Where is Bart Simpsons? -- Matt Groening's first sketch of the bad boy has disappeared

Five years after the birth of Bart, the first original sketch of The Simpsons has turned up missing. The family’s disappearance was discovered a few weeks ago, after Entertainment Weekly asked to see the drawing cartoonist Matt Groening had made minutes before a 1987 meeting with executive producer James L. Brooks. Searches of the Simpsons offices and Klasky Csupo, the Hollywood animation house where the show is made, proved fruitless.

Could some profit-minded employee have pilfered the missing sketch? ”It’s the first thing that crossed my mind,” says a spokeswoman for Groening. If so, it’s no petty theft. Simpsons art has gone for $3,500 to $5,000 a cel (the image used in animation); the missing original could fetch more on the black Bart market. One specially created cel brought more than $24,000 at a Christie’s auction of Simpsons material last year.

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