“Spinoff!” Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Well, today billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, CEO of FOX’s parent company News Corp., confirmed he’s splitting his baby in half and spinning off his cherished print assets (including the publishing company HarperCollins, which has published almost all Simpsons books) into a separate company within the next 12 months. Although Murdoch denies it has anything to do with the phone hacking scandal, this move will help insulate FOX News from the British tabloids that done did the hacking, allowing the cable news channel to maintain its high standards and journalistic integrithahahaha
Matt Groening gave a brief interview with Rolling Stone about ending his long-running comic strip Life in Hell that’s worth reading. He reveals that it was only running in 38 papers, compared to its zenith of 250 or so, which is pretty sad. I did make an effort to check it out every week in the LA Weekly, but when they dropped it there were no other LA-based papers to pick up the slack (at least, as far as I could find) so I haven’t been able to read it on a regular basis for years. I did find out fairly late it was running in The Oregonian, though.
Some choice quotes:
Why pull the plug on Life in Hell now? Did you simply run out of jokes?
It’s pretty obvious that I ran out of jokes a couple of decades ago – but that doesn’t stop any cartoonist!
[A] TV producer sneered at the strip and said, “Why do you bother? Give it up.” Because of that, I dug in my heels and kept it going two decades longer than I might have. I also liked the idea of having one slice of my creative output being completely solo, unlike TV animation. It’s very satisfying to sit down at a drawing table by yourself and solve a puzzle with a deadline.
Can critically-‘cclaimed cult college comedy caper Community compete in cartoon and comedy categories? No, according to a bunch of incensed cartoon writers – including all 537 Simpsons writers as well as the Family Guy manatees – who wrote a strongly-worded letter to the esteemed representatives of television to protest Community stepping on their turf (their turf being the Emmy categories Best Animated Program and Short-Form Animated Program). See, once again Community is eligible for an Emmy or two in animated categories thanks to a special animated episode – last year it was the stop-motion “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (which won Individual Achievement in Animation, the show’s only Emmy so far), this year it’s “Digital Estate Planning,” an excellent video game-based episode. But since Community is normally a live-action show, it’s also eligible for the usual live-action categories that animated shows are apparently ineligible for, including Outstanding Writing in a Comedy.
Matt Groening announced he’s quit his legendary long-running weekly comic strip Life in Hell just a couple hours ago at The Illustration Conference (ICON) in Rhode Island, according to this guy on Twitter:
Matt Groening just announced that he’s quit Life in Hell. #icon7
— Adam Rex (@MrAdamRex) June 15, 2012
For the past twenty years, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Goosebumps author Stephen King, New York Times economist Dave Barry, and a bunch of other folk have been a part of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a dorky all-author band that mostly plays at bookseller conventions. But now, they’re saying “adios amigos” to the hectic rockstar lifestyle and calling it quits. What could have prompted the retirement of these rock legends?? Did they get Yokoed? Were they tired of all the sex and drugs? Is there even still a book industry now that you can look up cat videos on the web? Well, whatever the reason, your last chance to see Matt Groening – a multi-millionaire cartoonist who’s almost 60 – play a cowbell will be at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on June 22.
I am real excited about Wreck-It Ralph, an upcoming Disney movie about video game characters, or as I like to think of it, Tron With Jokes. It’s written by former Simpsons director Jim Reardon (he appears in The Simpsons nearly every time there’s a scene at a train station) and directed by former Simpsons director Rich Moore (he’s the first guy on The Escalator to Nowhere). It’s good to see Simpsons alums doing well!
TAG Blog says the animators working on Ralph are “psyched” about it, because as one guy points out, “[t]he company lawyers could have just had us do parodies of other characters, but they went and got the rights to use actual personalities from other video games.” Bowser! Robotnik! All the Street Fighter guys! Clyde the ghost from Pac-Man! Q*bert! Some other guys I don’t recognize! You can see ’em in this trailer Disney released today…
If you missed out on the historic twenty-third season of TV’s The Simpsons, have no fear! This handy recap will get you up to speed in no time.