Looks like I’m starting my #EveryBookEver deep-dive with books that informed my sense of humor and made me the
pariah er… beloved internet celebrity I am today.
The Far Side was probably my favorite syndicated newspaper comic strip (narrowly beating out Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and even in my younger more naive days, Garfield. Gary Larson’s bizarre world made sense to a young me, and even the jokes I didn’t get felt like jokes I should get. There’s an unspoken unknowableness of the adult world, and specifically of the adult humor world, that felt like a mystery I needed to solve. I don’t think I ever uttered the phrase “this was before my time” when faced with things I didn’t have a cultural reference to – instead I just sort of tried to work them out.
Beside all that, the strip had science in it and I was a big fan of scientists, dinosaurs, aliens, and women with beehive hairdos.
Most importantly to this project, The PreHistory of The Far Side was not just any compilation of comic strips, but rather a behind-the-scenes look at how Gary Larson started the strip, how publishing worked (but not so dry a look that would turn off a kiddish Frank), and featured early cartoon drafts, self-effacing humor, and outtakes. I finally got to understand some of the whys behind the weird!
I borrowed a tattered copy from a grade-school friend and seemed to have bought my own copies whenever I found one on sale at a thrift shop or what have you. I mean, you always need to have a lender copy around just in case, right?
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