Friday, September 16, 2011
Gary Larson: Best Single-Panel Cartoonist?
What's considered funny varies from person to person. I find Gary Larson's "The Far Side" cartoons such as those above hysterical: my wife doesn't get them. Nevertheless, she's happy to say "Hi" to Gary and his wife if we cross their path while taking an evening stroll. (The Larsons live in a nicer neighborhood than ours, but only three blocks away from us.)
A lengthy Wikipedia entry on Larson is here.
I'd better qualify this post's headline. By one-panel cartoons, I'm restricting the meaning to syndicated newspaper cartoons, but needed to keep the headline short so didn't elaborate. Single-panel magazine cartoons such as in the New Yorker are another matter, and my top names there would include Charles Addams and Peter Arno.
I enjoyed The Far Side because of the quirky humor, the unexpected situations and his cast of occasionally-reappearing characters and stereotypes. Added to this was his drawing style -- clear and not cluttered layouts coupled with amusingly designed, often dumpy humans, not to mention animals and other creatures with personality. Text and illustration often provided the viewer with several things to chuckle over and not just a punchline.
Consider Gary Larson a cartoonist totally in synch with the times in which he was active.