Picks and Pans Main: Etc.

updated 02/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

THE FAR SIDE REDUX

Any worries about Gary Larson's mellowing during his sabbatical from his daily cartoon panel were put to rest by his Jan. 9 drawing. Captioned "Trouble brewing," it showed inmates of Ed's Dingo Farm lined up against the fence of their enclosure, peering with gustatory anticipation at their neighbors, a playpen of human tots at Doreen's Nursery.

In late 1988, Larson said he was burned out after doing his panel for 10 years. He spent 14 months off doing such things as traveling and taking jazz guitar lessons.

Since he returned Jan. 1, his cartoons have been a bit abstruse. Take "Encroachment of the fish developers," which shows two people on a beach eying0 a bunch of connected fish bowls rising from the water. (It has to do with condos.)

But in general, Larson indeed seems refreshed. Forget the worst case scenario for his return—the conversion of his panel into a vegetarian, pacifist universe where no creature hurts another's feelings. We have Larson's delightful little nightmares to kick us around again.

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