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Matt Groening Ends Life in Hell

After 34 years, he pulls plug on cartoon that started it all
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2012 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2012 2:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Matt Groening has decided to pull the plug on acclaimed comic strip Life in Hell, 34 years after he started it and many years after its anthropomorphic rabbits and gay lovers were eclipsed by his other creations. Groening, 58, started the strip when he was a struggling artist in 1978 and kept producing it weekly even after becoming a multimillionaire, although cuts to comic pages nationwide saw its circulation fall to fewer than 40 publications from a peak of 380. In the mid-80s, Groening was asked to animate the strip's characters for the Tracey Ullman Show, but, unwilling to hand over the rights to his creations, came up with new characters—the Simpsons.

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In a Rolling Stone interview, Groening says he kept doing the strip because he enjoyed "one slice of my creative output being completely solo," and because he "dug in his heels" when a sneering TV executive asked him why he bothered to continue with it. "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," Groening tells Poynter. The final Life in Hell strip, the 1,669th, was released on Friday. Click here to see it. (Read more Matt Groening stories.)

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