The Far Side® Theme-a-Month 2021 Off-The-Wall Calendar
By Gary Larson
After two interminable decades, we are reissuing the all-time bestselling calendar with 365 days of irreverent, brilliant cartoons from The Far Side® and a different theme featured each month.
Every once in a great while, there’s a gargantuan cosmic convergence, a calendarious alignment of epic proportions, a deafening echo in the continuity of time when the days and dates of one year exactly match those of a year in the far distant past. And it just so happens that the days and dates of 2021 perfectly match those of the year 1999. Why the trumpeting fanfare, you ask? Well, coincidentally 1999 also just happens to be the year that The Far Side® Theme-a-Month Off-The-Wall Calendar—that crazy-popular calendar for which fans still clamor and pine—featured monthly themes introduced by 12 new drawings by Gary Larson, in addition to a year’s worth of classic The Far Side® cartoons. We’re seizing this glorious occasion to give the world what its desks, bulletin boards, and refrigerators have been missing. We’re reissuing The Far Side® Theme-a-Month 1999 Off-The-Wall Calendar for 2021. The cartoons, days, and dates are the same, but don’t worry, holidays are updated so you needn’t be concerned about missing out on any of the other momentous events of 2021. So, fans of The Far Side®, rejoice. Time has come full circle. The Far Side® is back Off-The-Wall.
About the Author
Though he loved to draw as a child, Larson didn’t formally study art, nor did he consider being a cartoonist. He graduated in 1972 from Washington State University with a degree in communications but took many classes in the sciences. In 1990, Larson received the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award and was the centennial commencement speaker. His talk was titled “The Importance of Being Weird.” His interest in science was a frequent topic in many of The Far Side® cartoons, which he created for fifteen years, from January 1, 1980, to January 1, 1995.
In 1985, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco premiered a collection of four hundred of Larson’s originals in The Far Side of Science exhibit, which later traveled to science venues across North America, including the Smithsonian Institution and the American Museum of Natural History. In 1988, Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould, a prominent science writer and a member of the museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology, dubbed Larson “the national humorist of natural history” in his foreword to The Far Side Gallery 3.
In another fitting tribute, the scientific community named a chewing louse after Larson (Strigiphilus garylarsoni), and paleontologists refer to the distinctive array of previously unnamed tail spikes on a stegosaurus as the “thagomizer,” thanks to one of his cartoons.
Larson’s work on The Far Side® has earned him numerous awards, including the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society in 1990 and 1994. The National Cartoonists Society also named Larson Best Syndicated Panel Cartoonist in both 1985 and 1988. In 1993, The Far Side® was awarded the Max and Moritz Award for Best International Comic Strip Panel by the International Comic Salon.
In 1994, Larson debuted a twenty-two-minute version of his first animated film, Gary Larson's Tales From The Far Side, as a Halloween special on CBS television, and it quickly became a cult favorite. The film won the Grand Prix at the 1995 Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France. That film and its sequel, Gary Larson's Tales From The Far Side II, were selected for numerous international film festivals, including Venice, Brussels, and Telluride, and were broadcast in various foreign countries. Both were produced with traditional cel animation, completely hand-inked and painted.
Music has also been an important part of Larson's life. He started playing the guitar at an early age, moved to the banjo for a few years, and then ultimately returned to the guitar. Since retiring from daily newspaper syndication, Larson has focused his creative efforts on the guitar and his passion for jazz.
At the end of its run, The Far Side® appeared in nearly two thousand newspapers. It in turn spawned twenty-three The Far Side® books, including sixteen collections, five anthologies, and two retrospectives, twenty-two of which appeared on TheNew York Times Best Sellers list. Over the years, more than forty million books and seventy-seven million calendars have been sold, and The Far Side® has been translated into more than seventeen languages.
As for his inspiration, Larson often cites his family’s “morbid sense of humor” growing up and how his older brother loved to scare him whenever he got the chance. He was also once quoted as saying, “You know those little snow globes that you shake up? I always thought my brain was sort of like that. You know, where you just give it a shake and watch what comes out and shake it again.” He attributes much of his success to the caffeine in the coffee he drinks daily.
Larson currently lives in the coffee capital of the United States—Seattle, Washington—with his wife, Toni.
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