The Morning Line: Gary Larson's Long Shadow
Has any single-panel cartoon ever left a more mammoth footprint than "The Far Side"?
Cavorting cows. Hostage-taking deer. Punk porcupines. Beehived, cat-eyed dog owners. And of course, all those lab-coated scientists peering through Coke-bottle glasses.
Gary Larson did not invent the animal/science cartoon. But he sure came to own it. Strips such as today's "Brevity," through no criminal fault of its own, cannot help but pale in long-shadowed comparison. Today's cartoon feels like Bio 101 compared with Larson's many inspired cell-dividing scenarios. Mitosis had never been so side-splitting.
This inevitable comparison is why, when drawing "Warped," I increasingly steered away from science gags. No matter how original the idea was, the mere scenario was enough to make the joke play like a rerun.
Perhaps time is finally shortening "Far Side's" shadow a bit. During the holiday shopping season, bookstores were seemingly filled with as many "Argyle Sweater" calendars as "Far Side" ones. Scott Hilburn's funny strip is nearly homage to Larson; and the newest generation of readers may not know their "Far Side."
Then again: The other day, I watched as a 9-year-old relative checked out "The Far Side Gallery" for the first time. She pointed at the plotting cows, the carrion party, the squabbling scientists. And she laughed so heartily that I was assured the strip's appeal won't diminish anytime soon.
Elsewhere 'round the page...
The ramifications in today's "Beetle Bailey" are so disturbing in so many ways. Must we now contend with the realization that Gizmo is amorously attached to his computer and, if so, how long till NBC's "Dateline" comes barging through the barracks door?
And "Spider-Man" demands bold-type attention in the days ahead. Is this mere ploy, or does Spidey have something genuinely "amazing" up his web-slinging sleeve? Stay tuned.
| December 31, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: The Morning Line
Save & Share: Previous: The Political Cartoon: The Staff Cartoonists Who Needed a Moving Van in '08
Next: The E-Mailbag: Guess the Fate of Sally Forth
Posted by: greggwiggins | December 31, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Solnoir | December 31, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: MSchafer | December 31, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mrhode | December 31, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mrhode | December 31, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.