The AV Club interviews Matt Groening and asks him about the future of alt-weekly comics:
AVC: Speaking of dying media, how do you think comics like Life In Hell are going to adapt?
MG: Speaking as an alternative newsweekly cartoonist, we’re at the bottom of the food chain. We’re hoping that weekly newspapers don’t go the way of dime novels. It may be that the time has come and passed, but I don’t know. I hope not. It seems to me that if you have a publication with a strategy, with some enthusiasm, and some design sense, I think there is a way of keeping it alive.
AVC: Do you think it will become just a web phenomenon?
MG: It’s possible. I personally like the idea of newspapers. It’s a good format. You can read it in whatever order you want. You can glance at it. There is something about a single screen and scrolling through pages that just doesn’t have the same appeal. But I don’t have a Kindle yet, so maybe I’ll change my mind. [Laughs.]
Life in Hell is the reason Big Fat Whale exists. It blazed a trail for all the other alt-weekly comics that followed, and helped shape my sense of humor. It’s also the reason BFW is a giant square instead of a more marketable rectangular strip. When I started the comic, I was clumsily aping Groening’s LiH, but with a whale instead of a rabbit.
Thankfully BFW grew into its own thing, but the square format remains a constant reminder of Groening’s influence.