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-   -   Was Gary Larson the best cartoonist there ever was? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=423672)

GuyNblueJeans 06-05-2007 09:41 AM

Was Gary Larson the best cartoonist there ever was?
 
You'll recall, he created 'The Far Side' cartoon and, I think, made millions of dollars due to a lot of papers running it. He retired at a fairly young age. The guy had talent!

Personally, I tended to like those cartoons that he did which depicted scenes of hell. One such cartoon showed this scene where these humans in the background were shown hauling coal in wheelbarrows, and their torment on their faces was very evident, save for one fellow.

In the foreground, there were these two devils wearing black capes and had horns, tails and pitchforks and goatees. And so the one, noticing that the one human was whistling and wearing a happy (though goofy) look, commented to his pal, "You know, I don't think we're getting to him." :dubious:

Do any of you recall a favorite as well? :)

Freezair SilverEye 06-05-2007 09:45 AM

My favorite Far Side cartoon is completely offbeat, but for some strange reason I look at the thing and can't help but laugh:

It had no caption, and merely depicts the interior of "Bob's Ball-Bearing, Banana Peel, and Roller Skate Factory." Or something to that effect.

I don't know why it makes me laugh. You can't even see the people physically fall down, so it's not exactly slapstick. But I'll be darned if it doesn't always get SOME kind of smile out of me.

Close second: The one of the nose-eating flower.

Mama Tiger 06-05-2007 09:48 AM

My favorite Gary Larson cartoon? Two dogs sitting there, waiting for dinner, and one saying to the other, "Oh, boy! Dog food AGAIN!"

MichaelQReilly 06-05-2007 09:51 AM

I can't think of a specific example right now, but any of the Far Sides involving scientists or cavemen was pretty sure to be hilarious.

Cat Fight 06-05-2007 09:51 AM

Just one? How cruel. The push/pull mix-up at the school for the gifted will always be a classic, if only because it's happened to the best of us. I have book compilations and must say, those things never, ever get old.

toadspittle 06-05-2007 09:57 AM

Certainly not the best that ever was ... but still one of the greats. I love that his art, while somewhat juvenile, has no relation to other cartoons--his lumpy people, his mono-brow animals... they never remind me of anyone else's stuff.

Zeldar 06-05-2007 09:57 AM

By way of reply I refer you to one of my earliest threads that got over 100 replies: Favorite "Far Side" Memories (MAD, too) which contains many of Larson's more effective works.

anyrose 06-05-2007 10:02 AM

one that has stuck with me since the first day I saw it:
in the background, a farmer is walking from the barn to the house with a basket of eggs; in the foreground, a rooster is walking from the house to the barn carrying a baby.

Another pictures limp chickens scattered around a barnyard, and the sign reads "Boneless Chicken Ranch"

MacTech 06-05-2007 10:02 AM

"Laboratory Peer Pressure"

"Luposlipophobia"

"Antidaeaphobia"

"Hey, look what Zog do!"

there are far too many to narrow it down to one....

ahh, how could i forget....

"The Embarresment of Morning Face"

"Mom, Dad, the Nose Fairy left me a WHOLE QUARTER!!"

Biffy the Elephant Shrew 06-05-2007 10:03 AM

Two words: CAT FUD.

Smitty 06-05-2007 10:06 AM

The kid hiding behind an outhouse blowing a tuba with the crowd at the front staring wide eyed and slightly frightened.

GuyNblueJeans 06-05-2007 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zeldar
By way of reply I refer you to one of my earliest threads that got over 100 replies: Favorite "Far Side" Memories (MAD, too) which contains many of Larson's more effective works.

Great link, Thanks! :cool:

Robot Arm 06-05-2007 10:09 AM

"Fuel? Check. Lights? Check. We've got clearance. Okay, Jack, let's get this baby off the ground."

Lord Ashtar 06-05-2007 10:09 AM

My favorite was never published AFAICT, however it was in The Prehistory of the Far Side. It was a snake that had eaten a baby in a crib, and was now so bloated it couldn't get out. The snake had a really pissed off look on its face. Larson's comments were, "No, you didn't see this. Turn the page."

That's probably the only comic that's ever made me literally laugh out loud.

MacTech 06-05-2007 10:11 AM

A group of Cavemen are standing around, some next to a blackboard, some looking through primitive microscopes, on the blackboard there is a geometric figure with the letters DE on it....

"Early chemists define the Dirt molecule"

Zeldar 06-05-2007 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuyNblueJeans
Great link, Thanks! :cool:

Sure thing. I suspect reviving that thread would amount to the "don't tickle the zombie" violation. I seem to recall other more recent threads along the same line, but can't remember specifics. Maybe a search on "Larson" or "Far Side" could help locate them.

Malthus 06-05-2007 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Ashtar
My favorite was never published AFAICT, however it was in The Prehistory of the Far Side. It was a snake that had eaten a baby in a crib, and was now so bloated it couldn't get out. The snake had a really pissed off look on its face. Larson's comments were, "No, you didn't see this. Turn the page."

That's probably the only comic that's ever made me literally laugh out loud.

:D

Another favorite: an accidental juxtiposition of comic captions between The Far Side and Peanuts. The [i]Peanuts[i] one worked hilariously: it showed Lucy speaking intently to Charlie Brown; the caption something like this: "I see your petrified skull sitting on a shelf". :eek: :D

BrainGlutton 06-05-2007 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuyNblueJeans
Was Gary Larson the best cartoonist there ever was?

Not quite. That would be Gahan Wilson. He did it first and he did it better and he's still doing it. View samples here.

Elendil's Heir 06-05-2007 10:47 AM

Man standing on the sidewalk, leaning against a wall in surgical scrubs as he reads a newspaper. The sign on his storefront says something like, "Bob's Discount Brain Surgery. Ask about our daily special!"

A shipwreck victim stands warily in the surf of a tiny island as a man already there, with a ventriloquist's dummy on his hand, talks to him.
Man: "So where you from, stranger?"
Dummy: "Don't talk to him, man! Swim away as fast as you can!"
Man: "Heh heh heh. My little friend here is just joking."
Dummmy: "No joke! He ate the guy who landed her last week!"

And, of course, the classic "What dogs actually hear when you talk to them" (Blah blah blah blah GINGER") and "What cats actually hear when you talk to them" (silence).

:D

Zeldar 06-05-2007 10:47 AM

There's an even older thread (June, 2002ish) that I didn't know about until now: The Far Side - your favorite along with one from Dec/2002 that includes Larson with other strips: Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side: which was your favorite?

plnnr 06-05-2007 10:57 AM

Being barely able to add 2 + 2 and arrive at 4, I'm partial to "The Math Phobic's Nightmare":

A recently dead person is standing at the Pearly Gates before St. Peter, who is saying, "A train leaves Boston at 3:45. Another train leaves Chicago at...do you need a pencil?"

Zeldar 06-05-2007 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plnnr
Being barely able to add 2 + 2 and arrive at 4, I'm partial to "The Math Phobic's Nightmare":

A recently dead person is standing at the Pearly Gates before St. Peter, who is saying, "A train leaves Boston at 3:45. Another train leaves Chicago at...do you need a pencil?"

Not meant as a hijack at all, but this reminds me of one where St. Peter is interviewing three guys at the gates and asks them progressively more difficult questions. It seems there may have been an ethnic tone involved. All I can remember of the third question is the punchline to the joke: "Name them."

Did it have to do with the survivors of the Holocaust? Maybe the Supreme Court Chief Justices? In any case, the first two questions were much simpler.

George Kaplin 06-05-2007 11:11 AM

Fear the THAGOMIZER!

Lord Ashtar 06-05-2007 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malthus
:D

Another favorite: an accidental juxtiposition of comic captions between The Far Side and Peanuts. The [i]Peanuts[i] one worked hilariously: it showed Lucy speaking intently to Charlie Brown; the caption something like this: "I see your petrified skull sitting on a shelf". :eek: :D

Nitpick - It was Dennis the Menace, not Peanuts.

dogbutler 06-05-2007 11:32 AM

"Anthropologists! Anthropologists!"

Lucky 13 06-05-2007 11:43 AM

I cuss, you cuss, we all cuss for asparagus.

Rhythmdvl 06-05-2007 11:43 AM

Another one of those awe-blah-ess-pan-yoll sounds!!


(Sorry for the paraphrase)

RealityChuck 06-05-2007 11:47 AM

No.

Oh, he was great, no doubt. But he isn't up to people like George Herriman, Walt Kelly, Windsor McKay, or Crockett Johnson.

Surbey 06-05-2007 11:50 AM

favorite is this.

In the window you see a couple of cows gathering around a cow who is sitting on a fence. When you pull back you see a farmer, looking out his window at this scene, with his hand on a switch.

Caption- Cow: "If it was electric, could I do this?"

The anticipation is just too much for me to handle. LOVE IT!

Sublight 06-05-2007 11:52 AM

I'd hesitate to call him the best ever, but he's waaay ahead of the pack and definitely a front-runner.

Two favorites:

1. A doorway inside a house, with a bar about 3/4th up and a huge gouge out of the top, like something round-ish was smashed into it. On the chair next to the doorway is an open box labelled "Chin-up bar". At the bottom of the doorway are the feet of a person lying on the floor in the next room.

No captions, no dialog, but says so much.

2. The frog that "caught" the airplane. The expression on the poor frog's face is absolutely hysterical. link

Contrapuntal 06-05-2007 11:54 AM

Best ever? Not even close. He was a one trick pony with a couple of nice variations, nothing more.

SaharaTea 06-05-2007 11:57 AM

1. June 24, 1876: Custer's last group photo (Custer and his men holding up "We're No. 1" signs and grinning into the camera.

2. "Call of the Calf" by Zeek.

Nothing comes close to CAT FUD though. All-time favorite.

Hypno-Toad 06-05-2007 12:02 PM

"Notice gentlemen, that the faster I go, the more Johnson sounds like a motor boat."

MadTheSwine 06-05-2007 12:03 PM

I like the one that has pilot and copilot flying their plane towards a huge cloud bank with the top part of a mountain goat visible through the clouds.

Caption reads "What's a mountain goat doing up here in the clouds?"

Acsenray 06-05-2007 12:16 PM

Cow tools.


Because it was so bizarre and incomprehensible. (By Larson's own admission, he didn't even consider what the tools might be used for.)

cmkeller 06-05-2007 12:21 PM

"Me Tarzan! You Jane" (Damn...)

RTFirefly 06-05-2007 12:25 PM

One weakness of Larson's was that the 'math' on his blackboards was totally meaningless gibberish. As a math geek, that's one thing I deeply appreciated about Bill Amend's Foxtrot - the math shown in the strip was the real deal.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus 06-05-2007 12:36 PM

Oh, god yes! I love all the "caveman" ones--"Future Werld", "Early scientists describe the first dirt molecule", "Prehistoric Waiting Rooms" (Magazine: Cave & Tuber, add for Paleozoic Lights).

My understanding is that Larson didn't want to keep producing after the well of inspiration dried up. He wouldn't have been the first to do that by any means. But that being the case, I wonder why he couldn't find a venue where he would only have to do one occasionaly? Like the New Yorker? He's ten times as funny as Gahan Wilson.

rhythmonly 06-05-2007 12:42 PM

I've always liked the one that showed the poor, ragged guy crawling through the desert, in the broiling sun.

He crawls up to a guy on horseback, who says "Peanut Butter Sandwich?".

BrainGlutton 06-05-2007 12:44 PM

COW (in horror/disgust): "Wait a minute! This stuff is grass! We've been eating grass!"

silenus 06-05-2007 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SaharaTea
Nothing comes close to CAT FUD though. All-time favorite.

I now find myself unable to spell it any other way on the shopping list.

Shoeless 06-05-2007 12:49 PM

I can't seem to find it in any of my Far Side books but I swear I remember a Far Side with a view over the shoulder of Abraham Lincoln with a speech in front of him, and written on the page you can see:

"So then the bartender says, 'Hey wait, that's not a duck!'

(wait for applause)

Four score and seven years ago..."

plnnr 06-05-2007 12:52 PM

IIRC, the bony spikes on a Stegosaurus tail are now known as the "Thagomizers" after a Far Side Cartoon.

Infovore 06-05-2007 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew
Two words: CAT FUD.

Not only did you beat me to the cartoon, you beat me to the exact way I was going to word my post! :)

Shodan 06-05-2007 01:40 PM

Little Billy and Susie, who look in horror at the boogie man, who is at the door.

The mother: "Why yes - we do have two children here who won't eat their vegetables."

Regards,
Shodan

John DiFool 06-05-2007 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir
Man standing on the sidewalk, leaning against a wall in surgical scrubs as he reads a newspaper. The sign on his storefront says something like, "Bob's Discount Brain Surgery. Ask about our daily special!"

A shipwreck victim stands warily in the surf of a tiny island as a man already there, with a ventriloquist's dummy on his hand, talks to him.
Man: "So where you from, stranger?"
Dummy: "Don't talk to him, man! Swim away as fast as you can!"
Man: "Heh heh heh. My little friend here is just joking."
Dummmy: "No joke! He ate the guy who landed her last week!"

Man: "Shut up Gus!" [the dummy] "So what's your name friend?"
Gus: "He's mad! Mad, I tell you!"

That, like a lot of his best stuff, works on so many levels at once.

Elendil's Heir 06-05-2007 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zeldar
Not meant as a hijack at all, but this reminds me of one where St. Peter is interviewing three guys at the gates and asks them progressively more difficult questions. It seems there may have been an ethnic tone involved. All I can remember of the third question is the punchline to the joke: "Name them."

Did it have to do with the survivors of the Holocaust? Maybe the Supreme Court Chief Justices? In any case, the first two questions were much simpler.

As I remember the joke, the progressively-more-difficult questions were, "What ship hit an iceberg and sank in 1912?" "How many people died?" and "Name them."

(And a nitpick: it would be "Chief Justices of the United States." See 28 U.S. Code 1.)

Elendil's Heir 06-05-2007 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plnnr
IIRC, the bony spikes on a Stegosaurus tail are now known as the "Thagomizers" after a Far Side Cartoon.

Yup. See post 23.

Ludovic 06-05-2007 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Ashtar
Nitpick - It was Dennis the Menace, not Peanuts.

And it was at dinner. The Far Side's caveman, who was seeing a caveman gypsy psychic, was being told "Oh no -- meatloaf AGAIN!"

Zeldar 06-05-2007 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir
As I remember the joke, the progressively-more-difficult questions were, "What ship hit an iceberg and sank in 1912?" "How many people died?" and "Name them."

(And a nitpick: it would be "Chief Justices of the United States." See 28 U.S. Code 1.)

That's it! Thanks. The Supreme Court thing was just a teaser.


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