Gary Larson published the last of his iconic The Far Side comics on January 1, 1995. And since 2000, the comic's official website had remained exactly the same—until Friday. Not only did the site get an update, it got an update that appears to tease the comic's return, ComicBook.com reports. "Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen," reads the tagline under a picture of animals and people from the comic being freed from a block of ice with a blow torch. "A new online era of The Far Side is coming!" it adds. (Andy Baio has a screenshot of the old website here.) Larson's single-panel comic ran from 1980 to 1995, and spawned a multitude of merchandise and related media, from greeting cards and page-a-day calendars to TV specials, the last of which ran in 1997. The New York Times estimates it generated around $500 million in revenue.
Nerdist notes the artwork on the website is signed by Larson, but the site offers no further explanation, so it's not clear whether Larson plans to produce new comics, to simply publish his old comics online (the AV Club notes Larson "has previously pushed back against any digital reproductions of his work"), or something else entirely. Nerdist guesses that whatever is happening will occur on January 1, 2020, exactly 25 years after the final comic was published and exactly 40 years after the first comic debuted on January 1, 1980. "At a time when tragedy and cruelty seem to dominate headlines, one (thing) is certain: We could use Larson's oddball humor now more than ever," writes Bonnie Burton at CNET, where she collects some of the excited Twitter reactions to the news. (Read more comics stories.)