It’s hard to believe we’ll have to say goodbye to Akbar and Jeff. Matt Groening’s cartoon “Life In Hell” has run in the LA Weekly for the last 22 years. The cartoon itself is 29 years old- it originally ran in the now defunct Los Angeles Reader. Groening tells CNN.com:
[T]he alternative newsweeklies are really struggling. In fact, this coming week will be my final week after 22 years in the LA Weekly. I and all the other cartoonists are being dismissed because they can’t afford to pay.
We’ll see. I’m still in a bunch of other papers, so I may continue to do my strip, but it doesn’t look good.
We’re shocked that the LA Weekly would drop such a successful cartoon- by the creator of “The Simpsons”, no less! Take it from a former Weekly employee- the paper wasn’t paying very much for the strip. And Groening has been good to the Weekly over the years- making himself available to the staff for interviews, illustrating covers for the Weekly for the paper’s small standard fee despite his enormous success, and continuing to read the paper itself. Dropping the cartoon seems incredibly short-sighted, so it’s probably safe to assume it was a decision made by the corporate offices in Phoenix.