Cartoonist Matt Groening’s first trip to India has given him inspiration for his next cartoon series. The Simpsons creator is hoping to collaborate with friend and fellow cartoonist, Lynda Barry on a comic book based on his Indian experience. “It’s very sketchy now, but Lynda and I have
stories to share and hopefully, it’ll come out in the next couple of months,” he says.
Digging into a portion of palak paneer, the American cartoonist, screenwriter and producer says, “I love Indian culture, art and food. I had an image of India in my head, but I had no idea how colourful it was. The way people dress is much flashier than I have seen elsewhere and I like that a lot,” he says. “Also, the people here are very optimistic and ever-smiling. That’s an image of India I’ll take back home.”
Talking about India and his influences, Groening reveals that the adorable token Indian in his TV series, Apu, the proprietor of Kwik-E-Mart, “got his name from Satyajit Ray’s celebrated, Apu Trilogy.” “I’m a big fan of Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar. And Ravi Shankar’s music for these movies is just priceless.”
Besides Indian art films, Groening is an aficionado of mainstream cinema. His most recent desi indulgence was Rajnikanth’s Robot. “I loved it. It was very funny,” he says.
Homer Simpson’s real family tree
1.Homer: Matt Groening’s initials, MG, are carved around the ear of his Homer sketches, who is based partly on his dad and partly on his friends’ dads.
In the early episodes, Groening also provided Homer’s beer burps. “But I drank Coca-Cola,” he clarifies. “For Bart’s enthusiastic belches, the producers felt my noises were too gross for a family audience, so they sped up the belches to make them sound cute.”
2 & 3.Lisa and Maggie: The Simpsons are actually inspired from the creator’s real family. He named the daughters Lisa and Maggie after his own sisters.
4.Bart: Bart is an anagram of the word ‘brat’ and is based partly on Groening and partly on his brother Mark.
5.Marge: Marge’s character is based on Groening’s mom, Margaret. About her blue tower of hair, he says, “My mom had hair like that. Atleast, that’s how high it seemed back in those days when I was small.”