Birthplace: Tacoma, WA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Creator of The Far Side
Gary Larson grew up in a blue collar household in a blue-collar city, Tacoma, Washington. He played jazz guitar and worked in a music store, and in 1976 he sent six cartoons to Pacific Search, a regional science and nature magazine. They sent him $90, and that struck Larson as a lot more enjoyable work than the music store. His first steady work as a cartoonist was for The Sumner News-Review, a weekly paper in a Tacoma suburb. The job paid $3 a week. In 1979, The Seattle Times started carrying Larson's once-a-week work, titled Nature's Way, for $15 a strip. The panel drew some complaints of being sick and offensive, and a few complaints were enough to get it canceled.
Just as The Times pulled the plug, though, Larson took a trip to California to interest The San Francisco Chronicle in his work. The Chronicle offered Larson a daily panel, re-named it The Far Side, and began syndicating it to other newspapers. The Far Side eventually appeared in almost 2,000 newspapers, and every "best of" collection has been a best-seller. Distasteful, disgusting, and delightful, The Far Side often offended those with delicate minds. Nature's bloody nature was a recurring theme, and Larson gained an enthusiastic following among scientists. A species of chewing lice that infests owls was named in Larson's honor, Strigiphilus garylarsoni.
Larson took a sabbatical from The Far Side in 1988, traveling to Africa and playing jazz. The panel resumed in 1990, but by late 1994 Larson was weary of deadlines and had enough money to quit The Far Side for good. He still draws cartoons, but on his own schedule, not a syndicate's. In 1998, he wrote There's a Hair in My Dirt: A Worm's Story, a book teaching science through macabre stories and illustrations.
Father: Vernon Larson (car salesman)
Mother: Doris Larson (secretary)
Wife: Toni Carmichael (archeologist)
University: BA Communications, Washington State University (1973)
Reuben Award 1990
Reuben Award 1994
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