The Far Side comics officially online after 25 years

PHOTO: FarWorks, Inc

Surreal single panel comic The Far Side is finally legally online, with new comics to be added after a 25-year hiatus by its creator Gary Larson.

Larson says he had, at that time, been naive not to see a connection between the emerging Internet and his comics, as he had come from a print background working in newspapers, paper books and calendars.

The comic was syndicated from 1980 to 1995, ceasing during the early years of the Internet.

However, his decision to finally go online was tied to developments in the Internet's "security and graphics", referring to security against tampering of his comics and the quality of computer screens and graphic software to capture minor nuances, without elaborating further.

"Finally, I also concede I'm a little exhausted. Trying to exert some control over my cartoons has always been an uphill slog, and I've sometimes wondered if my absence from the Web may have inadvertently fuelled someone's belief my cartoons were up for grabs. They're not," he says in a letter on his site.

Larson jokes about people uploading his work, saying: "I slowly started realising I had a second publisher and distributor of my work, known as Anyone With a Scanner & Associates".

He adds that it has been awkward to take down websites as they were often run by fans, though he hopes that an official website would reduce the need for fans to put his material online.

The website, TheFarSide.com now presents a random selection of his cartoons called The Daily Dose, as well as Comic Collections which group together comics on a single theme that changes weekly, never-before-seen extras like sketches and a bookstore for his paper books.

Users will also be able to share or comment on the comics.

The site states that starting next year, commemorating the 40th anniversary of The Far Side comic, it will start uploading new comics.