It was a sad day in Mudville when mighty Gary Larson struck out on his own and left behind The Far Side. Nobody will ever be able to replace Larson's genius for making cows, chickens, and the occasional person a source of funny gags, funny stories, and funny comics. There are a few contenders for the Larson throne and although no one has and will ever replace Gary Larson, John McPherson is certainly someone to keep an eye on. His Close to Home comic panel follows the Larson tradition of the one panel funny gag and the caption below the panel tradition.
Close to Home and The Far Side are not that far removed. Picture Larson's humans with the benefit of plastic surgery (incompetent plastic surgery) and take away the strange fascination Gary Larson had for cows, chickens, and other creatures of the animal kingdom and you have Close to Home. Perhaps the greatest difference between a funny comic panel in The Far Side and a funny gag in Close to Home is the number of words necessary to get the joke across. Larson could easily do it in less than 10 words, John McPherson usually needs more than 10 words. It makes for a much more wordy but not funnier comic panel. The age old rule of less is more clearly applies in cartooning and a comparison between The Far Side by Gary Larson and John McPherson's Close to Home easily proves the old adage.
Still, Close to Home is a good bet for fans who need a The Far Side fix. The humor is similar, the line is similar, the funny gags and funny material is very similar. There is not much of a difference between a woman in Close to Home opening a jar of peanut butter only to find the corpse of Mr. Peanut and a scientist in The Far Side with Jiminy Cricket in a bug jar in The Far Side. Gary Larson and The Far Side were definitely darker, more caustic, and, overall, funnier, but Close to Home is still a very funny comic panel that deserves more attention than it is getting.