It used to be that you couldn't go into a bookstore this time of year without being literally surrounded by Gary Larson's The Far Side. His calendars and books were massive best sellers and his single-panel comics seemed to be everywhere, taped to cubicle walls and pinned to bulletin boards. Larson's hilariously subversive sense of empathy--his way of rendering people with the detachment of an entomologist while investing his animal characters with the most sympathetic of human traits--endeared him to millions.
But in 1995, after 15 years of struggle against grinding deadlines, Larson called it quits. Since then he's been about as reclusive as Greta Garbo or J.D. Salinger. And while Larson's calendars and books continued to appear for some years after his retirement, The Far Side is not much in evidence these days. Which is sad. You can't buy your friends a 2013 Far Side desk calendar this holiday season, but perhaps you can share this: a few twisted scenes from Larson's 1994 animated film, Tales From the Far Side. The film was originally aired as a Halloween special on CBS. The clip above begins on a fittingly nostalgic note.