Farewell, Akbar and Jeff!

Long before he invented The Simpsons, Matt Groening created an ongoing comic strip called Life in Hell which has been syndicated in many alternative newspapers since 1977. The strip also generated a lot of books and calendars during the 1990s.

Life in Hell was one of the first syndicated strips to feature gay characters. I've always loved this cartoon's crazy couple, Akbar and Jeff, with their matching Charlie Brown t-shirts and red fezzes. As Groening explains: "Akbar and Jeff are either brothers or lovers -- or both. Whatever offends you most, that's what they are." They fight constantly but always end up skipping off together holding hands.

But alas, the alternative newspaper biz is not what it used to be. Due to an ever-shrinking number of publications, Life in Hell is officially ceasing production in mid-July after 1,669 installments.

So farewell, Akbar and Jeff, as you skip off together into the sunset! I'll miss you boys!