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The motivation of dogs is pretty straightforward, and there is no denying that canines are entirely food-motivated above all else. In “Hey Bucko”, Larson presents a dog that has been pushed too far and has taken drastic measures to get the one thing it wants above all else.Ever the social prognosticator, Larson’s take on the situation is actually pretty accurate to the way the dog’s brain works, and it makes sense that the only word it would recognize would be its name. Despite its plausibility, the comic doesn’t lose any of its humor because every dog owner has reached an impasse with their canine pal and couldn’t get through to them.
Even if he had fun with his dog characters and depicted them in a negative light sometimes, it was abundantly clear that Larson had a loving affinity for man’s best friend. Standing as a testament to Larson’s creative genius, the “Dog Translator” panel is the quintessential tale from the Far Side.One of the things that made Far Side an iconic comic strip in the ’80s and ’90s was that it found a balance between absurdity and relatability unlike many of its contemporaries. The incredibly humorous dog panel shows an owner berating his pet, and it even clues the reader in on what the dog hears when receiving such a dressing down.One of the oldest cartoon setups is the never-ending struggle between cats and dogs, and Larson used that premise to the fullest in Far Side. Set in a courtroom, the “Cat Killer?” comic is one that gets funnier the longer the reader takes to analyze it. Not only is the lawyer’s impassioned plea hilarious, but it is made doubly so by the fact that he is preaching to a crowd exclusively composed of cats. As if that wasn’t a perfect joke on its own, Larson really puts punctuation on the panel by including the goofiest-looking dog he could conjure up as the supposed perpetrator. The funniest Far Side comics have only gotten funnier, and the “Cat Killer” panel is no exception. Dogs aren’t always the most graceful animals, and their destructive behavior has spelled doom for many pieces of furniture over the years. The “Blow Up the House” panel shows off Larson’s signature skill for exaggeration and makes it very clear what some people think about dogs in the house.Not limiting himself to only one breed of dog to spoof, Larson spread the love around and made comics that appealed to the owners of all kinds of dogs. Using negative space extremely effectively in the panel, readers of the “Nervous Little Dogs” panel eventually find what they’re looking for in the form of a coffee-addicted dachshund.
Dalton is a freelance writer, novelist, and filmmaker from Orlando Florida. He currently lives in Los Angeles and pursues writing full-time. He is an avid reader and film buff who also publishes novels on the side. Dalton graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BFA in Film and he often applies his industry-specific knowledge when writing about film and television. Along with his blog, Dalton’s critical essays on film have been published in various places online.With pistol in paw, the dog goes full Dirty Harry in its pursuit of food and the startling image is exactly what made Larson so unique. The befuddled look on the faces of the human characters makes the panel even funnier, and the message is clear even without the humorous caption that Larson tags onto the panel.
Though dogs are heavenly creatures, Larson wasn’t afraid to show the darker side of man’s best friend, and he often tapped into the canine’s deepest darkest fears. “Dog Hell” combined two of Larson’s favorite muses in the form of the underworld and dogs, and he presents the reader with a unique vision of the bad half of the afterlife.