LA Weekly will publish Simpson's creator Matt Groening's longstanding comic strip Life is Hell for the last time this week, ending a 22-year run in the newspaper, as alternative weeklies continue to decimate their cartoon lineups.
The cartoon itself is 29 years old, originally running in the now defunct Los Angeles Reader. Groening tells CNN.com:
The 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."
According to Pandora Young, an editor at FishbowlLA and a former LA Weekly employee, they weren't paying much for the strip. And according to her, Groening has been an avid supporter of LA Weekly by doing interviews, illustrating covers for the paper's standard fee despite his enormous success, and being a reader of 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," Young said.
LA Weekly is owned by Village Voice Media, which has suspended publication of all syndicated cartoonsappearing in its alt-weekly newspapers across the country.
“There’s a lack of enthusiasm and a lack of strategy and certainly a decline of design,” Groening told the Chicago Reader back in February. “Alternative newspapers don’t seem to be the hippest thing around.”