And a tip of the hat to Billy Sutton in Tampa

And thanks to Markus for sending this in and saying “The following a CIDU for me: I have no idea, what to make of this (apparently old) The Far Side comic, which appeared today (Feb 15.)”

You may recall we have been hesitant about using The Far Side material, from Gary Larson’s apparent stated preferences. But preferences only go so far, and there is such a thing as fair use. While we have for a while been doing links rather than embedding or copying, mostly for LOL collections, a short-expiration link doesn’t seem suitable for a standalone CIDU-of-the-day.

Markus also raises the question of the status of the “Thanx!” inset.  I doubt it could be simply real.  It seems to be playing off the tradition of comics that use reader suggestions, and include a thanks note — such as Pluggers more recently or longer ago They’ll Do It Every Time with “A tip of the Hatlo hat”.  But with that said, how is this relating to that tradition? Not just mocking it, if you ask me.


  1. From an article in the Tampa Bay Times, Published Dec. 18, 1992

    Tribute from the Far Side

    If you’re wondering why Gary Larson penned a special message to a Tampa resident in today’s Far Side cartoon (on the back page of this section), wonder no more.

    Bill Sutton, who Larson sends a “thanx and tip o’ the hat to” is a fictional person made up to imitate a cartoon called They’ll Do It Every Time by James Hatlo. Hatlo’s readers often supplied him with material, and when he used an idea, he thanked the contributor in the corner of the drawing. “Thanx, and with a tip o’ the Hatlo hat to . . . ,” he would write.

    “Gary wasn’t thanking anyone in particular, he was just making fun of those cartoons,” said Universal Press Syndicate editor Jake Morrissey. “It’s a takeoff on the old line. It was kind of a silly cartoon to begin with. That’s the whole point.”

  2. Thanks, MCW3! It’s good to have verification that we nailed the Hatlo connection.

    I do still wonder about the “making fun of” quoted from the UPS spokesman. It could be more like a tribute.

    Also the particular content is something to wonder about. In effect Larson has created a continuing panel comic in this fictive world, and at some point the reader in Tampa sent a note saying “Hey why don’t you do one covering the end of the world?”

  3. I think it really was intended as a (very) sarcastic parody: the point is that there just isn’t anything funny about the world blowing up, and comics that rely too much on readers’ submissions are often just as lame as the “gag” that Larson drew here.

  4. Willie Sutton retired* to & died in Spring Hill, a Tampa suburb.
    *His final release from prison was 10 years earlier. He was in pretty bad shape, and there’s no evidence he resumed his career

  5. Also, the jaunty tone of the “thanx” with an x and the “tip o’ the hat” without an f is incongruous with the sombre subject of the drawing. The humour is in the contrast.

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