on February 15th, 1954, Matt Groening grew up in Portland
Oregon. Groening began his doodling career at an early
age - in fact, it was the first day of school. Matt admits,
however, that his doodling during class hours often resulted
in a visit to the principal's office. Yet despite the
disapproval of his teachers, Groening refused to give
up his labour of love.
In 1977, Matt graduated from the "Evergreen State College" in
Olympia, Washington. According to an article in the book,
"Simpsons Mania", Evergreen State College was
not exactly your average college - it didn't give grades
and had no required classes. While at Evergreen, Matt
spent most of his time working on the school's newspaper
and later headed to Los Angeles to pursue a career as
a writer. Instead of writing for a newspaper or magazine,
Matt worked as a chauffeur and "biographer"
for an 88-year old movie director.
Matt's career took a drastic turn when he created
a cynical comic entitled "Life In Hell" which
was based on his early experiences in Los Angeles. The comic
strip was centred on a bitter and simply drawn rabbit named
"Binky." Other characters in the comic were Sheba
(Binky's girlfriend) and two identical characters called
Akbar andJeff (resembling a mutated Charlie Brown). In 1980,
"Life In Hell" debuted in the Los Angeles Reader,
a weekly newspaper where Groening served as editor. Life
In Hell became a huge success for Matt and the comic, after
ten years of existence, is featured in over 200 newspapers
in both the United States and Canada. Several books by Groening
including "School Is Hell," "Love Is Hell,"
"Work is Hell," "The Big Book of Hell,"
"Akbar and Jeff's Guide to Life," "Binky's
Guide to Love" and "Love is Hell - 10th Anniversary
Edition," can be found in local bookstores. Matt's
cartooning career, however, did not end there ....
On September 8, 1986, The Simpsons made its debut
as a two minute sketch on the Tracey Ullman Show. According
to Groening, he had received a phone call from James Brookes
who wanted him to do some animation for the popular show.
Matt quickly drew five brand new characters for the presentation
- characters that would inevitably garner a huge following
of fans. The Simpsons was Groening's first experience with
animation. The Simpsons earned instant acclaim by critics
and fans when in 1990, it debuted as the Fox Network's highest-rated
the last 20 years, the show has won over 20 Emmy awards
and made history for becoming the longest running prime
time animated series on television. The Simpsons was the
first animated series to be given a Peabody Award, and in
2000 the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame. The Simpsons Movie, released in 2007, was
nominated for several major awards, including a Golden Globe
The Simpson family, comprised of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa
and Maggie, are named after, but not based on, Groening's
family. Matt's father and son are named Homer, his mother
is named Margaret and his younger sisters are named Lisa
and Maggie. Bart is an anagram of the word "brat",
however, Groening insists that Bart is not a portrayal of
himself. As well, many of the characters such as Chief Wiggum
have been named after various streets where Matt was raised.
With the success of his show, Groening when onto
form the "Bongo Comics Group" in 1993. As the
publisher of Bongo Comics, Groening has created four different
comic book titles including:"Simpsons Comics,"
"Radioactive Man," "Bartman" and "Itchy
and Scratchy Comics." Groening has also produced two
special comic series: "Lisa Comics" and Krusty
Comics." The Simpsons Comics are currently still in
production today and have published over 30 issues. Groening
has also published a number of books about the Simpsons
including: "Bart's Guide to Life," "Making
Faces with the Simpsons," "The Rainy Day Fun Book,"
"The Simpsons Family Album." Simpsons merchandise
like T-shirts, posters, video games are still extremely
popular with die hard fans. This past year, Groening and
FOX have produced several new Simpsons collectibles including
two Simpsons calendars, a book called "The Simpson's
Guide to Springfield," memorabilia such as Christmas
ornaments, comic books and the third Simpson's album, "The