Matt Groening reflects on 32 years of Life in Hell

Matt Groening

Great interview by Rob Tornoe talking to Life in Hell creator Matt Groening on the recent retirement of his strip. Among the gems is a disclosure on the real reason why Matt retired his strip and his reflections on the value of print comics:


Have you always been a fan of print?

I love newspapers. I loved all the alt-weeklies when they were big and fat and thriving. The Chicago Reader was a great pioneer in filling up their classified section with more and more cartoons. It was fantastic.

My father, Homer, worked for an advertising agency on Jantzen swimwear out of Portland. So, we’d get every general interest magazine in the country mailed to us. I grew up reading everything from Playboy, National Geographic, Ebony, and the local newspapers – I read them all and just loved them.

I look back at what newspapers used to be. Not just from when I was growing up, but even before my time. There used to be a visual exuberance that would be staggering if someone did that today.

Why does TV understand the popularity of cartoons so well, while newspapers and print media seem to have forgotten their roots?

There’s been a tradition in both print and television animation that it’s a medium for children. Historically, there were so many taboos in daily comics; the approach really was to avoid offending the most easily offended people.

With animation, “The Simpsons” was considered extremely outrageous and offensive when it premiered. What’s funny is the very things that ruffled the feathers of so many people back then seem very mild now. We didn’t cause the collapse of civilization.

2 thoughts on “Matt Groening reflects on 32 years of Life in Hell

  1. I’ll always be grateful for The Funny Times or I may never have known about Life in Hell. And even though Matt is discontinuing new strips, I think I can count on FT to continue reprinting it. It’s always a little slice of hilarious honesty! Or is that honest hilarity?

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