My Matt Groening interview, part of my “What’s in Your DVD Player” series, is up on the new “Parallel Universe” section of MSN Entertainment. I previously excerpted an outtake for my blog here, but here is an excerpt from the official version of the interview.
I’ve heard plenty of rumors about the origins of naming the town Springfield in “The Simpsons,” but I recently learned that you were actually born in Springfield, Oregon.
Springfield, of course, was my inspiration. For not a particularly great reason: Because that was the name of the town where “Father Knows Best” took place and I thought they were talking about Springfield, Oregon. I was so excited. So that’s where it originated.
You’ve been quoted as saying: “I’m a writer who just happens to draw.” What cartoonists or artists do you look to for inspiration or just your own pleasure?
I love “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz. He’s probably my single biggest influence as a cartoonist. “The Chronological Peanuts” that Fantagraphics is publishing — they’re up to 1970 or something now — has been great to wade through. I wrote the introduction to one of the early anthologies. Dr. Seuss, visually, was very important to me, and probably my biggest single teenage influence was Robert Crumb, the early underground comics by Crumb.
Because he pushed the envelope of subject matter?
Because he had this nostalgic, 1930s, E.C. Segar style combined with LSD — not that I ever took LSD — that I found very exciting.
Read the complete interview here.