11 Comments

  1. This cartoon is at least 30 years old and yes, those are boxing gloves because migraines only FEEL like they will kill you.

  2. He doesn’t have a scythe. He is not the angel of death; he doesn’t cut you down like a stalk of wheat. He just punches you in the head really hard and that’s how you get a migraine.

  3. Thank you for dating it. If it were current, I was thinking of those things as gummi bears, which would be infused with CBD. Or something.

  4. In “The Complete Far Side“, this (color) drawing is dated January 5th, 1993. Since that was a Tuesday, this is definitely not the way the original panel appeared in newspapers (back then, weekday comics were still all in monochrome). Adding color may help sell Larson’s secondary products (like calendars and mugs), but it doesn’t always improve the joke, especially if the outlines have to be re-drawn for the purpose.
    P.S. In the “Acknowledgements” on page xviii of Volume One, Larson gives credit to “Donna Oatney, the alpha artist who created the lion’s share of watercolors within these three volumes.” Personally, I would have preferred to see more of Gary’s work in his books, and less of Donna’s.

  5. @ Powers – That is certainly true in at least some cases, and it may be true for this panel, too, but there’s no way to tell for sure, since the original black & white drawings have been retconned out of existence. In some ways this is similar to George Lucas’s repetitive attempts to “improve” the original Star Wars, by adding effects, monsters, and even scenes that were never present in the original. A few of those “corrections” (such as making the cockpit walls more opaque) were certainly an improvement, but I would still like a chance to enjoy the movie (and Larson’s Far Side) as I originally saw them, without the intrusions of well-meant retroactive meddling.

  6. A few years ago I read the then new biography of Walt Disney, and one of the many revelations from that book was about Snow White — apparently they continued to fiddle with it, improving lots of animation, well after it was released. I can sort of understand the impulse — the first major full time animated full-color movie, and they still had a lot of bugs to work out, and they were under enormous time pressures, so they sort of released the beta, but then kept fixing bugs… But yeah, after a point you do want to have the canonical version of the era, warts and all.

    (Another thing the book revealed was that despite claiming not to, they did lots of rotoscoping for Snow White (tracing film frames from a live action filmed sequence) — I’m not sure how much if any rotoscoping survives in the version of Snow White we can see now, but apparently the beta version that was originally released had lots.)

  7. @ larK – When I went hunting in Wikipedia for the phrase “Curses, foiled again!“, the results produced some interesting (discarded) details about the “Evil Queen” in “Snow White”. The article also mentioned that many Disney characters of that era were rotoscoped, but the Queen apparently was not.

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