15 ‘Far Side’ Comics for the Comedy Hall of Fame

15 ‘Far Side’ Comics for the Comedy Hall of Fame

Being a fan of offbeat, weird, dark and outright Dadaistic humor before the internet meant having to really search it out since it usually didn’t appeal to the masses. A beacon, however, shined its light from 1979 through 1995, delivering this type of humor to millions of Americans every single day. All they had to do was look at the funny pages.

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Gary Larson’s The Far Side has been called witty, absurd, genius and confusing. Which is to say, people either praised it mightly or outright loathed it, with little indifference in-between.

But while it wasn’t for everybody, it served everybody that it was for, to which the sales of Far Side mugs, calendars, shirts and collected editions of Larson’s work can attest. Similarly, when Larson returned from retirement in 2020 to post new comics on his website, fans clamored for more of his surreal appeal. 

So let’s all celebrate the weird and unsettling, the dark and the hilarious, the cows and not their cow tools. Here are some of our favorite Far Side comics that have embedded themselves in the far reaches of our brains...

Cow Tools

This comic was so weirdly controversial that whether you think it’s funny or not is almost immaterial. Cow Tools stirred so much confusion and uproar when it was first published that it garnered its own Wikipedia page. Larson’s attempt at silly humor fell off the mark so hard that it bounced back into a bull’s-eye decades later when this infamous strip became a popular meme.


Larson not only coined a new terror for us to insert into our day-to-day lives but also created an image that was as ominous as it was ridiculous. The panel forced us to look for the duck, and when you see it, you yourself will wonder why it’s looking at this man. You’ll also suddenly wonder if there’s some duck out there, somewhere, as hidden as it was in this panel, that’s watching you with motives only known to himself.

Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing

Larson loved to take turns of phrase like “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and turn them on their heads, not only drawing it out in the literal sense but pointing out a situation that would totally eradicate its purposeful meaning.

All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men…

Look at this comic. Okay, you back? How many of you went, “Wait, why the horse— Oh yeah, that’s in the Humpty Dumpty poem, isn’t it?” For many, Larson was the first person to point out the absurdity of a horse helping to put an eggman back together (which is already absurd in the first place).


Godzilla being reduced to a mere “varmint” after destroying a city is a peek into Larson’s “What if it was that simple?” mentality toward comedy that can best be done via cartoon strip.

God Creating Snakes

The genius of Larson’s comics that revolve around God was that both atheists could enjoy the absurdity of creationism while Christians could also enjoy them as it was just playful ribbing over something that wasn’t outright condemning or offending their faith.

Horse/Car Accident

Take a modern problem (a young kid crashing his dad’s ride) and insert it into a different timeline (the Old west, so it’s a horse instead of a car), then sprinkle ludicrousness via drawing to create a gut-busting panel. It’s simple laugh math.

Amoeba Porn Flicks

Sexualizing asexual single-celled organisms and technically having “porn” in the family-friendly funny pages was the most Larson move ever.

The Thagomizer

A great goofy commentary on folks naming their “discoveries” that have existed prior to their naming after themselves. I wonder if it was named after Thag because he saw it or because Thag was the first caveman who was “-omized” by the Thagomizer? Also, the last name “Simmons” was the perfect double-take button.

Cat Showers

The title says it all, really. The only thing left to question is wondering what it would feel like as a human to get washed with a giant tongue tub.

Scientist Prank

No need for a caption or words. We can already hear and see the boom.

Mosquito Emergency

Larson was incredible at “starting from the middle” to create a hilarious scenario, letting our imaginations conclude the strip to focus on the funny within the situation rather than the result.

Henry Never Knew What Hit Him

Larson often used wordplay to surreal degrees in The Far Side to not only get a laugh but point out the weirdness of English in general.

Midvale School for the Gifted

Located on the walls of several schools, colleges and other centers for education is this gem that requires no need for a caption at all. This panel has been used over and over again on social media as a commentary on any stupid lack of simple progress. (Try it on your favorite politician’s feed.)

Inconvenience Stores

Perfect joke. No notes.

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