So I was both excited and scared when I saw this in the Little Free Library. I grew up LOVING the Far Side. I had t-shirts, I had wall calendars, I had a bunch of the books, and I used to basically just examine them to try to work out the jokes, try to catch the references, try to figure out what was going on both in terms of the jokes.
So when I saw this, the problem was that this was potentially fraught: what if it wasn’t funny any more? What if it was racist or something like that?
Other than a few shots of archetypal “headhunters” or “natives” it’s not really racist. And for what it’s worth, those comics always have them winning.
And it’s still funny! Whew!
So this book IS a kind of collection but more than that it’s the story of the Far Side, such as it is, with a lot of Gary Larson’s commentary.
The background story is not that exciting and most of the sketches are not as good as the final products. But the sections that make this so good are the letters he received, the unpublished ones, the ones that started outrages, and my personal favorite, the ones where they would accidentally switch up the captions, especially switch up the captions with Dennis the Menace.
He also tells the story of Cow Tools, which became his second most controversial comic, because no one got the joke. I am sure I would have pretended to get it, but there’s not much of a gag here.