The Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson released his first new work in 25 years Tuesday, posting three cartoons to his website and revealing his digital debut.
Larson, 69, retired in 1995 citing deadline exhaustion but fans have still clamored for more ever since.
A website was launched just last year that republished selections from The Far Side classics but Tuesday’s reveals are the first new cartoons to emerge in more than two decades.
Larson wrote on the site that the latest creations are a result of him ‘having fun drawing again’ after he discovered making cartoons using digital tools.
The Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson released his first new work in 25 years Tuesday, pictured above, on a website created to display his older work that launched last December
Larson, 69, retired in 1995 and fans have been hungry for new cartoons ever since
In a new section of the site named ‘The New Stuff’, Larson warns ‘Enter if you dare’ as he explains his unexpected return.
‘The thing is, I thoroughly enjoyed my career as a syndicated cartoonist, and I hope, in spirit at least, we had some laughs together’ he wrote.
‘But after fifteen years of meeting deadlines, well, blah blah blah … you know the rest. The day after I retired from syndication, it felt good not to draw on a deadline. And after moving on to other interests, drawing just wasn’t on my to-do list. Things change.’
The cartoonist then explains that he still kept creating cartoons but only for an annual Christmas card to his wife for which he generally used his traditional pen.
‘Once a year, I’d sit myself down to take on Santa, and every year it began with the same ritual: me cursing at, and then cleaning out, my clogged pen,’ he said.
‘So a few years ago—finally fed up with my once-loyal but now reliably traitorous pen—I decided to try a digital tablet.’
Larson said that though a struggle to get accustomed to, the transition to a digital method and the new tools offered sparked his interest in drawing again and made him want to learn more.
‘I simply had no idea how far these things had evolved. Perhaps fittingly, the first thing I drew was a caveman,’ he joked.
‘The “New Stuff” that you’ll see here is the result of my journey into the world of digital art,’ Larson then explained.
‘Believe me, this has been a bit of a learning curve for me. I hail from a world of pen and ink, and suddenly I was feeling like I was sitting at the controls of a 747.
Gary Larson, pictured above in 1985, said that he rediscovered a love of drawing cartoons when a clogged pen drove him to take up digital tools and discover a new method
Larson’s work with The Far Side has featured in nearly 2,000 newspapers and 40 million books across the world. Pictured, his cartoons at the Museum of Natural History in New York
‘But as overwhelmed as I was, there was still something familiar there—a sense of adventure.
‘So here goes. I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got this cool gizmo, and I’ve got no deadlines.’
He warned fans, however, that this is not the return of The Far Side but a place for him to begin ‘exploring, experimenting, and trying stuff’.
The first three new cartoons depict four bears picnicking on Cub Scouts, a man hailing a taxidermist and two aliens out hunting and planning a ‘probe and release’ of a man approaching in a truck.
They are also rendered in a painterly style instead of his familiar line art but still feature Larsen’s signature humor.
His return has been heralded by fans and other cartoonists eager to see Larson’s latest creations in the digital age.
‘He’s back! We missed you Gary Larson,’ tweeted Liniers, otherwise known as Argentinian cartoonist Ricardo Siri, who created a carton to welcome his return.
Pictured, select covers from The Far Side in the 1980s. The cartoons ran from 1980 until their creator Gary Larson decided to retire in 1995, citing deadline exhaustion
The return of new cartoons from Larson has been welcomes by fans. Pictured, a 1980s cartoon
Liniers told the Washington Post that Larson was a ‘huge influence in my work’.
The daily The Far Side features ran from 1980 until Larson’s retirement in 1995.
The single-panel cartoon first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle before growing to feature in nearly 2,000 newspapers and 40 million book, according to CNN.
With his work, Larson has sold 77 million calendars and been translated into more than 17 languages.
The Far Side website launched just last December and drew in more than a million visitors in its first week, according to the Washington Post, showing the extent to which Larson’s fans were still eager see his work.
Despite just displaying already published work, in May the site won a People’s Voice Webby award for best humor site.
‘The Far Side’s’ millions of fans have been loyally faithfully reading Gary’s old work for years while eternally hoping that someday he would reemerge,’ Andy Sareyan, chief executive of Andrews McMeel, the distributor of the site, told The Washington Post.
‘With all the madness in the news these days, the timing of Gary’s absurdist view and comic relief just couldn’t be better.’