Before ‘The Simpsons,’ there was ‘Life in Hell’

Matt Groening is perhaps best known for creating Fox’s animated hit “The Simpsons”…but from 1977-2012 he drew a comic strip called “Life In Hell.”  While it shares a lot of the Simpson’s dark and absurdist humor, it’s still a little…different. It’s probably not something you would have found in your Sunday Comics section…unless you lived in a very progressive community.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the strip:

Life in Hell is a weekly comic strip by Matt Groening, which was published from 1977 to 2012. The strip features anthropomorphic rabbits and a gay couple. Groening uses these characters to explore a wide range of topics about love, sex, work, and death. His drawings are full of expressions of angstalienationself-loathing, and fear of inevitable doom.

A few months ago I responded to questions regarding the origin of the name “Brood Coffee Talk.” I talked about how it was from a 1992 comic strip called “The Fusco Brothers,” drawn by J.C. Duffy. I also mentioned Bill Griffith’s “Zippy the Pinhead,” Max Cannon’s “Red Meat”…and Matt Groening’s “Life In Hell” as comics that I enjoyed in the early 1990s.

While going through some old files the other day I found the comic I’ve reproduced below. For years it has hung on the walls of various jobs I’ve had, as the tape marks I’ve tried to mask off will attest…now, after rediscovering it, it hangs proudly on my home office wall.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have…for more than 20 years.

LIH-Stress

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(Note: the last word in Panel Six is partially obscured. It’s “self.”)

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