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The Simpsons  

Can life get any better for Homer J. Simpson? He juggles the roles of husband, father, safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, bowler, beer drinker, astronaut, small business owner and dreamer, and makes it all look easy. But it wasn't always so easy for Homer J. Raised by his father, Abe, who tried to compensate for the absence of Homer's radical hippie mother, Homer graduated at the bottom of his high school class and managed to earn the distinction of being the longest-term entry-level employee at the plant. Together with his high school sweetheart, Marge Bouvier, Homer settled down in Evergreen Terrace, the nicest upper-lower-middle class section of Springfield, to raise his three precious children. Homer is fond of Duff Beer, donuts, Marge's pork chops and watching the Bee Guy on the Spanish channel. His dislikes include his boss, Mr. Burns, yard work and his neighbor, Ned Flanders.

Bart Simpson is misunderstood. Wrongly pegged as an underachiever and troublemaker, Bart would like to remind the world of some of his decent qualities: He looks out for his sister, Lisa; he's befriended outcasts and misfits like Milhouse Van Houten and Ralph Wiggum; he's injected romance into the life of his teacher, Edna Krabappel; and he brought down an illegal French winery during his brief semester abroad. So what if he's also befouled the Springfield Community Church with phony hymns or prank-called Moe's Tavern several times a day for the last few years? It all balances out, right? At age 10, Bart has managed to live out a number of dreams: He has starred in his own short-lived TV series (with his idol, Krusty the Clown), spotted and named a deadly comet that nearly destroyed his town, and almost snagged the role of Fallout Boy in the Radioactive Man movie. He couldn't have done any of those things without the help and support of his best friend, Santa's Little Helper.

Lisa Simpson can't wait for college. She's only 8 and already reads at a 14th grade level, and has written a number of application-quality essays, one of which won her family a free trip to Washington, D.C. Her favorite activities include playing her saxophone, attending school and reading Non-Threatening Boys Magazine. A fan of Malibu Stacy, Lisa tried unsuccessfully to create her own talking doll, Lisa Lionheart. Unfortunately, no one wanted to buy a talking doll that was as judgmental as Lisa. Lisa wants everyone to know that she is a vegetarian and that if she could have one thing (besides world peace), it would be a pony.

Matt Groening changed television forever when he brought animation back to primetime with this immortal nuclear family. He is also creator and executive producer of the FOX animated series Futurama. Originally brought to life in 1987 for FOX's Emmy Award-winning series The Tracey Ullman Show, The Simpsons was Groening's introduction into the animation world. Previously, he was best known for his "Life in Hell" cartoon strip, an irreverent portrayal of broken life that debuted in 1977 and currently appears in more than 250 newspapers worldwide. In 1993 he formed Bongo Comic Group, whereby he serves as publisher over the following: "Simpsons Comics," Itchy & Scratchy Comics, Bartman, Radioactive Man, Lisa Comics and Krusty Comics. In 1995 he founded and published "Zongo Comics," which included Jimbo and Fleener. In addition to producing his weekly strip, keeping on top of the ongoing production demands of the weekly television series, and meeting regularly with the Bongo team, Groening oversees all aspects of the licensing and merchandising of The Simpsons. In addition to the recent best-seller The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family, Groening's books, based on "Life in Hell" and The Simpsons include Love Is Hell, Work is Hell, School is Hell, The Big Book of Hell, Akbar & Jeff's Guide to Life, Love is Hell 10th Anniversary Edition, Binky's Guide to Love, The Simpsons Xmas Book, The Simpsons Rainy Day Fun Book, Making Faces With the Simpsons, Bart Simpson's Guide To Life, The Simpsons' Uncensored Family Album, Cartooning With The Simpsons, Simpsons Illustrated magazine, Simpson Comics & Stories comic book, Simpsons Comics Extravaganza, Simpsons Comics Spectacular, Bartman: The Best of The Best, and Simpsons Comics Simps-O-Rama. Groening, a native of Portland, Oregon, resides in Los Angeles.

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