Life in Hell
Life in Hell was a weekly comic strip by Matt Groening. The strip featured anthropomorphic rabbits and a pair of gay lovers. Groening used these characters to explore a wide range of topics about love, sex, work, and death. His drawings are full of expressions of angst, alienation, self-loathing, and fear of inevitable doom.
Life in Hell started in 1977 as a self-published comic book Groening used to describe life in Los Angeles to his friends. Groening photocopied and distributed it in a small "punk" corner of the record store in which he worked, Licorice Pizza on Sunset Boulevard. Life in Hell debuted as a comic strip in the avant-garde Wet magazine in 1978, to which Groening made his first professional cartoon sale. The first strip, entitled "Forbidden Words", appeared in the September/October issue. Popular in the underground, Life in Hell was picked up by the Los Angeles Reader (an alternative weekly newspaper where Groening also worked as a typesetter, editor, paste-up artist and music critic) in 1980, where it began appearing weekly.
Life in Hell reached the attention of Hollywood producer James L. Brooks, who received one strip — "The Los Angeles Way of Death" from 1982. In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of developing a series of short animated skits, called "bumpers", for The Tracey Ullman Show. Originally, Brooks had wanted Groening to adapt his Life in Hell characters for the show. Fearing the loss of ownership rights to his characters, Groening instead created an entirely new batch of characters, the Simpsons.