'Far Sides' 1988 come 'round again: Larson takes break


If you think you've seen these giant bugs, talking animals and other assorted odd creatures on the comics pages before, you might have.

Gary Larson -- creator of "The Far Side" comic strip, which appears in The Sun and The Evening Sun -- will be on vacation this month. During that time, Universal Press Syndicate (the company that distributes Mr. Larson's work) will run "The Far Side" comic strips from 1988 as a replacement.

Why strips from 1988? So that, with luck, readers won't remember them as well and they will seem fresh, says the company. And there is a method to the madness. According to Jake Morrissey, an editor at Universal Press, the strips move up a year when Mr. Larson takes his annual monthlong vacation. Last year when he went on vacation, the company ran 1987 comic strips.

"The Far Side" has been appearing nationally since 1980 and is one of the most popular comic strips in syndication. While there is no standardized method for estimating how many people read a particular comic strip, a rough guideline is the number of newspapers carrying it. "The Far Side" runs in about 1,400

newspapers while "Peanuts," often cited as the most popular comic strip of all time, appears in about 2,000 newspapers.

The substitute comic strips begin running today and will continue until Aug. 2 when Mr. Larson's vacation ends.

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