Before Bart, Homer, Lisa, Fry, and Bender there was "Life In Hell" -- Matt Groening's comic strip about a bitter rabbit named Binky and his illegitimate one-eared son named Bongo. Why has Groening decided to pull the plug on the long-running comic? "Thirty-two years is a long time to do it," he told USA Today. "I love the characters, I love doing it, but it was just time."
It was "Life In Hell," which appeared in a variety of alternative newspapers for over three decades, that brought Groening to the attention of producer James L. Brooks. Brooks went on to hire the cartoonist to create animated shorts for FOX's "The Tracy Ullman Show" -- those shorts becoming what we all know now as "The Simpsons."
While "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" still enjoy great success today, the quirky "Life In Hell" may have been a victim of the decline in newspaper circulation. USA Today reports that Groening was losing money on it for years, and that circulation of the strip had dropped from 379 papers in its prime to only 38 today. While the final "Life In Hell" ran June 15th, it will be in reruns until July 13.
Groening buffs can also check out this "Student's Guide" Groening created for Macintosh in the 1980s, done in the style of his popular "Life In Hell" collected editions and featuring Binky and Bongo.