Matt Groening pulled the plug on the iconic comic strip, “Life in Hell,” that helped give birth to The Simpsons on Fox.
USA Today reports that the last of the syndicated comics was published June 15, but that reruns will be provided through July 13. The characters Binky and Sheba gave life to the “Hell-A” experience for 32 years, L.A. Weekly's own managing editor, Jill Stewart, told the the paper:
“The strip really touched into that fear and love of L.A. It told the whole story of a culture and people.”
“Life in Hell,” which first appeared regularly in the late alternative paper the Los Angeles Reader (where Groening worked), caught the eye of producer James L. Brooks in 1985. He invited Groening to come to Fox and help develop animation for The Tracey Ullman Show, where The Simpsons was born and ultimately was spun off.
At its peak, the strip appeared in 379, mostly alternative newspapers, its syndicator told USA Today:
But budget cuts at weekly publications have seen its appearances reduced to only 38 papers. L.A. Weekly cut the strip several years ago as it was squeezed by a smaller and smaller letters section where it appeared.
Groening says its demise is all good. He still works actively on his
Fox Comedy Central series Futurama, and he says the loss of a weekly comic-strip deadline will free him up for “other projects.”