- Posted by Johanna on September 17, 2006 at 11:13 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Bongo Comics; $14.95 US
Simpsons Comics Madness collects stories from the comic series by a variety of talented writers and artists. (They were previously printed as issues #43-48, but it’s completely unnecessary to know that, since all the tales stand alone.) I felt like these stories could have been Simpsons episodes, and that’s the highest praise I can give a comic based on a TV show. The characters looked and sounded like they should, even when it came to kid versions of some of the current adult characters.
The book begins with a story told backwards, where every page jumps to a scene 10 or 15 or 30 minutes earlier. Part of the fun then becomes noticing each odd costume, reference, and situation and wondering just how it came about. The story itself tells an urban legend about a ghost haunting the Kwik-E-Mart. It’s a great brain-twisting start to the wacky world of the Simpsons.
There’s a wide variety of types of humor — jokes, puns, parodies, non sequiturs, visual gags, and more. Some of the other plots include Liza becoming a substitute teacher, Bart’s dog discovered by Hollywood, Sideshow Bob’s school of crime, and Homer as a reality game show contestant. One of my favorites was reminiscent of Citizen Kane. It’s set in the future, where a grown-up Lisa sets out to find what a dying Bart means by “fish logs”.
In between the big stories are smaller comic bits. One features storyboards for Poochie spinoffs that parody just about every Saturday morning cartoon cliche. Another has Homer’s head as a Japanese cleaning product mascot, Mr. Sparkle, in a manga-flavored take-off.
Unlike other TV adaptations, there’s no worry about how the stories fit together or when they’re taking place. I recognized some of the allusions to other movies, books, and TV shows, but I’m sure there are many more I’m missing, because the comics are jam-packed with them, like the cartoon. The parodies are just bonus extra humor, though — the stories work even if I don’t recognize everything.
This is a handsome, solid volume with paper that shows off the colorful world of Springfield well. It’s a pleasure to read, either all at once or story by story.