Simpsons creator Matt Groening will make his first visit to Australia, in a rare public appearance outside of the United States, at the Sydney Opera House Graphic festival. The festival, now in its sixth year, celebrates the art of graphic storytelling, illustration, comics, animation and music. This years event will take place on 4-5 November.
Beyond his work on The Simpsons, he is best known for his work on his animated follow-up Futurama which he co-created with David X. Cohen, and his revered cartoon strip Life In Hell.
Having Groening agree to attend the festival is a coup for Graphic Festival and curator Ben Marshall couldn’t be more thrilled. Having made repeated overtures to Groening through his staff, Marshall had been trying to secure Groening for many years. Groening only agreed after meeting Marshall.
“He actually said ‘Look, I never wanted to just come out and do a talk. If I wanted to do a talk, I’d have done that at any point over the last 27 years. I love that this thing [Graphic Festival] talks about this work as art and that’s how we see ourselves. You’ve got Jim Woodring, Art Spiegelman, and Neil Gaiman. These are my people’. He always does Comic-Con every year in San Diego. He see’s himself as a cartoonist. He agreed in 2013, he just had to find the year,” Marshall explained.
Previous guests for Graphic Festival have included Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Smith, Gerard Way, George Miller, and Len Wein.
The dream guest for Marshall remains the elusive Alan Moore, the famed comics creator known for works including Watchmen, From Hell, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. “Amazing mind. The closest there is to a living William Blake. But it is a lot of work to get him from North Hampton to London and we don’t hold out much hope of getting him to Sydney. There’s people that we wish we moved on faster, but have sadly passed. We would have loved Morris Sendak or Moebius. But we are thrilled to have the Moebius documentary Redux playing its Australian premiere at the Opera House.”
Also appearing at the 2016 Graphic Festival is Lynda Barry, Michael Leunig, First Dog On The Moon cartoonist Mr Onthemoon, and Brandon Graham. Tickets go on sale 16 September.