years.
This review represents my pleasure for all of Mr Larson's books. Wonderful humor and
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I built a lectern/bookshelf just to keep this collection on display. My favorite? Hard to say, but it's tough to beat "Early chemists discuss the nature of dirt."
Candy Atkins
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Warning: If you keep it in your bathroom your guests stay in there much longer than should be necessary.
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've loved The Far Side since my first brush with it. My local paper used to publish a lovely, full color comic book with their Sunday edition. Alas, it's gone now. If there's anything in the Sunday paper of the same quality as The Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes, I would dearly like to know about it.

At any rate, I always loved The Far Side, though I didn't always understand it. Like so many other childhood memories, there's always the question of if it'll hold up when revisited. Not a problem
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Flannery by: My dad
Shelves: lolz, favorites
If I am ever feeling shitty, I know I can laugh my brains out of my ears if I pick up this 2-volume set. Sure, it is pretty heavy and it kind of cuts off my circulation when I leave it on my lap for too long, but that is the only negative about this collection. Gary Larson is a comedic genius and The Far Side is one of the only comics I think is even remotely funny. (how does the Garfield writer keep winning awards? I am baffled.)If you are thinking of purchasing this set, DO IT. You won't ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, funny
this was one of the best gifts I have ever received. I love Larson's warped, intellegent humor. An enjoyable part of these books are the hate mail and letters he gets from confused and humorless readers. This collection always brings a smile to my face, and the frequent out-loud chuckle.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Scientists, people with a strange sense of humour
This belongs on the shelf with my ‘Complete Calvin and Hobbes’ collection. This set is beautifully designed and presented. Gary Larson's cartoons are brilliantly perverse and funny. Larson is an artist/cartoonist who is never afraid to challenge his readers, and his ‘Far Side’ is a collection of the strange, the bizarre and the downright weird. I particularly like the fact that he sides most often with the animals he portrays more so than the humans (another similarity with Calvin and Hobbes) ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This compendium weighs a ton. No kidding.
A delightfully inspired packaging of "all things FAR SIDE" from the looney talking cows all the way to conspiratorial chipmunks. Wonderfully packaged but very, very, very expensive, this two volume set includes occasional essays (yes, I said essays) from the genius Larson himself covering such items of the nature of "what I was thinking when I drew ___" to "gosh, I'm sure sorry this thing is going to weigh so much." Of course, there's no apology for the
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
Love love love The Far Side. It has long been my favorite comic strip. Back in the early 90s I used to clip the daily cartoon out of the newspaper and collect them. Later I enjoyed several years of the daily calendar.

I have learned one thing from reading this collection, though. The Far Side is best enjoyed a little at a time, and for me isn't as good when reading through dozens of cartoons in one sitting. I began to notice certain themes or jokes that recurred in various cartoons, for example.

Lisa Vegan
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a sense of humor, science buffs, Far Side fans
In my opinion, this is by far the funniest and most brilliant cartoon collection out there. This 2 book set contains all the Far Side cartoons that Gary Larson created, and there are some real gems in here. (I also have all the earlier Far Side books as well. I've been a huge fan from the beginning.) Exceptionally funny and intelligent.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The greatest single-panel comic ever, no question about it. There are dozens of head-scratchers in here (and I'm reasonably intelligent), a few duds and hundreds of laugh-out-loud funny comics. My only complaint is that there's just too much. Better to leaf through on a cold winter afternoon than sit down and try to bomb through the whole thing at once.
Noran Miss Pumkin
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those of good humor
Recommended to Noran by: myself-actually i gifted this to my hubby
Shelves: humor
for humor the delights the brain, as well the heart and soul, this set is a must for all the grieved and wore cow bands in mourning, then this twisted comic stopped it's run. i still refer to cat food as fud because of this man's evil genius.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, cartoons
I'm dinging this a star for presentation. Often, there are three or even four strips a page, which, even in this oversize format, means that some strips are printed at smaller than their original size which wasn't generous to begin with). I get that even so the book is over 1200 pages long, so there were practical reasons for such a decision, but it nevertheless impacts negatively on the reading experience. Otherwise, it's hard to complain about a comprehensive collection of one of the great ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand, I love Larson's wry, sometimes obscure sense of humor (this edition includes several letters from readers begging him to explain specific comics). His art style is one of my all time favorites in the world of comic strips. On the other hand, this kind of compendium does his comics a disservice. They are, it seems, best suited to the kind of one-a-day format one gets from the newspaper or even a desk calendar. Seeing/reading them all in succession like this I was able to pick up ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gary Larson was an innovator. On the edge of ‘the fine line’ sometimes, weird, odd ball, and satiric. I hated that the odd time there would be one I didn’t get ... I feel like (probably smugly) there is a certain amount of smarts required to fully enjoy The Far Side and I didn’t like feeling I didn’t have those smarts. I will say that the majority of his comics are awesome, but I especially love the ones that catch you by surprise and make you snicker or spit laugh out loud.
Ken Yuen
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome nostalgia trip. Gary Larson's one panel stories about crazy animals, strange people, aliens, and everything inbetween will always be a classic for me. Although it's not as popular as Calvin and Hobbes, I would definitely recommend this comic series to the younger generation.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fun, 2018, comic, humor
Done! It took a long time to read The Complete Far Side. It was worth it. For the last couple of years I've worried that I'm losing my sense of humor. Nope. Humor has changed, not me.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Because this is a complete set, you'll be easily able to pick up on variations of theme. Old west, islands, deserts, fish out of water, people in water, cows, etc. As I flipped through the pages I'd sometimes feel as if I could set up a 3 axis model with elements of the comics and predict what I would come upon next. Which isn't to say he was repeating himself (though sometimes it felt repetitive).

Mark McTague
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yes, at 18 pounds for the two-volume hardbound set, it's a mite hefty, but it's worth it. Genius must be respected.
Ika Natassa
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
we all need an honest full laugh sometimes, and i looooove gary larson! a friend introduced me to gary when i was hanging out at his house and found this book there that he said he brought home from canada. gary is ... well, what can i say, he has this really satiric, light, yet deep way (not in you're-gonna-squint-your-eyes-thinking-hard kind of way, but in a i'm-gonna-laugh-my-pants-off kind of way). there's this really funny strip that i remember: a guy is picking up a girl in a bar and the ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of the better comics series drawn to date, The Far Side's brand of humor cannot be imitated. It's not dark (early comics notwithstanding) so much as it is slightly twisted. It offers perspectives on science from Neanderthals, pranks from cows, and rather blasé reactions to bizarre, freakish accidents and incidents. It seems to come directly from some deep part of the human psyche that takes joy when things add up wrongly. There's no real way to describe what's going on in this book, but it's ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't think of one more funny and 'complete' cartoonist. His name would be at the top of my list. Although his earlier artwork seemed juvenile, unrefined, but very insightful and funny, those quirky characters with slits for eyes or an "o" for a mouth became a contemporary classic legend. His 'rudimentary' style worked perfectly with his extraordinary sense of absurdity. Admittedly there were some panels that could seem 'over the top' for many sensitive minds but the man is legend and began a ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There isn't too much to say about the Far Side - funny stuff that is a huge part of the culture I grew up in.

As for these volumes - they are great. Nice, well-printed with essays and insights. I only wish there was more note owes and reflections inside, but the cartoons really are the reason to get this set, of course.

Super enjoyable.

One minor criticism - I wish that all the material from Pre-history of the Far Side was included.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Realistically, I having delved through all three volumes of this set, but it is a great compilation. Not only does it have a nice, library-bound profile, but it also has detailed information about almost every comic. Sometimes this information is a chuckle from the author, other times it is a complete explanation of how the joke came to be.

It sits up in my room next to my Calvin and Hobbes set. They're both so heavy, that I can't put them on the bookshelves in the library downstairs.
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Williwaw by: wawilliW
What a beautifully-designed, slip-cased set! Lots of extras by Larson, his friends, and his readers. Whenever I can't decide what to read (which is often), I'll turn to these volumes.

This goes well with my Gahan Wilson slip-cased set (although it dwarfs Gahan) and my Don Martin slip-cased set.

What can I say? I love slip-cases, and I love good cartoons! These guys are among the best ever, in my humble opinion.

Some day, maybe I'll buy the Complete Calvin & Hobbes.
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny-literature, art
There are not enough stars for this one. I love it.

This is my absolute favorite:
Superman needs change

And here are some other of my favorites:

my review in Spanish
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, kids-teens
like with the calvin and hobbes super-set, i'm kind of cheating b/c i don't really have this particulaer version of the far side, but i've read every single far side thing larson has like ever produced, and i don't feel like putting out a review for each and every collection 'cause i feel the same about them all....they rock. his comics are so twisted sometimes that i often times look back and think how the hell did this ued to get published with crap like the family circle?
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes humorous comics :)
Shelves: special-books
As I believe most fans were, I was pretty sad when Gary Larson put up his pen for good. This incredible set includes all of his Far Side comics in 2 beautiful hardback books 3x thicker than most coffee table books (each). I bought it as soon as it came out and dove in. I go back and read them all at least once a year, his cartoons have made me laugh til my sides hurt sometimes, and I'm so glad they came out with this. ... I just wish it came with a Hunky man to lug it around for me ;)
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Missing stuff 1 33 Aug 08, 2008 09:49AM  

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Gary Larson was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. His parents were Vern, a car salesman, and Doris, a secretary. He attended Curtis High School before attending Washington State University and graduated in 1972 with a degree in communications. In 1987, Larson married Toni Carmichael, an archaeologist.

Larson credits his older brother Dan for his "paranoid" sense of humor. Dan would pull
“Welcome to Hell. Here's your accordion.” 149 likes
“If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is around to hear it, and it hits a mime, does anyone care?” 35 likes
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