Oct 2, 2012
The inspiration for Homer Simpson came from a character in “The Day of the Locust” book, which featured a hopelessly clumsy and disaffected character named Homer Simpson, and Eddie Haskell in “Leave it to Beaver” TV Series.
Life in Hell started in 1977 as a self-published comic book written and produced by Matt Groening and was a story about life in Los Angeles and the things which Groening encountered at school, at work in a succession of seedy jobs, and in his personal love relationships.
The series reached the attention of James L. Brooks who commissioned Groening to create short skits for the Tracey Ullman Show. While waiting in Brooks’ office reception for the interview, Groening sketched out a number of basic designs which would go on to become the basis for The Simpsons. He walked in to the office, presented his 10 minute-old drawings and got the job.
He named the characters after members of his own family, his father Homer, mother Marge, and sister Lisa. He substituted Bart for himself. Bart Simpson was named as an anagram of “brat,” and Matt's older brother Mark produced much of the early inspiration for Bart’s attitude.
The entire Simpson family was designed so that they would be drawn very quickly, allowing the often tight budget to reach further, and be recognizable in silhouette. When designing Homer's hair he initially just sketched his initials, ‘M’ for the hairline and ‘G’ for Homer's ear. Matt Groening's initials still remain on the final character to this day. Marge’s hair was based on the iconic Elsa Lanchester hairdo as worn in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and on a similar style worn by Margaret Groening during the 1960s. Lisa’s hair was initially a cluster of hand drawn hairlines, but this was changed to the simpler ‘hexagon hair’ design before the pilot episode.
So far the show is still on the air after 500+ episodes and is regarded as the longest running animation series of all time.