'The Far Side' Anthologized

Gary Larson's Strange World of Cows and Other Creatures

Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Larson Tells NPR's Bob Edwards about a Cartoon He Wishes He Would Have Drawn

Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Larson Recalls the Real-Life Inspiration for a 'Far Side' Character

Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Larson Explains the Difficulty of Foreign Translations for his Cartoons

'The Complete Far Side' book cover

The Complete Far Side hide caption

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During a 14-year span before he quit in 1994, Gary Larson created over 4,000 The Far Side cartoons, all of which have just made their way into a hefty two-volume anthology, The Complete Far Side. More than 40 million Far Side books and 60 million calendars have been sold. Yet Larson remains hard-pressed to explain what these strange creations are about.

"Oh, God.... Jeez... It's just a cartoon," Larson tells NPR's Bob Edwards on Morning Edition. "I guess, I could say, a cartoon about nothing.... It's just a sense of humor in single-panel form... They're just cartoons."

But to anyone who's ever seen these little worlds-of-their-own populated by cows, beehive-hairdo ladies, space aliens and prehistoric creatures, The Far Side is... something else.

"Yeah," Larson says. "Everything was open season to me, I guess. If it crossed my mind, it was fair game."

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