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Matt Groening ends Life in Hell

June 20, 2012|By Patrick Kevin Day
  • Matt Groening, pictured in 2003, has penned his last Life in Hell comic strip.
Matt Groening, pictured in 2003, has penned his last Life in Hell comic strip. (George Wilhelm / Los Angeles…)

Matt Groening has put an end to his Life in Hell comic strip, the weekly comic that he's been drawing for 35 years.

In an email to the website Poynter.org, Groening explained: "I’ve had great fun, in a Sisyphean kind of way, but the time has come to let Binky and Sheba and Bongo and Akbar and Jeff take some time off."

The strip, which initially described the young cartoonist's life after his move from Portland, Ore., to Los Angeles in 1977, was self-published for a few years until it was picked up by the alt-weekly Los Angeles Reader in 1980.

According to Poynter, the strip reached its largest audience in the '90s, when it was carried in 380 papers and "The Simpsons" was one of the most popular shows on TV. More recently, the strip has been in less than 40 publications.

The final original Life in Hell strip, the 1,669th, was released June 15. Old strips will be reprinted until July 13, at which point Groening's print creation will go away completely.

Despite becoming enormously wealthy from "The Simpsons," which ended its 23rd season last month, and "Futurama," which begins its seventh season on Wednesday, Groening has continued to write and draw the strip.

By ending the weekly strip, he says he'll be able to pursue a number of projects he hasn't been able to  because of the commitment.


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