• ‘The Far Side' comic strip hints its return after 24-year hiatus

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    The cartoonist who brought you the boneless chicken ranch and Mount Stoogemore may be coming back.

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    Gary Larson, whose off-the-wall, one-panel cartoon strip "The Far Side" produced laughs from 1980 to 1995, hinted as much on "The Far Side" website. A cartoon drawn by Larson showed a man with a blowtorch thawing a block of ice that contained some of Larson's more familiar characters.

    Underneath the drawing is a message -- “Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen. A new online era of 'The Far Side' is coming!”

    The website, dormant for years, has been maintained by syndicator Andrews McMeel Universal, according to The Oregonian.

    Larson, 69, created a cult following with his cartoons, The New York Times reported. The strip was syndicated in more than 1,900 newspapers, running from Jan, 1, 1980, to Jan. 1, 1995. The strip expanded to merchandising items like day-by-day calendars, coffee mugs, T-shirts and even greeting cards, the newspaper reported.

    "The Far Side" brand was pulling in an estimated $500 million before Larson announced his retirement in October 1994, according to the Times.

    Comic strips began to fade near the end of the 20th century, coinciding with the decline of newspapers. Berke Breathed ended "Bloom County" in 1989, and Bill Watterson stopped drawing "Calvin & Hobbes" in 1995, The Oregonian reported.

    "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schultz's death in 2000 ended his iconic comic strip's 50-year-run, the newspaper reported.

    So, are slug vacation disasters making a comeback? Will bears, alligators, robins, saber-toothed tigers and other animals be returning to the comic universe? 

    Judging from "The Far Side" website tease, that sense of the absurd could be returning.

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