In a telling tale of the times, Groening not only wasn’t getting rich off the comic (papers paid just $18 a week for the strip), but he also was losing money on it for 10 years, says Sondra Gatewood of ACME Features, Life in Hell’s syndicator.
At its height, Life in Hell was distributed to 379 newspapers, she says. Now it’s down to just 38. The final strip ran June 15, but reruns will continue through July 13. Life in Hell’s circulation fell as alternative papers — hurt badly by the loss of classified ads, which went to Craigslist and other websites — cut back.
Still, editors are “shocked” at Groening’s decision, she says. “The strip is part of the history of their papers.”
I’m less surprised about him no longer doing the strip, than I am that he kept doing the strip after all the success with The Simpsons.