The world’s most successful cartoonist, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening will visit Australia for the first time, making a rare public appearance at the Sydney Opera House’s Graphic festival, November 4-5.
Groening will give a behind-the-scenes look at his record-breaking show, now in its 28th season, in an address titled “Secrets of The Simpsons, And A Couple Of Milhouse Fun Facts”, which he says will feature “embarrassing home movies and rarely-seen animation, including oddball outtakes and uncensored Itchy & Scratchy cartoons”. His appearance is part of the sixth annual festival, which celebrates graphic storytelling, illustration, comics, animation and music.
He will also be joined by childhood friend and fellow cartoonist Lynda Barry, of “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” fame, for a discussion on underground comic strips and their lifelong relationship, titled “Love, Hate & Comics: The Friendship That Would Not Die”.
Graphic co-curator Ben Marshall, said he spent six years chasing Groening to appear at the festival, visiting him annually and even sitting in on a Simpsons script reading session.
“Grraphic exists to highlight and champion those singular voices in comics, animation, illustration and contemporary music that are capable of producing great art, but are usually passed over in traditional arts conversations. I think there’s no better embodiment of this idea, dead or alive, than Matt Groening,” he said.
“We can’t quite believe the moment’s finally here and doubly thrilled it’s with his close friend and cartoonist extraordinaire Lynda Barry.”
In a statement explaining why he wanted to come, Groening said Australia is home to the world’s “most intense Simpsons fanatics”.
Fellow Graphic co-curator Jordan Verzar said the festival will also include the directorial debut of Star Wars creator George Lucas, the film “THX 1138” – “a blueprint for an era of sci-fi epics” – screened with a live score by Asian Dub Foundation.
The program also features a number of free events, including author Neil Gaiman “virtually presenting” the Australian debut of films “Dream Dangerously” and “Likely Stories”, plus talks by local cartoonists such as Michael Leunig and First Dog on the Moon.
Tickets for Graphic go on sale this Friday, September 16. More details on the full festival are here.