The Boondocks and The Far Side, two cartoon creations that enjoyed massive popularity in the 1990s, are showing new signs of life.
Aaron McGruder’s animated series The Boondocks is being revived with a two-season order, HBO Max announced Wednesday. The Peabody Award-winning series is based on the comic strip, which debuted in 1996 and received a large syndication launch in 1999.
The revived show from Sony Pictures Animation, which will be reimagined by McGruder, will debut on the streaming service in fall 2020, according to Deadline. The show’s original 55 episodes — dating to the series’ 2005 launch on Adult Swim — will also be available on HBO Max.
The show, embraced by fans for its controversial satire, will bring back brothers Huey and Riley, as well as Robert “Granddad” Freeman, who have been transplanted to the Maryland suburbs.
“There’s a unique opportunity to revisit the world of The Boondocks and do it over again for today,” McGruder, who will be showrunner and executive producer, said in a statement. “It’s crazy how different the times we live in are now — both politically and culturally — more than a decade past the original series and two decades past the original newspaper comic. There’s a lot to say and it should be fun.”
Meanwhile, Gary Larson’s The Far Side, the single-panel mainstay of millions of refrigerators and calendars that ended in 1995, has flickered with new activity.
For the first time in about two decades, TheFarSide.com changed its home page art to some of Larson’s creatures being thawed out by a blowtorch, and offered a fresh message: “Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen.” The site added: “A new online era of The Far Side is coming!”
The teased return of The Far Side could mean a mix of cartoon archives and new art from Larson.
For years, Larson and FarWorks Inc. have guarded against the unauthorized online publishing of his cartoons — an effort that in 2008 included a cease-and-desist letter to the site Comic Mix.
The Far Side, which enjoyed a 15-year run, was widely embraced for its offbeat humour, becoming one of the most successful and widely syndicated single-panel features in comics history.
Many comics fans consider the ‘90s to be the last golden age for the comics page in print newspapers. The Far Side, Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes and Berkeley Breathed’s Outland were some of the most prominent strips to end during that decade.
Breathed revived his Pulitzer Prize-winning strip Bloom County in 2015, and Watterson returned to the comics page in 2014 for a week-long guest-artist stint on Stephan Pastis’s Pearls Before Swine.
Coincidentally, McGruder and Larson have both indicated that they weren’t sure that their original strips would last as long as they did — contrary to the intense decades-long fandoms for both.
“Especially in my early years as a cartoonist, it seemed like every few weeks or so, one of my cartoons would stir things up with a lot of readers,” Larson told The Washington Post this month. “And I always felt alone whenever these controversies flared up.”
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“It was more than a few times when I wondered if my career was over before it was even a career.”
And McGruder told The Post this month: “I never felt fully cut out to be a cartoonist.”