Gary Larson / The Far Side
Born: August 14, 1950, in Tacoma, Washington
I would love to upload some FAR SIDE cartoons onto this page because GARY LARSON (left) is a genius, but I am unable to because of the following letter. I don't necessarily have a problem with it; it's just an explanation of why there are no commuting dogs hanging out of buses on this page.
"Things can be low on the food chain,
but that doesn't mean they're lowly."
"[If you don't understand a cartoon's joke], turn the page. Go on with your life. It could be that the cartoonist tried to be creative and blew it. Sometimes, when I hear the analysis people come up with [about Far Side comics], I think, 'They're shooting way too high. I wasn't trying to be that deep.'"
RE: Online Use of Far Side Cartoons
I'm walking a fine line here.
On the one hand, I confess to finding it quite flattering that some of my fans have created web sites displaying and/or distributing my work on the Internet. And, on the other, I'm struggling to find the words that convincingly but sensitively persuade these Far Side enthusiasts to "cease and desist" before they have to read these words from some lawyer.
What impact this unauthorized use has had (and is having) in tangible terms is, naturally, of great concern to my publishers and therefore to me -- but it's not the focus of this letter. My effort here is to try and speak to the intangible impact, the emotional cost to me, personally, of seeing my work collected, digitized, and offered up in cyberspace beyond my control.
Years ago I was having lunch one day with the cartoonist Richard Guindon, and the subject came up how neither one of us ever solicited or accepted ideas from others. But, until Richard summed it up quite neatly, I never really understood my own aversions to doing this: "It's like having someone else write in your diary," he said. And how true that statement rang with me. In effect, we drew cartoons that we hoped would be entertaining or, at the very least, not boring; but regardless, they would always come from an intensely personal, and therefore original perspective.
To attempt to be "funny" is a very scary, risk-laden proposition. (Ask any stand-up comic who has ever "bombed" on stage.) But if there was ever an axiom to follow in this business, it would be this: be honest to yourself and -- most important -- respect your audience.
So, in a nutshell (probably an unfortunate choice of words for me), I only ask that this respect be returned, and the way for anyone to do that is to please, please refrain from putting The Far Side out on the Internet. These cartoons are my "children," of sorts, and like a parent, I'm concerned about where they go at night without telling me. And, seeing them at someone's web site is like getting the call at 2:00 a.m. that goes, "Uh, Dad, you're not going to like this much, but guess where I am."
I hope my explanation helps you to understand the importance this has for me, personally, and why I'm making this request.
Please send my "kids" home. I'll be eternally grateful.
Most respectfully, Gary Larson
"Only for the phony is commercialism - the bending of creativity to common utility - a naughty word.
To the truly creative, it is a bridge to the great audience, a means of sharing rather than debasing."